Digital Marketing is a fast-pace, ever-changing industry. And if you don’t keep up with the always changing features you can find yourself very behind or even worse find your marketing efforts irrelevant.

We don’t have the time or budgets to afford to be irrelevant. But we also don’t have the time we desire to always be searching for the latest and greatest.

We saw big changes in 2016 with mobile searches surpassing desktop for the first time. In 2017, we’ve started to evolve from what device people are using to now really expanding more on how they are using the internet as a whole. We’re trying to understand the typical usage and improve that user experience. We curated a list of the top new features this year for the top Search Engines, Google & Bing, in this blog today.

Machine Learning

MI is the ability for computers to learn without being explicitly programmed.

It isn’t a new concept but definitely a topic that has gained a lot of momentum this year and will only continue to grow. The ability for information to be automatically updated based off complex mathematical calculations that are continuously changing in real time is a recently new development. Where we have machine learning in our daily lives:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon
  • YouTube
  • Fraud detection
  • Google self-driving cars

A few ways we’ll be seeing machine learning evolve SERPs:

  • Ad Rank thresholds are continuously upgrading to pull the most relevant results to the search query.
  • This year Google announced that they would be expanding the meaning of close variants in exact match. This expansion also would start to ignore word order in exact match keywords.
  • Google’s new Smart Display campaigns will now auto-optimize not only creative, but targeting and bidding as well. Optimization with automatically be made to best perform based off the target CPA.

Voices Searches

Forbes announced back in January that 2017 would be the year for voice search. And since voice based searches can be drastically different than typed searches, marketers will need to adjust.

This is also not the time to avoid updating your marketing efforts to match trends because around 41% of adults use voice search on a daily basis and predicted to only increase as more people adapt.

Conversion Tracking & Attribution

One of the biggest announcements this year was the release of Google Attribution. This free solution can pull together data from Google Analytics, Adwords, and DoubleClick Search to provide a full view of conversions across channels and devices for attribution modeling. Google Attribution is the free version of Attribution 360.

We have also seen the expansion of in-store conversion tracking within Analytics with Google’s in-store sales measurement. Google can compare store visits using smartphone data with credit card transactions since the company has 70 percent coverage of credit and debit card transactions in the US. This is through data licensing agreements with major credit card companies.

Ad Changes

We also witnessed the big update of Extended Text Ads in 2016 and there has been really anything to compared this year but this new layout has affected other smaller updates.

Dynamic Search Ads were upgraded in March to support the expanded text ad layout. Both headlines and URL can by dynamically generated. Google is also tested out a second description line in addition to the expanded text ad.

This year has also experienced a lot of advances in AMP for ads. Google released a beta test to have advertisers point mobile search ads to AMP-enabled landing pages. As for Product Listing ads, Google is also testing a beta feature to purchase on Google to help make the buying process smoother for users.

Moving Forward

As we’re half way through 2017, we have been witnessing and hearing rumor about a lot of test. And the best tip as a marketer to a marketer is to really stay on top of this news to help be better prepared for if and when these tests ever come to fruition. Being prepared to jump on board immediately when new features are released will help keep you one step ahead of your competitor and provide the advantage to get in front of potential clients.