Social PPC in 2014: What Will the Future Bring?

  |  December 23, 2013   |  Comments

Keep your eyes and ears open to social network news, as there are social PPC opportunities everywhere... and they will only grow in 2014!

Silly, if I knew that, I'd be in a mansion a la Biff from Back to the Future, with the Sports Almanac.

Bad sequels aside, social media is one of those industries where you are literally taking a deep breath and a new something or other launches. Before you know it, you're hearing about it from the twelve-year old neighbor. From a social PPC perspective, how do you keep up with an industry that -- each time you blink -- is different?  

Well for one thing, chill out.

Most social platforms launch without ads; if they do anything, it's charge a fee for membership or pro subscription before they go and try and monetize a newsfeed or posts. You can't get the advertisers to come if the audience isn't there yet -- so just let them take of that part first.

What you do want to do is keep your ear to the 'social ground' and keep abreast of what is starting to monetize, what they have to offer in terms of demographics, rates and engagement and from there build your 2014 social PPC empire.

Here are my top picks for platforms to watch in the coming year:


instagram-logoTotal outrage and indignant users clamored to the streets at the announcement of ads pledging not to use the platform anymore. Uh huh.

People whined the same way when Facebook started to monetize and let's face it: how else are you going upload pictures of your dinner, skinny jeans or sunsets? The question is, after the bigger brands/exclusive advertisers are done perfecting their secret sauce, can the rest of us get in?

If you're in retail (consumer goods like clothes, shoes, jewelry, furniture) or food, pay attention to this one. I would love to see the food truck revolution get in on this as an advertising platform, instead of AdWords Express/Google Plus.


foursquare-logoHere's one that's taken another look at how they engage with their users that shows some serious promise in the travel/dining verticals in 2014. Foursquare's top 10 most checked in locations are ALL airports.

Foursquare is now focusing on passive notifications based on your new, possibly unfamiliar, destination and gives you subtle hints on places you might be interested in like restaurants that friends have been to.

In terms of social PPC, there could be lots of potential here for hitting the right tourist times, if you happen to be hosting a large conference or event.

(Side note: anyone else sense an acquisition or partnership in the near future here?)


snapchat-logo-marstenIt's coming. It has to.

You asked Santa for something to reach that 13-20 year old demographic that isn't a One Direction concert? Done.

Especially after turning down a $3 billion dollar offer from Facebook - hang tight, as ads and virtual goods are coming.



Sponsored Pins and Place Pins made their debut this year and I am dying to see how this pans out... especially if this gets opened up to SMBs like sellers on Etsy.

Here's why: sellers on Etsy used to be able to appear in Google Shopping listings "free" as part as organic search results. But a switch in fall of 2012 to a paid only platform was going to take that away. Etsy is now managing Google Shopping PLAs for their sellers in order to keep them on the platform through the holiday season, because of the timing and the volumes of traffic that Etsy sellers were getting with Google Shopping previously.

Most sellers on Etsy do possess neither the technical skills nor the time to set up their own Merchant Center account for Google Shopping, submit a product feed that meets the Google requirements and then manage an AdWords account to serve those Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in Google Shopping results.

So if Pinterest, a rather large driver of traffic to Etsy stores and sellers, is able to bridge that connection instead in a far less technical and uncomplicated interface... they could own this.

As with anything social media, don't hold your breath, but most certainly keep your eyes and ears open, as there are opportunities for social PPC everywhere.

See you in 2014!


Elizabeth Marsten

Elizabeth Marsten is the director of PPC at CommerceHub in Seattle, Washington, where she oversees the PPC advertising practice with concentrations in Google AdWords & Shopping, Bing Ads, and Facebook. She is the is the co-author of All in One Web Marketing Reference for Dummies (Wiley Publishing), as well as PPC courses on

See her SlideShare presentations from speaking at MozCon, SMX Advanced, East and West, PPC Hero Con, Searchfest, and State of Search or find her on Twitter.

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