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Jack & Alice discuss:
What the future of PPC may hold
Jack: Welcome to episode 27 of season two of the Search With Candour Podcast. My name is Jack Chambers-Ward. And this week I am joined by a very special guest Alice Roussel, who is the growth marketing manager at Pictarine. We'll be talking about SEO and PPC, how they relate to each other and what SEOs can learn from PPC, maybe some techniques and how the two cross over and relate to each other and some misconceptions about how they don't cross over with each other as well.
Jack: Before I get to my conversation with Alice, Search With Candour is supported by SISTRIX the SEO's toolbox. Go to sistrix.com/swc. If you want to check out some of their fantastic free tools, such as their Instagram Hashtag Generator, Hreflang Validator, check out your site's visibility index and their Google update tracker. And I've actually got a preview of their upcoming SectorWatch that will be out later this week, if you'll listen to this on Monday. I'm actually going to be talking about some electric bikes on this week SectorWatch. And as I said, this little preview, this will be out on for you guys on Thursday on the SISTRIX blog, so if you've got a sistrix.com/blog, you can find SectorWatch and all of their fantastic blog posts there. So let's dive into some electric bike discussion, shall we?
Jack: And since you're in the middle of Tour de France, it feels appropriate to start discussing this kind of thing. And they have become pretty, pretty popular over the last couple of years, especially because, of course, people buying bikes and finding exercise and things because of COVID-19. All of the lockdowns and people finding different ways to go and exercise in and around their homes and outside as well. So what SectorWatch essentially does is dive into this entire industry and give you a summary of what keywords are doing, what big domains are doing, what some of the industry leaders are doing? And it's a really interesting deep dive into this search intent for a lot of keywords and a real glimpse into, and a snapshot overview of the entire industry. So if you do have a website or a client you're looking to get into the electric bike industry side of things, then this is a really, really interesting piece for you to dive into.
Jack: Charlie over at SISTRIX, one of their data journalists, that does a fantastic job of giving a pretty clear overview of the top domain. So as you'd imagine here in the UK, there's people like Halfords and Amazon, and then going through and talking about some of the publications as well, so kind of swapping from the... where you would buy an electric bike to where you would read about an electric bike and understand more information about them. So going from a do, a transactional keyword intent, moving over to an informational or research intent as well. So we're covering both sides there and it gives you a really good idea of the kind of articles people are writing about it, and the kind of publications that are really covering this kind of stuff. Charlie goes on to highlight publications such as cyclingweekly.com, bikeradar.com, techradar.com, and we even go through and talk about the growth of the market as a whole, how many different publications are now covering it over the years. There are fantastic examples.
And maybe my favourite thing about SectorWatch and what Charlie does is diving into the content, and he does brilliant analysis of some of the top content examples in this industry and tries to understand why they work, why they're ranking, why they're performing so well and how you can get an idea and maybe use this for one of your electric bike articles or it's relevant to you and your site, or use it inspiration for something else entirely, but it might spark some inspiration for you and some of your content there as well. Even go through and look at some of the specific high performance using data from SISTRIX, of course, and going through and having a look at some fantastic data, the rank distribution graph and multiple competitors going across the UK there and getting an idea of where the lions share of the rankings are coming from for each domain and even comparing some on-page SEO stuff as well and seeing why certain sites are doing so well. So if you would like a glimpse and a little snapshot and an overview and essentially a really nice detailed dive into the content around electric bikes, I really recommend this week's SectorWatch will be coming out later this week on sistrix.com/blog.
Jack: And without any further ado, here is my conversation with Alice Roussel, the growth marketing manager at Pictarine. And welcome to the show, Alice Roussel. How are you, Alice?
Alice: Thank you very much for having me. I'm doing fine. What about you?
Jack: Yeah. Good, thank you. Thank you for asking back. That's nice. Always a good side of a podcast guest to ask the host how they are as well. So, Alice, You and I have been talking on Twitter recently. I put out a call for guests on the podcast to get some new people who we've not spoken to previously on the podcast to talk about some new topics and stuff like that. And we do cover SEO, we do cover PPC on this show, but I know I'm very guilty of it because I'm pretty much pure SEO myself. I don't know. Mark is mostly SEO these days. He has done PPC in the past. We do try to cover as much PPC stuff as possible at hardware kind of SEOs. And you brought up the topic I think was really interesting, especially for me as somebody who doesn't particularly know that much about PPC.
Jack: Basically, our topic is going to be what SEO should know about PPC? And we're going to talk about the relationship between those two, how they interact, maybe some misconceptions about how they interact the level of transparency and opacity from the two sides of things as well from whether that's from Google or Bing or whatever it is. Maybe get into a lot of PPC talks. So SEOs, if you want to learn about PPC, this is the episode for you. So Alice, I don't know if you want to give yourself a little intro, explain to listeners who you are, what you do, your journey through SEO, PPC, all that kind of stuff. A career history in a minute.
