Automation is on the rise. Not only is it impacting our day-to-day modern lives, but also the way that we do PPC. When we think about automation, we usually think about an initial setup and automation will take care of the rest. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, when used properly, automation could save you a lot of valuable time and allow you to allocate this time to other optimization aspects of the account. However, there are a lot of pitfalls out there and you cannot just “set up and forget” about your account. The key is to constantly train the machine.
Where do you spend most of your time when optimizing your Google Ads Search Campaigns? Is it bid management? Ad testing? Or maybe budget management? What is most time-consuming for you and what has the biggest impact on your account performance?
There are many levels of automation in PPC and it will need manual work and involvement from an account manager to continue training the machine and achieve the desired results. It is imperative that the account has historical data and conversion tracking set up properly, before being able to automate certain aspects of it. Otherwise, you will not actually experience the benefits. With that in mind, let’s look at the four options you have in terms of Google Ads automation.
#1 Automated Budget Management
Setting a budget for your Google Ads campaigns is only the first step in the process of managing your account budget. Manually adjusting and managing your budget to get the most out of it is very time-consuming and one of the biggest challenges in the modern PPC world. Many PPC experts are monitoring and adjusting their budgets every single day. This is because simply dividing the monthly budget evenly between all days won’t get you the best return. But, what about the Google Ads overdelivery? This allows you to maximize your return on investment by showing your ads more often on days when search traffic is higher. This is an option; however, it doesn’t allow you for much control nor performance increases.
So, what else is out there? Of course, there are different budget pacing software tools, such as Optmyzr, Kenshoo, Opteo, and Acquisio, which use different signals to adjust your budget on a daily basis. The only downside? They are expensive and usually only used by large companies and agencies.
If you’re looking for a free option, then there is the Flexible Budget Script in Google Ads. This script lets you adjust your campaign budget on a daily basis with a custom budget distribution scheme, which is a great first step towards automating your budget management.
If the flexible budget script looks a bit complicated to you, you could also take it a step back and rely on the good old Google Ads automated rules. Automated rules give you options such as increasing or decreasing campaign budget values based on the day of the week, increasing budget for campaigns that have a profitable cost per conversion, or pausing campaigns that have reached a certain number of clicks or cost through the day. The only downside of the automated rules is that they can only run once per day.
#2 Automated Bid Management
Automatic bidding has been a huge boom in the PPC Industry and there are mixed opinions about the topic. Automatic bidding in Google Ads uses machine learning to tailor the right bid to each and every auction and uses historical data to predict conversion outcomes to help you achieve your goals. Google Ads offers different levels of automation.
First of all, there are the automated bid strategies that can be added on a campaign and/or ad group & keyword level, based upon the goal you have for your campaign. There are six different types of automated bidding strategies available:
If you want to take the automation even a step further and you’re willing to give up more control, you can try out one of the smart bidding strategies that optimize for conversions or conversion value. The smart bidding strategies available in Google Ads are Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize Conversions, and Enhanced CPC. These strategies have three additional benefits when comparing to automated bidding:
- They use a wide range of signals to tailor bids to every auction, such as device, location, time of day, remarketing lists, browser, language, etc.
- They have flexible controls to set performance targets and optimize search bids to your chosen attribution model.
- They allow for transparent reporting and status updated to understand what’s going on and what is working.
At White Shark Media, we recommend that before completely switching to one of the automated bidding strategies, you test which bidding strategy is working well for you by creating an experiment in Google Ads. You should aim to apply an experiment to those campaigns that have at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days to support the machine. Keep the experiment split at least 50% to generate significant data. Automated bidding can be a powerful solution to find the right bid for each individual auction and save you time to focus on high-level goals.
#3 Automated Ad Copy Management
Did you know that beyond automated budget and bid management, you can also automate certain aspects of your ad copy management? And it goes further than just changing your ad rotation from rotating evenly to “optimize”, which by the way is powered by Google’s machine learning technology.
Again, there are different levels of automated ad copy management. This could be as simple as setting up automated rules to pause underperforming ads in the account to more advanced automated actions, such as automatically launched machine-generated ads. Let’s take a look at the options.
Again, these automated rules allow you to pause underperforming ads based on performance metrics, such as those with low CTR and high cost-per-conversion.
You could also opt to “automate” specific ad copy text by using ad customizers, which can adapt your text ads to what someone is searching for, based on device, location, and even date, time of the day, or day of the week. While making your ad copy more tailored to the specific audience, it also saves you valuable time. There is no need to create 100 different ads for a specific location or even for the specific day of the week!
If you are ready to give away more control and have the machine help you with your ad copy variations, you could opt into the automated ad suggestions. These suggestions are variations of your existing text ads that may boost the performance of your Search Network campaigns. A combination of human review and machine learning is used to create high-quality suggestions. Be sure to take into account that they will only be provided for a small portion of ad groups and you will be able to review them in the recommendations page before applying, and edit, remove or pause them afterwards.
#4 Automated Audience Management
If you are looking for a powerful strategy to boost your account performance, combining automated bidding strategies with search audiences is the way to go! You can now teach the machine which people are most important to you.
Not only can you try remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA), customer match, and even similar audiences to help increase the number and quality of your conversions, there is also the in-market audience which uses machine learning to analyze tons of search queries and browsing activity to predict purchase intent. Why is this such a powerful tool? It means that you can actually target people based on both their recent search activity and their recent browsing history. This gives you access to audiences who are likely to be valuable to your business.
Automation is here and it’s here to stay, both in our day-to-day lives and in the PPC industry. It’s best to take advantage of it to make your job easier! We recommend training the machine and then trusting it to do its job. Train it again and again! This will help you save time, allowing you to change your optimization focus when needed. You can always adjust to trends as the industry changes. Don’t shy away from automation or assume it will do everything for you without any effort from you at all. If you do it right, automation will be the key you need to unlock an even better PPC campaign.