2018 Search Predictions From Our Leading Experts

There was plenty to try to keep up with in 2017 and retailers can finally take a second to stop and reflect on the year in our recent recaps of Facebook, Amazon, and Google advertising.

But, if you want to be at the front of the pack, then you need to be looking ahead.

So we asked a panel of our leading search experts to answer the top question in every retailer’s mind: “What trends are expected to shape Search in 2018?”

Meet the Experts: The 2018 Search Predictions Roundtable

We collected predictions from our own industry experts at CPC Strategy including:


Search Trends Predicted to Shape 2018:

1. Advertiser’s site vs. Amazon

With the rise of Amazon owning spots on Search and Shopping, advertisers will need to be more aggressive with bidding, keywords, ad copy testing, landing page optimizations, and providing users more benefits to convert on the advertiser’s site vs. Amazon.

One thing that seems clear already is that Amazon’s ad copy is not as relevant to the user except the headline which is most likely being used by Dynamic Keyword Insertion. I’m hoping to see a switch in the algorithm and make it more balanced against Amazon.

– Eliza Marie Cuevas, Sr. Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

Eliza Marie Cuevas, Sr. Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

2. Increased Competition

There will be more digitally consumed ads then ever before and marketers will have to get more creative with staying ahead of the curve. If you were an advertiser 5 years ago you probably could see decent success online if you ran a pretty basic campaign/digital strategy.

These days there is an influx of advertisers looking to target the exact same user that you are. This and ecommerce businesses feeling the pressure from Amazon means a larger amount of advertisers are also now willing to pay 2, 3, 10x as much for that placement as they would have 5 years ago.

Because the landscape is and has been changing new programmatic or AI technologies which allow a digital marketer to hyper focus their precious marketing dollars on a very specific user or user base will be emerging and disrupting how the game is currently being played.

– Ben Whitrock, Sr. Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

3. Rise of Personalized Ads

I think we will expect to see a fair amount of change with personalization of the ads including ad copy, extensions, and landing pages.


With the market getting more and more competitive, customers now expect a more personalized experience with ads catered to them, and predictive analysis of what items they might purchase next or be interested in.


Using the ‘If’ function in ad copy can help advertisers cater their ads to past purchasers, viewers, or new customers and give them special deals / discounts if they’ve purchased previously or are still in the research phase.


– Alia Dreher, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy


4. More Showcase Shopping Formats:

I think we will see different formats of showcase shopping in 2018. Showcase shopping results have been minimal thus far but I think Google will continue to test ad formats to improve the upper funnel search experience.

– Caroline Rice, Retail Search Manager, at CPC Strategy

Caroline Rice, Retail Search Manager, at CPC Strategy

5. Google Leveraging New Data & Signals

Google is going to continue to find the best way to get performance from its platform. We have been seeing this with a lot of the products they have been releasing, eCPCs and some of the new automated bidding strategies.

Google is starting to use more of its data and signals to get better performance for its advertisers.

I also think 2018 is the year that Google pushes Purchase on Google and tries to challenge Amazon in a way they haven’t been able to do before.

– Stephen Kerner, Sr. Manager, Retail Search at CPC Strategy

“Purchase on Google” feature @techcrunch

6. Voice Search Takes Off

2018 is poised to be the year where voice searches and ads triggered by voice searches start to take off. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have all been pushing their voice assistant products, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, heavily this holiday season.

As these products get more and more popular the number of voice searches is poised to increase significantly. With that increase in voice searches, comes an increase in ads triggered by those searches, which we’re already starting to see in Q4 2017.

Looking into the search term reports for certain Shopping campaigns we can already see impressions, “clicks”, and orders coming in through AdWords that begin with the phrase “ok google”, thus signifying a voice search.

With these searches already using up ad spend, it’s important to keep an eye on this growing trend in 2018.

One way to segment voice searches from standard Google searches is to route all search terms that contain the phrase “ok google” into their own campaign, where they can be bid and monitored independently.

– Michael Ward, Lead Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

Michael Ward, Lead Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

7. More Focus on Products vs. Brand

Another prediction for 2018 is focusing more on products rather than brand. Customers are getting less brand loyal and are looking for a fast, seamless process from their first interest touch point to the final credit card input and check out.


Utilizing Purchase on Google will be important so after the customer has done their research, they can quickly checkout with all information included in the form.


– Alia Dreher, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy


8. Transition Towards “Audience-centric”

Echoing what I said last year, paid media marketing will continue to transition towards a more audience-centric medium.

With both Google and FB continuing to improve capabilities of customer matching, and more retailers understanding & optimizing against customer lifetime value, the customer and not just their intent will be an increasing portion of targeting in 2018 and beyond.


Outside of just cookies and offline data, the fast growing CDP industry is also a strong indicator of the growing power of audience targeting.


– Josh Brisco, Senior Manager, Retail Search Operations, CPC Strategy

Josh Brisco, Senior Manager, Retail Search Operations, CPC Strategy

I also expect continued expansion of RLSA targeting capabilities. Google started with similar audiences and Bing has already rolled out in market audiences so I think we will see both platforms expand prospecting focused audiences on search.


– Caroline Rice, Retail Search Manager, at CPC Strategy