Alice: Wow. Career history. So I'm Alice. I started my career journey in 2014. Already? Oh, wow. So I started by doing PPC and SEO as well for one year. And at the end of my first year, I went through into SEO because I was in love with SEO to be honest. And there was some things that struck me with PPC was that it was, for me, maybe too simple, because you had to build on keywords, to break keywords and then you had the algorithm and doing everything for you. So I was like, "Yeah. Okay." But there is something in SEOs that I'm more attracted by, is that the way that you don't know everything, you don't master everything because you don't know the algorithm, so you have your assumptions, et cetera, but that was a thing that was interesting. And the fact that I chose to specialise into SEO.
And then, during the last six years, if I'm not wrong, I've been specialising into SEO. And two years ago, I told myself, "Okay, today I'm in my control zone. So I'm going out and I'm doing PPC again." So, that's what I do at Pictarine. I do PPC. I do social ads and I do SEO as well when I have the time to do so. So yes, this is my journey so far.
Jack: Excellent. That's an interesting one. The fact that you started off with both then split off to SEO, then came back to PPC. It's an interesting journey. I think a lot of people from my experience will start off dipping their toes in both in that way. Really, I started off first in SEO, in the in-house role I started off with. And then once I moved to an agency for the first time I went off and was kind of like, basically they just gave me some accounts and were like, "There you go. Do some PPC." I was like, "Oh, okay." Now, I'm suddenly doing paid social stuff. Now, I'm suddenly doing Google Ads and all that kind of stuff. And I was never really trained on it or anything like that. I was just kind of hoping for the best, but crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. And now, coming back to SEO since working at Candour over the last year and obviously doing this podcast. It's been an interesting journey for me as well. Now, coming back around and being like... Like you said, falling in love with SEO again and settling back into that role and the place where I want to start is I think a lot of the misconceptions people have about the relationship between PPC and SEO. I've heard so many SEOs complain about PPC stealing their keywords or taking up real estate on the surfs and things like that. Should we dive into that a little bit and talk about kind of. I think some of the complaints SEOs have about PPC, why they might some might be right, some might be wrong. I think one I've always heard is the... if your clicks are going down from an organic perspective, that might be because more things are happening on the paid side of things. And I've heard that from both sides. People saying like, "Oh, I'm blaming my lack of clicks because this reason." And then other people say, "Well, no. Actually, there's actually different audiences for that thing." What's your perspective on that?
Alice: Yeah. That's interesting and a funny debate to me. I think that some years ago, yes, it was true that when you had lot of paid ads, a box of organic ones, of course, you were... you lost CRN and so on. But today, I think it's different because the SERP is different today. It means that if you type hard-boiled eggs, then you will have a position zero with all the steps that you need to boil your eggs. If you look for information about someone, then you have the knowledge graph that gives you the answer. And somewhere over the years, Google is giving you nuggets. It means that you don't need to click on a result, either paid or an organic one to get your answer. So today I would like to say yes.
Alice: Maybe sometimes for certain queries paid search is the bad guy in the story because as an SEO, you don't get the click, right? But for a lot of queries, maybe 90% of the queries today, when you look for something, then you don't have the old subs that you used to see with the paid ads and the organic results. Now you have knowledge graph, the local pack, the people also ask. You have the position zero, the paid ads and everything else. So of course, all this ecosystem tend to reduce the number of clicks for organic, but people tend to click less whatever the result is because Google is able to give you the answer without having to click on anything else in just you type your query and that's it. So yeah, that's a funny debate because maybe two years ago it was still true that PPC actually stole clicks, but today I don't think it's true anymore because of all of that.
Jack: Something I've talked about with Luke, one of our search specialists here, he always talks about the different people click on ads to different people who click on organic results. I know I'm totally guilty of this as myself as an SEO.
Alice: I do too.
Jack: Just scroll past the ads. Don't worry about the ads. Don't get them out the way and then move straight down to organic results. Coming through to the audience in general and humans using search engines and how much more educated we are now in 2022 especially with younger people coming through. I know, I'm going to have an episode on TikTok coming up soon as a search engine and that's a whole other discussion, but even how we're using Google has shifted over the last 10 years or so. And I think different people who click on ads are maybe less experienced in some senses or... I know my parents are the kind of people. They're not internet people at all. They would click on an ad without even realising it's an ad a lot of the time, whereas...
Alice: That's because you are not objective, right?
