Key PPC Trends for 2021

Key PPC Trends for 2021

2021 is set to be a big year for PPC; we will inevitably see some substantial changes in the Google Ads and Bing Ads landscape.

Ahead of these developments, we have identified three of the key trends to ensure you’re set up for success.


2021 will see an increase in the use of automation as marketers look to drive further margin from their budgets and manage changes to keyword targeting and reporting visibility.

As post-Covid budgets are tightened, automation provides a way to improve margin continuously and quickly cut and re-apply budgets effectively.

While PPC automation via third party tools and in platform scripts are not new, there have been a number of advances in tooling making running effective PPC campaigns easier and less time-consuming especially when running across Google and Bing Ads.

PPC automation uses technology, such as machine learning and rules, to optimise accounts through automated data analysis and testing. You can use automation in a multitude of ways, such as automated research, automated bidding and automated reporting.

Google Phasing Out Broad Match Modified

Google has recently announced that they will be phasing out the broad match modifier (BMM), and that phrase match will begin to incorporate some of the behaviours of BMM.

With modified broad match keywords, you use a plus sign to identify keywords that are required for your ad to show. Your ads will only show if all words preceded by a plus sign are present in the user’s search query. However, the order doesn’t matter.

Phrase match keywords previously stipulated that search terms should appear in the order written.

In their announcement, Google said:

“To give you more control and better reach, we’re bringing the best of broad match modifier into phrase match. As a result, phrase match will expand to cover additional broad match modifier traffic, while continuing to respect word order when it’s important to the meaning. This makes it easier to reach customers and manage keywords in your account.”

The changes are being rolled out slowly, giving advertisers time to adapt their keyword targeting. Marketers will no longer be able to create new BMM keywords from July.

As these changes come into place, it is important to monitor your keyword performance, and although Google states that no action is needed

“you should monitor your performance and update bids, budgets and targeting as needed to adjust for any performance changes.”

Data, Data, Data

Ad platforms are making changes to how data is collected and managed, largely due to changes in restrictions on third-party cookies across browsers.

Cookies are used industry-wide for targeting and behavioural marketing. However over the last two years Apple and firefox have introduced third-party cookie blocking by default, with Google Chrome also creating an opt-in version of Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention.

In the growing absence of data provided by third-party cookies, first-party data and reliance on Google’s machine learning will be more important than ever.

It is essential for those marketers who are currently reliant on third party cookie-based tech to move their focus to first-party data.

These changes have meant there has also been a shift back to more keyword focused advertising, rather than behaviour focused advertising.

However, Google is also flagging to advertisers that its search query data will be missing from search query reports for any terms without “significant” search volume data, making long-tail optimisation even more tricky.

To see how we can help you get ahead of the latest developments in PPC, get in touch with us today.