Google has released a Search Ads Automation Guide that shares some best practices on how to use automation to reach customers. The guide is long overdue for some marketers who have an unfavorable opinion about automation in general. According to a recent Search Engine Land article, adoption of automation and recommendations is overwhelmingly positive, while satisfaction is low, with over half of users reporting a negative experience.
This new guide attempts to answer users questions and concerns around automation and ease the anxieties most advertisers have around letting go of control of their keywords and bids.
Best practice 1: use a broad match keyword strategy. Historically advertisers that used broad match keywords found wasted ad spend and irrelevant clicks. It seems like there haven’t been any new features or updates around broad match. But Googles is attempting to help users better understand why they should use them, and with what bid strategy they feel will have the biggest impact for their account. Google states “Broad match keywords work best with Smart Bidding because it ensures you only bid on searches that are expected to perform for you.”
Best practice 2: using smart bidding strategies. Google says that evolutions in automation and machine learning will allow us to simplify how we setup and manage campaigns. The guide goes into great detail on why a smart bidding structure is best to use with broad keywords. But veteran advertisers know that making too many account changes at once, especially moving toward a hands-off automatic approach, can be detrimental for performance. Testing smart bidding strategies are a great idea in general, but be cautious of spend, conversion changes, and general advice around this topic from your Google rep.
Best practice 3: use responsive search ads. Google advises to “use multiple headlines and descriptions to automatically build and serve relevant ads for every query based on auction-time signals.” This is one strategy we can get behind. Responsive search ads allow a level of automation, but within the parameters you define. You maintain control of your ads by creating multiple headlines and descriptions, and allowing Google to show the most relevant combination to your audience
The guide. All info is taken from Googles guide “Unlock the Power of Search: Inside Search Automation with Google Ads.” The guide is long at 28 pages and likely makes for great bedtime reading. The guide features a promising but generic case study from Tails.com (a pet food company for which Nestlé Purina Pet Care is their biggest investor), but provides no insight into their (what was likely a large) budget and ad spend, which is information most businesses would be interested in knowing.
Read the guide. The full PDF can be downloaded here.
Why we care. Google’s efforts at getting their users to understand automation is likely an attempt to get more people to not only adopt the best practices they define, but to leave those campaigns running long enough to see results. For many advertisers, this is simply not possible. If you have a large budget, go ahead and test these strategies and best practices. But as far as letting your campaigns run on autopilot, or firing your agency, we’re not there yet.
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