Jack: Exactly. Yeah. And I think there is that interesting conversation where as we get more and more educated as people using search engines and more and more people learn about digital marketing and SEO and PPC, even if it's not part of their job or their career people understand how search engines work more in just culture in general. I think that's a really interesting thing where, I don't know, we'll see this kind of like and we'll get onto this topic in a second. Well, the more automation of paid search as well and how the whole industry is going to shift, do you think there are kind of clear divides of audiences or do you think it's not as simple as that for people who click on paid ads versus as people who are always going to click on organic results?
Alice: That's a good one. I would say that first, I think that it depends on the device that you use.
Jack: That's a very good point. Yeah. Yeah.
Alice: It's easier to scroll on desktop to go to the organic results. On the contrary when you use your mobile then you, I think maybe I'm wrong, that you tend to click on the paid ads more because maybe you are in an early or something, and I don't know. On a mobile, it's not that easy to scroll to see all the results. So I would say that first, it depends on the device that you use. And as you said, maybe your parents click on the ad result because they are less negative about these engines. I don't know. To be honest, I think that we are not objectives because we work in this field. So of course, we tend to have our opinions as subjects. I know that like you, I try not to click on paid ads because that's like it, I don't like to do it even if I spend minimum of dollars on campaigns. But yeah, I won't click on paid ads.
Alice: As you said, a question of audiences. Last week, I was looking at audiences using search and giants because today we tend to use more and more social media such as TikTok, Instagram and et cetera, maybe not Facebook, not anymore. And I was wondering, where are people looking for information? Is it still on search engines or is it now on social media? And it appears that according to Statista, people between 18 and 30 years old, if I'm not wrong, tend to use social media more to look for information. So yes, maybe that's a question of education, as you said, because I think that once they use the search engine, then they don't know very well, oh, it works and then they will click on paid ads because after all, why not?
Jack: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's interesting. There been a lot of studies using it. And like I said, the next couple of episodes, I will be interviewing somebody talking about TikTok as a search engine and how I've seen statistics and even some of the executives from Google have been talking about it, how more people and especially younger people, you said that 13 to 18 and then even 18 up to 25 or so that sort of age range are using social media more and more often you can get a quick answer of, like you mentioned, how to boil an egg earlier. Like, oh yeah, you can get the little featured snippet in position zero. Yeah, sure. Whatever. Or you could get a 32nd video that shows you step by step by step how to do it when to add the salt, when to heat your pan, all this kind of stuff. And you get the answer there. And then on TikTok that you can pause and scroll through and whatever.
Jack: I think it's really interesting that we are coming through this kind of age of education about search engines. And I feel like we're now moving and I hate to use this phrase, like into the next phase of whatever digital marketing is going to become, right? I know everybody's talking about NFTs and metaverse and all that kind of stuff, but I do feel there is a shift certainly coming in the industry as a whole as well, sticking on the misconception side of things. I've heard a lot of people talk about how... If you're using the same account and you are working for a client or working on the site and things like that from both SEO and PPC, they can actually benefit each other in certain ways. So if you are bidding on a keyword from an account for that client or that site from a PPC perspective, it can actually enhance your rankings from an organic perspective. I don't think that's true from my understanding, but please correct me if I'm wrong, Alice.
Alice: No, no. I agree with you. There is no way doing of PPC can help your rankings. There's actually no way it can happen. I think that the only way you can benefit from PPC is launching a new landing page and then running some tests through PPC to find to optimise your conversion rate, what copy should use, et cetera. And then, using that landing page as a page for you answer as well. Otherwise, no, there was no way you can benefit from your paid such campaigns. I already heard something about it, like yeah, but I spend $200,000 a month on PPCs. So yeah, I benefit from it on an SEO perspective. No, that's not true. You can even spend $1 billion a month that you only months that you won't still benefit from it for an SEO perspective. So, no.
Jack: Yeah. And just to touch on landing pages there, I think that's a really interesting topic. I've been talking to a client about this recently, who is both a PPC and SEO client for us. We've been talking about landing pages and things like that. Do you think there is an advantage or a disadvantage to what approach you would take if a client or a site is doing both, how to approach building a landing page, would you build it just for a PPC standpoint and then have it like no index from an organic point of view or would you have it as serving both? So it's a fully optimized and well-written, all that kind of stuff for SEO. And also coming in with PPC team or whoever manages that and have their take on, like you said, click through rates and think about where the customer journey is ending up at the end of the day and things like that. Is there advantages to having a dedicated PPC landing page or having a hybrid that does both? Are there any disadvantages, advantages, that sort of thing?
