Digital Advertising in 2014 – A Year in Review

2014 was an important year in many ways for digital marketing. Social went from strength to strength thanks in part to duel screening and wearable tech finally became wearable (I got two pieces of wearable tech as gifts in 2014!).

Ellen bagged the world’s most popular tweet ever thanks to a star-studded selfie and Flappy Bird frustrated millions.

But what about digital advertising and more specifically PPC?

2014 saw some big changes in digital advertising. Join us as we take a quick review of the year and the biggest things to have happened.


For most marketers, Google AdWords is the leading PPC and digital advertising platform of choice. 2014 was a busy year for the platform with many upgrades, updates and new features.

Below are some of my personal highlights that have helped me be a better and more efficient PPC advertiser in 2014.

Callout extensions

A particular favourite of mine – callout extensions give you more text space to sell your company. Typically they should be used for specific marketing messages and calls to action. For example:

  • Fast delivery
  • Free returns
  • 24/7 support
  • Call now
  • Free quote

And so on – these used to take up valuable space in your description line 1 and 2; but now you have these handy little callouts to carry this burden. Be creative and get smart, callout extensions are a fantastic way to increase your CTR.


Dynamic remarketing

Dynamic remarketing has helped me become a far more efficient marketer. Dynamic remarketing campaigns allow you to create one ad that dynamically changes the marketing message depending on your remarketing list rules.

This cuts down on the management and creation time of your ads and campaigns. This allows you to target very specific audiences via remarketing in ways that required a significant amount of planning and strategy before.

You can learn more about dynamic remarketing ads here:

Mobile ad extensions

Mobile ads received a bit of a makeover in September – the update meant that ad extensions could be shown instead of the second description line of your ad on mobile search.

Here is the example from the Inside AdWords blog:


One important thing to note with this is that ideally you should ideally create mobile preferred ads for all of your campaigns with specific CTR and specific ad extensions (such as the call extension). This will help ensure your mobile campaigns have the best and engagement rates.

Ad extensions and ad rank

And if all of the above wasn’t enough encouragement for you to get down and dirty with ad extensions if you weren’t already, they are now used in the ad auction algorithm. Failure to use these may be negatively impair your positioning and ability to bid competitively against your competitors.

Programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising started to enter the mainstream in 2014 with more marketers opting to make the programmatic shift.

Programmatic advertising allows you to use data to make changes and amendments to your digital advertising campaigns in real time.

As it places actual user data at the heart of its campaigns, it allows you to be far more specific and intelligent about how you run your digital advertising campaigns.

We’ve already seen a big increase in programmatic advertising usage. In mobile channels it was predicted to reach 47% of all display advertising by the end of 2014.


My colleague, Lucy, will be discussing Programmatic Advertising in a later blog article, so keep an eye out!

Mobile advertising

Mobile has also seen a fantastic increase in 2014 with more and more marketers focusing on mobile devices to drive targeted advertising messages to audience members at the right time. In 2015, it’s predicted to reach 30% of total ad spend.

One thing in particular that pushed mobile’s surge in popularity has been dual-screening.

Social has pretty much shifted completely to mobile devices and your mobile allows you to interact directly with a shared audience when watching your favourite TV show (or one that you love to hate) or waiting for your train to get to work.

Over a third of all traffic now comes from a mobile device (both smartphones and tablet devices).

Data from Econsultancy has shown just how much mobile has increased. Smartphone usage has increased to 68% in 2014, from 62% in 2013. Shoppers have also become far savvier and frequently use mobile devices even in store for comparable priced shopping. Mobile has become far too integral in everyday life to be ignored.

If you’ve not got a mobile strategy in place, then get in touch via today and we’d be happy to help.

YouTube advertising

With increasing 4G usage and smartphones becoming the norm, more and more video is becoming an increasingly important part of advertising.

Ad spend on YouTube has increased by 56% in 2014 up to $5.96 billion in the USA alone and is likely to increase in 2015.

If you have any questions about digital advertising then why not get in touch? We’d be happy to discuss any questions you might have.

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