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PPC hubbub asked the leading industry experts 3 questions about what they thought about 2020 and what might happen for Search in 2021. Today we talked to Amy Bishop.

Amy has built and implemented multichannel digital strategies for a variety of companies of all sizes from start-ups and small businesses to Fortune 500 and global organizations spanning several industry verticals. Her expertise includes e-commerce, lead generation, brand lift, and localized site-to-store strategies. Amy owns Cultivative Marketing, a PPC agency. When not working, you can find her speaking at industry events across the US and Europe and talking shop on Twitter.


1. What have you loved about Search in 2020?

I always say that I grew up in search because I’ve been managing search campaigns since the start of my career – over 10 years now.  In that time, search has evolved a LOT. For better and for worse. 2020 was no different.

Search is a constant challenge – and I will always love that – it’s exciting to try new things, receive new features, and get creative when the engines change things (often in a way that we don’t like). Despite the change, PPC still proved to be a really valuable tool for driving revenue in 2020.

Despite what a crazy year 2020 was, one of the things I will always love about search is that I’m convinced that search community is unparalleled in kindness and friendship by any other industry. The community is always happy to chat through changes, strategies, and new ideas. There were a few instances, unfortunately, where folks lost their jobs and the community was always quick to share their information and refer them to others. The community was in it together in 2020 and, to my surprise, demand for most of my clients never really slowed. In fact, many of them had a good year.

As a side note, we search marketers may have had one of the easiest transitions to work from home since most of the things we need are contained within our laptops, so that was a perk.

2. What have you hated about Search in 2020?

As much as I love search, there will always be changes that I hate. Masking search queries is one of those changes. Our job as search marketers is to make sure we’re getting into the best-fit auctions and that we are optimizing our bids for those auctions with all of the data that we have. More and more, we’re losing some of that visibility, which is frustrating.

I also hate the push to accept all of Google’s recommendations, we simply won’t accept them if they aren’t a good fit (just like any other search manager worth their salt) but small businesses don’t know better. They assume that if Google is recommending it, then it must be the right thing to do. Google has a history of pushing things that are for the good of the engine, not the advertiser.

Many folks see these things as the beginning of a transition from man to machine but I really don’t see a future where a search marketer isn’t involved because automation has taken over. Even as automation gets smarter, and data points are masked from marketers, there will still always be a need for strategy and manual optimizations.

3. What do you think 2021 will bring?

I think that 2021 will bring less visibility to advertisers and more control in the hands of the engines. For instance, I see a big emphasis on responsive ads and I imagine a big push toward Discovery campaigns, as they remove Gmail campaigns. I see more and more of a reliance on audiences.

I see Google pulling more and more control. But I also imagine there will be new features rolling out that will benefit us, as well.

For search marketers, I see continued focus on strategy and managing around what we can no longer see, to continue to prove value.  And as always, as budgets grow and new platforms are born, I see a continued focus on multi-channel attribution.

Amy Bishop
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