Alice: Good question. So, I think that the best solution is to use a streamlined mode page. If for your PPC campaigns, you are not targeting specific people. Then if you specific targeting people, I don't know, Batman funds as we do now for instance. So that the first idea that came up, yes, it's interesting to have a dedicated landing page that is no index, unless you have an interest and SEO for it. But in PPC, if you... Yes, if you target very specific audiences, maybe it makes more sense to use dedicate landing pages because they tend to rely more on the specific copy, rely more on a specific design images, videos, and so on. So yes, it can make sense in that case.
Jack: That's coming back around to the audience's side of things, right? Different audiences for different PPC and different SEO stuff, right?
Alice: Yeah. We run the test recently. We are trying to build another business from scratch in photo printing in vertical. And at first, we were using the same landing page for all the projects that we were setting. And on Facebook ads, Instagram, TikTok, et cetera, we were targeting specific people by campaign, depending on our objectives, but we were using the same landing page. And last week, we made a switch and we total service, "Okay. We are going to test a specific landing page for a specific product category, et cetera." And it works very well. So yes, that's why I'm saying that it makes more sense to have dedicated landing pages when you are targeting specific people.
Alice: So maybe it can be interesting for SEO as well, to benefit from the pages, if you can get clicks from this theories as well, depending on if people tend to look for it on a searching engine, or if people tend to click on an advertising on Facebook and Instagram, et cetera, for some things that you weren't looking for, but once they saw some ads then say, "Oh, okay, I'm going to do it." So for this, it depends...
Jack: Welcome to the SEO answer, "it depends". We got one listeners, don't worry. So touching on some of the things and the main topic we'll talk about, how SEOs can benefit from some PPC knowledge. What are some of the techniques and tools you think that come from building a paid campaign that can also translate and benefit for some organic stuff as well? Things like keyword research, certain tools, certain techniques, things like that. Is there anything that your top recommendations for like, if you're an SEO, that's looking to learn a bit more and expand your knowledge base, what are the kind of things you should be looking for in terms of PPC skills that might benefit you in SEO as well?
Alice: Well, that's a good question. It's out today to I need to learn PPC from as your perspective. But let's say that if you want to broaden your skills, I would suggest to run a campaign, build a landing page, and then with an objective, and then trying to reach your activities or its lead or purchase, et cetera, and do it on Google Ads, maybe Bing Ads, if you are lucky, on Facebook ads, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok as well to get fully understandable of all things work for paid acquisitions, for so on Google ads, for people who are still using search keywords, search queries and on social media to understand how people react to paid ads actually, would they react to ads they didn't look for, but they could be interested in. And all those learnings can benefit in SEO because it gives you a better understanding of all the audiences, like a 360-degree view of everything. According to me, then you have more learnings, you have more power somewhere to be better at building webpages. You tend to be better at working with designer, UX researcher, user researcher as well. That's interesting it. Yes, it gives you the power to all of that to broaden your learning and to benefit from all of it and to somewhere communicate not only with developers and designer, but to be able to communicate with a broader audience internally or with your clients, et cetera.
Jack: Yeah. I think UX and especially user research you just touched on there is something that goes under the radar for want a better phrase. People forget how important that can be to, especially, we're talking about landing pages just now. Things like click-through rate and things like that, whether that's coming from an organic or a paid side of things. Are there any ways you'd recommend people, I guess, to bring it into the process as early as possible would be the thinking there. If you're thinking about something, have UX and user research and design in mind from the very beginning and work with your team, whether that's internal or external, whatever it is, work with that team as well during that process. Do you think that's valid to bring that part of it altogether at the same time as early as possible before you get your own ideas and run away with them then or by the way, we need to design a thing?
Alice: Yeah. There are plenty of ways you can do something that is interesting about user research for instance, is then you can start your user research before ever even a landing page. So one way of doing this is by building a Google Form or a type form, for instance, and asking for user feedback about an idea that you've got. And then, that's a way to start your user journey, your user research and then you grab all those information. And then from there you have maybe two options, I guess, option A, then you build everything from the feedback and option B, you build 50 from the feedback and s0 from your intuition because you don't have any data yet. So with your design team, engineering team, et cetera, you’re building a 50/50 of feedback and total intuition of what you think is the best.
Jack: I think it's interesting because that intuition is a key part of it as well. I think a lot of us in SEO and in PPC as well have that kind of, "Ah, this just feels right moment." And sometimes that's completely wrong. Sometimes you'll stumble onto a little magic moment that will perfectly work and things like that. Is there anything you can think of that would be like things that people don't realise go into PPC that also relate to SEO?
Jack: So thinking from my experience working with the PPC team here at Candor, keyword research has been such a big collaborative thing for us starting with a new client or a new website. And I've experienced it before where I've gone off and done my SEO work and started my content planning with a big keyword research project. And the PPC team are doing the same thing. And then, we realise we've got the same data. Why have we done it twice? Does it differ between the two? How can it relate to each other and how can people from an SEO sort of things learn about that PPC process as well?
