June 2019

Google Ads automation comes of age

Blog Google

Thinking back to the early days in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing, managers always felt that the best strategy was to maintain control over any given account through constant vigilance, good analytics and manual bidding. Time consuming, yes, but being in control was far more important than allowing Google’s early experiments in automated bidding to drive up cost per click and budgets without the slightest regard for what the client wanted! And let’s be honest, Google’s idea of a successful campaign didn’t always mesh with what hundreds of thousands of small- to medium-businesses considered “success.”

In truth, that’s probably still the case, but today’s Google Ads automation options are a far cry from the old AdWords efforts.

Google has never been a company to sit on its laurels and there have been far too many changes to the ad platform to catalog here. But despite the limitations of early automation efforts, it was always apparent that this was the direction Google was headed. The company has been aggressively pushing it for years. Moore’s Law postulates that processing power doubles every two years. After 10+ years of search marketing, advances in machine learning that analyzes millions of signals in real time has reached the point where automation is smart enough to genuinely benefit advertisers.

Over the last few years there have been some excellent developments, like Responsive Ads (for both search and display), 10 different bidding methods, Attribution Modeling, Ad Scripts and Rules, and smarter Audience targeting for both networks, including automatic Targeting Expansion. When taken together with older developments like Bid Adjustments and Dynamic Search Ads, digital marketers now have an extremely powerful tool chest that makes Manual Bidding on keywords look a little…early 2000s.

There are a couple of definite “Dos” to this new frontier:
• Do Set Rules to avoid automation from running wild  
• Do Give it Time — Don’t Rush It

New innovations in automation don’t need to be enacted immediately because they are not always perfected on release date. Investigate and test them as much as possible. By the time they are perfected you’ll be ready to implement. A good example of this is the observation mode in the audience menu. This allows advertisers to effectively run a test campaign using selected audience targeting before actually implementing it in the real world.

So with all these options available to run campaigns, why do you need a PPC manager? Unlike so many other industries, automation does not replace human interaction. Just as the world will always need doctors, pilots and teachers, the human touch still matters. Doctors diagnose problems and propose solutions. Pilots monitor the flight controls and communicate with the Tower. Teachers keep students updated and adjust curriculum to meet the needs of their classes. And PPC managers continue to monitor and optimize based on individual campaign strategies.

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