New technologies are changing the ways brands should approach search. The growing use of voice assistants means brands should place greater priority on being ranked first for the most important key words. Brands also need to adjust to the fact that search is now mostly a smartphone-based activity.

Global paid search advertising was slightly stronger than we expected in 2017, growing by 12%  compared to our previous estimate of 11%. We continue to expect spend to decelerate as search matures, reaching US$95bn this year, but new search opportunities from voice assistants and commerce marketplaces are attracting interest from marketers.

The rise of voice search

21.2% of marketers worldwide say that voice search is the next big marketing trend, behind only consumer personalization and artificial intelligence.

Voice and home assistants are poised to become part of everyday shopping, and this has huge implications for brands. Search rank is even more important in voice search than traditional search, as the first listing is the listing most voice assistants will suggest. If your brand isn’t appearing as
the first result, the chances of being seen are minimal. Start with a discoverability audit: the first step in succeeding in voice is to test on different voice-activated devices to see how visible your brand is. Then decide which keywords are most important for your brand, and invest to appear as the
first result.

Annual growth in paid-search adspend

New big marketing trend in 2018 according to marketers worldwide

Smartphones exceed 50% of paid search clicks

Over the past few years, search activity has moved rapidly away from desktop PCs to smartphones, and more recently from tablets to smartphones. This is hardly surprising, since most consumers have their smartphones available and ready to use throughout the day, while desktop PCs and tablets are only to hand at particular times. Smartphones became the leading device for clicking on search ads in Q2 2017, and then in Q1 2018 they accounted for more than half of all clicks for the first time, with a 50.2% share. Search is now primarily a smartphone experience.

Google retires DoubleClick and AdWords names

Google is rebranding its ad business, retiring the DoubleClick and AdWords names. From 24 July 2018, AdWords will be called Google Ads, and DoubleClick will be called the Google Marketing Platform and Google Ads Manager. However, this is a purely cosmetic makeover – the underlying products aren’t changing.

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