Alice: Interesting. So as an SEO, I think that we tend to rely on search volume. We are still relying on it. And as we said earlier, because users tend to click less on results, et cetera. I think that it makes less sense today than it was doing yesterday. I think that the best deal you can have with PPCs by running campaign keywords that are relevant to your product services, et cetera and see what is the demands behind the specific keywords? So express in terms of impressions, and then see the C, the CTR data ads for the keywords, because if the CTR is like 50%, so it won't, but for instance, if it is 50%, then it can be interesting in terms of search volume to look, to go after this keyword. But if you won't benefit from it from an SEO perspective because you can already see that paid search tend to acquire all the traffic you can get from it. So yeah, somewhere, this is the best use you can have of PPC is that you have your first clues, your first learnings before even starting use of strategy on it is like, do your keyword research, what are the keywords that are relevant to me based on what I offer as a product service, what are the keywords that are relevant based on the contents I have written, tested by running at campaigns on them? Look at the number of impressions, number of clicks. So the CTR and look as well as the number of conversions you have, and then see if you can also benefit from them for an SEO perspective. And sometimes we'll, unfortunately, see that for some keywords that have been very important search volume, that it won't be interesting to work on it... on your SEO because at the end you want benefit from it, you will have 10 clicks a day and one conversion. So yeah, that's not worth the way it is.
Jack: I know Mark has talked a lot about this, even his BrightonSEO talk and things like that have a bit about zero volume keyword research and talk about those real kind of long-tail queries and the layer of conversion you can get from them. How somebody looking for an incredibly specific answer, if you are there and you're going to be one of the first people to answer that question, you're more likely to get that click through it and you are totally right. I'm glad you brought up search from there because I feel like so many people get caught up in the... And especially from like a lot from the client side of things and thinking about their KPIs and all this kind of stuff, like we mustn't target anything under 300 search volume or some number that the CEO is pulled out of thin air and just nothing under 100, nothing under 500, whatever it is. I think that's really interesting. Do you think there is value in understanding the ad copy from PPC perspective and how that translates to things like meta titles, meta descriptions, all that kind of stuff? Do you think that the wording and the language you use can be translated between the two of them? Or should they be separate because they are targeting separate audiences? Or is it a depends and it's kind of both?
Alice: No. It's difficult to ensure that one, because when you run an ad campaign, then you are using headlines and descriptions for your ad. For one ad, you are using up to 10 headlines and up to five descriptions and then Google chose on a daily basis, what is the best combination possible to give you the best preference behind it? So somewhere, yes, you called to use the best combination. It is according to Google to use it for your title and description for usage results as well. But again, yes, it made depends on if your combination is always the same or not. And also something else, if you are building on a keyword and you are optimising your website for that same keyword, does it make sense to use the same title in the description? Because if a user didn't click on your ad and you are offering the same title in the description as an organic result, chances are, the user won't click on it as well, because you didn't somewhere convince him of doing so. So yeah, the question is asked and yeah.
Jack: Yeah. I think that's an interesting one, because I think again, looking at... When you look at the SERP and you see them next to each other, they can be so different. And as you said, because you're thinking about it from a different perspective, right? When we look at PPC and look at SEO two sides of the same coin in a lot of ways you can learn from each other, you can understand from the other perspective. And like I said, I'm fortunate in where I'm usually sat at my desk, I'm next to one of our PPC specialists, so we can bounce ideas off of each other. Do you think there's value in that having like whether that's in-house or agency side, having the PPC and SEO members of the digital marketing team communicating and having that transparency between each other and especially if you're working on the same site there must be some benefits there of understanding each other's perspectives and things?
Alice: Yeah. That's a very good one. I always worked around PPC people. This is the best way, yes. You can benefit from them. At the end of the day, either your PPC or SEO, your objective is the same is to acquire new users. And it's on them to sign up to purchase to, I don't know, et cetera. So somewhere we are using, we are pushing the same objective, not using the same way, but yeah, at the end of the day, we are... we all want the same thing. So yes, it's super cool to be able to work with them on a daily basis and adding them near you. Of course, it is. Yes.
Jack: So let's do it. Let's get into some complaining about things. We touched on Performance Max earlier, and I know it's something it's a very hot topic in PPC at the moment. And even coming from an SEO side of things, how much of the discussion around AI generated content and things like that, and all this kind of automation that's happening in SEO versus PPC. We've touched on Performance Max, a couple of times on the show. How do you feel about it as a professional working in PPC now, and where do you see the industry going from Google's perspective, now that they're kind of, this is the new thing try Performance Max, and kind of pushing a lot of PMax campaigns.
Alice: To be honest, I feel bad.
Jack: You're not the first person I've spoken to that said that. Don't worry.
Alice: When I get back into PPC, so in 2020, if I'm not wrong. You were still able to build on keywords and to... Well, for web campaigns. So you were still able to build on keywords and see the performances they were living. If you were doing campaigns for app, so for mobile applications, for Android and iOS, you were already blanked. It means that you didn't get the information on what were the keywords, because Google tells you, "Hey, thanks to our match learning algorithm. We are able to build on keywords for you depending on your copy." And we won't end. We won't give you that much information. So we won't tell you, "Hey, that keyword build on for you make 1000 installs and $10,000 revenue." So you don't have access to the information since last year with what we call Performance Max. So for web search campaigns, that's exactly the same, Google is telling you, "Hey, no worry. No. My machine learning algorithm is super cool." So here you don't have to spend hours and hours doing your keyword research, et cetera, just write your copy, add your creating images, videos, HTML5, if you want to. And then I will do everything else for you. Well, to be honest, that's a complete mess because you don't have access to the keywords. You don't have access to the placement. So you don't know if your impressions are coming from Google search, YouTube, Gmail, et cetera. You don't have that information. And that's something I don't understand with PPC is that you build on something. It means that you spend money and today you spend money on things you can't rely 100% on because you don't know what Google did with that.
Jack: Yeah. I think that's particularly tricky when you're reporting as well. Whether that's reporting to a client or reporting to your managers or directors internally, like, "Oh, we spent $10,000. I don't know where that went, but here's some clicks, I guess." I don't know what keywords are performing. I don't know. What page is performing? Don't know. Was it on YouTube? Don't know. Brilliant. Okay, great. Yeah. How do you see that affecting the PPC industry as a whole? Do you think Google, aren't going to push? I always see it as that they're pushing people away and trying to get more automation, more control because, of course, as we know and as we've talked about on the show before, Google makes lots of money from these ads, they make hundreds of billions of dollars a year from these ads and they are going to get you to spend more money. I know we've talked a lot about here at Candour, like the... “Oh, you haven't got 100% optimization of your campaign.” And a lot of it is if you spend more money, you get more clicks. Yeah, I know that's not an optimization thing. That's just a statement. Google is just encouraging you to spend more money. So do you think it's driven by a lot of that rather than actual positive outlooks for websites and clients and things like that? Is it just Google making more money and trying to push middlemen like us working in agencies, trying to push us out of the way and do the work for us. And I guess, where do you see that going in five, 10 years' time if everything is controlled by robots.
Alice: So first to answer you on this, I signal as... In French, we say “Emmental” and in English, it will be “cheese with holes in it”. And earlier, just before Google introduced match learning in PPC, you are able to select your placements. So to select YouTube over Google search, Google search over Gmail, et cetera, but somewhere for Google, it means earning less revenue, right? And by introducing machine learning and by building on keywords for you and selecting placements for you, then they fill all of the cheese so they can increase their revenue. And keywords tend to be a little bit more expensive as well. So yes, they 100% benefit from it. Of course, to be honest, I don't have any clue of what it would look like in 10 years. So far, I think that they're going to leverage more and more on machine learning so we won't be able to rely on keyword building anymore. We can still with search campaigns because Performance Max is still in better, but I guess that at the end of the year, next year, we will only have Performance Max. So machine learning everywhere, and those able to add all the information and same for GA4, right? So today, you don't have all the information you add in GA3 and it's not getting better. So in the coming years, I see that as a big mess because there are topics around user privacy, et cetera. They hide information from us, information that I think that we could still use because they are information that are relevant from a search perspective as an or PPC relevant as a designer, relevant as a user researcher, et cetera. So they hide all those information and I think that it's for the bank. So in 10 years, I don't know. The only clue I have on it is that, as I said earlier, people tend to switch the way they look for information. Gen Z for instance, use way more social media than the searching engine. So maybe in 10 years when they will be, I don't know many, many people doing, having the same habit of looking for information in social media. I don't know, also search engine will be. I know that today as this is a sentence I like, Google giving you nuggets, so you don't have to click on anything. It's like a snack search engine. You don't have to click on anything, you have your answer directly. So in 10 years, in the coming years, I see Google as trying to... trying its best to be cool to use for Gen Z. And with, as you said, for hard-boiled eggs, with videos, et cetera. It's going to change and it's going to change a lot for sure. For us doing the user acquisition, it's not changing for good because we have access to way more or less information. So, yes. And it's the same. We didn't talk about user acquisition on other platforms, such as Apple ads, for instance. But last year with iOS 15, Apple said, "Hey, user privacy." You don't have access to the user ID anymore. So good luck for finding where the install comes from, where your revenue comes from, et cetera, et cetera. So yes, it's the way we lost access to the data it's not only on Google, it's everywhere and it's even on GA4 and you won't be able to find it in Adobe or AT internet or analytics, et cetera. You won't be able to do it. So yeah, somewhere it's scary to tell ourselves what are we going to do to still do our job well because we are... we will have way more or less information than we add before. So yeah, that's an open question.
Jack: I think working with less data is so interesting, right? Because PPC, SEO, I think if you're doing it right, should involve data from the very beginning. Like you said, when you're running a test on something that is so key for whether you are running like AB testing for titles, for click-through rate, or like you said, running 10 headlines in a campaign and things like that and understanding all that sort of thing, when you have less data to work with, you're going to be less informed when you create your campaigns and your pages and your websites and things like that. It's a weird direction we're going and you are totally right about the privacy thing as well. I know I experienced that in with previous clients who were focused on Facebook and Instagram advertising, and we just saw our clicks just drop off our cliff when, like you said, the iOS update happened and it was suddenly like, "Yeah, no user data." They have to accept it before they can even begin to receive these things. So we just saw a massive, like 60%, 70% drop off in some clients. It was absolutely crazy. I know that's very much where we're heading, as you rightly said again with GA4, that's so clearly a reaction from Google about the recent GDPR and various other international privacy laws and things like that. Yeah. It's fascinating to me to see where this industry is going when privacy is becoming more and more important from a legal perspective, but we are all trying to push back, we're like, "We need user data, please. No. Stop." I think it's a really interesting one as well because we were talking about Performance Max. We've touched on a couple of things already coming back around, I guess, to how SEO and PPC work together. Using that user data, is there a way we can try and not necessarily future-proof ourselves, but think about how we can adapt ourselves to work with this high privacy, less user data environment we're finding ourselves in now, whether that's paid social stuff. And I know a lot of people are now working with TikTok advertising as well, coming through as the hot new topic and social media and advertising, things like that. Is there anything you can think of that you can think about now rather than waiting for it to happen a year, 18 months, two years down the line?
Alice: Yeah. You can still use information from social media. Of course, for instance, for knowing your audiences, what kind of product attract that specific audience and et cetera. But the way you look for information on social media is way different and the one people use on search engines. So not sure there is a link between the two, except for the audiences, but still on one way you have search queries and on another one you have like snap consumption videos, images, audio, et cetera. So yeah, it's way more different and I'm not sure we can benefit from it from an SEO perspective, but still as keywords tend to be more and more expensive for certain queries, maybe SEO will get more CTR for specific queries because investments are going down for some of them. To give you an example, here at Pictarine, we still use Google Ads a lot for user acquisition, but we are switching to social media. And it means that yes, we spend a lot on Google Ads, but for certain keywords, we told ourselves, "Okay, then we can pose it. It's not the volume behind it's not that important. So go ahead." We can post the video on that keyword and it means that we can use the website to retrieve the click we don't have anymore with the period. So, somewhere maybe there is something that is going to happen between paid and SEO in terms of who is having the click, maybe.
Jack: Yeah, absolutely. So let's round things off and touch on some social media stuff. Do you think that is where a lot of the people are going to be going? And again, I know we've touched on it already. I keep saying the word TikTok because everybody's talking about TikTok at the moment, but there is... Do you think there's a shift in intent there, especially as we said from the younger users as well, moving over to use things like TikTok? And I remember when I first got into SEO, like I say, four years ago now, so many people were talking about, "Oh, YouTube is the second biggest search engine and all this kind of stuff." And now as of last year, TikTok was more visited than Google itself, which blows my mind. And even coming around to tying it into the privacy laws and things as well, there's been a lot of controversy around user data from TikTok as well, whether that's the US government trying to fight back against it and various European governments and GDPR and things like that. Is that a viable market to go into considering how privacy is shifting or do you think something like TikTok is a flash-in-the-pan momentary thing, which will eventually get shut down because of the crazy privacy laws or is it something that is a viable alternative for other social things, and like you said, going and targeting new users and different users from a client's perspective?
Alice: I think it is. Less or more than on NFT for instance. So TikTok became a habit. NFT, I don't know. Something that struck me with TikTok is that people actually purchase from TikTok. It means that you scroll to watch videos, then you stop on a video because I don't know the video is attracting and then you end up making a purchase. Well, that's awesome and completely out of nowhere. I think because would you have thought that people cooled actually purchase from TikTok two years before when TikTok increase in its usage, et cetera? I think that we didn't know it will happen but it does now. People are purchasing from videos they see on TikTok. So there is big shift in user habits today. And yes, that's incredible. So I see it as today. I don't see no social media going after TikTok, maybe I'm wrong, but I've not heard of no social media being trendy. So TikTok is going to be around here for a long time, I guess. And you know, it's like when Uber were appeared in New York and went to see the taxis and it was like an explosion in the industry where you can get a cab for, I don't know, $10 instead of $50. And TikTok, it's the same. The social media that came and that reverts everything because now Facebook is for the old ones, Instagram is trying to be the new TikTok with reals.
Jack: You got YouTube shorts in there as well, obviously.
Alice: Yes. So the fact that is TikTok adds the power to reinvent, to force other actors to reinvent themselves. Even Google because Google author videos short in zeros, et cetera. So, there's a big avenue for videos, right? And that, thanks to TikTok. So that's the way I see the ecosystem today, but something else is coming because it can't stay that way in. In 2005 when Facebook came, we said, "Okay, that's the social media, that all the ecosystem is." But today when you look at Facebook, you are, "Okay. My parents are on it." So Facebook is for the old ones. I'm not interested in Facebook anymore. And that's something we couldn't... we didn't think about at that time. And of course, and also social media is going to reinvent the ecosystem after TikTok. I don't know which one, I don't know how video images, et cetera, I don't know, but yes, and it's going to change for sure. I don't remember your question. I went way deep into my answer, but yeah.
Jack: It's what we're here to do. Don't worry. Yeah. I was thinking about how TikTok has shifted the landscape. I think you totally answered the question, thinking about how, again, people trying to for want a better phrase, escape that privacy crunch that we're having at the moment with Facebook, with Google, with so many big companies, because obviously TikTok being based out of China and things like that, they have very different regulations out there, so they can kind of... That's why they're bouncing off so many of the US government regulations and things like that as well. Do you think more platforms will try and emulate that and try and do things where they're trying to get around these privacy laws? Or do you think it's an inevitable thing for us in Europe and in the US and in the UK for GDPR and other privacy, like international regulations, they're going to be here to stay, right? Or do you think people are going to try and sneak around with other things like TikTok?
Alice: I think that regulation is going to stay in short nature. And I think that people didn't ask for regulation in the first place, because look at when people download an app or many of them are looking at the terms and conditions before downloading it.
Jack: Oh, absolutely nobody. Yeah. There's a brilliant infographic I saw a few years ago that was how long it would take for you to read all of the terms and conditions for all of the things that you use. Like, "Oh, you bought your first iPhone. Have you ever read Apple's terms and conditions? Because they're 1,500 pages long." Nobody has ever read that apart from their lawyers, basically. And yeah, you're so right. As soon as you download an app, it suddenly has access to your camera and your microphone and your texts and your calls and all those kinds stuff. And everybody's just, "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No problem." Click, accept, whatever, just download. I need to use TikTok, just download the thing. And now, people are suddenly panicking about, "Oh, no. TikTok has all my information and stuff." Well, yeah, you told it to have all of your information. You agreed to that. So yeah, I think you're totally right. I think the regulations are here to stay and I think there's... this is a whole other discussion we're not going to get into because we could be here for hours. But the fact that the lawmakers who are deciding these things are not necessarily the people who are most educated about the technology related to it. So people like you and I who are professionals in this industry have no influence over the people that are actually deciding the bigger picture stuff of where the industry is going from a legal standpoint as well. But yes, that is a whole other conversation we have. Maybe we'll have a second follow-up episode where we can just glance-
Alice: Yeah. That will be nice. There's a lot to see about it.
Jack: Cool. Well, that about wraps us up for this week. Thank you, Alice, for joining me. It's been a pleasure to have you on.
Alice: Thank you very much.
Jack: How can people follow you on social media, on websites, all that kind of stuff? How can people follow you across the internet and keep up with what you're doing?
Alice: You can follow me on Twitter, and my username is @aaliceroussel, with double A. And I have my website, merci-larry.com. So yeah, that's two ways of following me.
Jack: Awesome. Links for those will both be in the show notes, listeners. So if you go to search.withcandour.co.uk, you'll find the links for everything we’ve talked about in this episode and the links for all of Alice's social media and websites there as well.
Jack: And that's all we've got time for this week. A very interesting conversation. I've learned a lot as a person who is, as I mentioned on the episode, mostly SEO person and not much of a PPC person. So I very much appreciate the conversation and the education about PPC. I hope any listeners out there if you're more of an SEO and less of a PPC person, like myself, you've learned something from this week's episode. And of course, I will be back next week. I have got an interview coming up in the next couple of weeks or so, but I'm sure I'll be back with Mark to talk more SEO and PPC news in the near future as well. Thanks so much for listening and have a lovely week.