Google has released a Guide to Search Automation, which shares some best practices on how to use automation to reach customers. For some marketers who have a negative view of automation in general, the guide is long overdue. According to a recent Search Engine Land Articleacceptance of automation and recommendations is mostly positive, while satisfaction is low, more than half of users report a negative experience.
This new guide seeks to answer users’ questions and concerns about automation and alleviate the concerns most advertisers have about losing control of their keywords and bids.
Best Practice 1: Use a broad-matched keyword strategy. In the past, advertisers who used broad-matched keywords found wasted advertising spend and inappropriate clicks. There didn’t seem to be any new features or updates regarding broad match. But Google is trying to help users better understand why they should use them and what bidding strategy they think will affect their account the most. Google says, “Broad-matched keywords work best with smart bids because they ensure that you bid only for searches that are expected to be successful for you.”
Best practice 2: use smart bidding strategies. Google says the development of automation and machine learning will allow us to simplify the setup and management of campaigns. The guide is very detailed on why a smart bid structure is best used with broad keywords. But experienced advertisers know that too many account changes at once, especially moving toward an automated approach, can be detrimental to performance. Testing smart bidding strategies is generally a great idea, but be careful about spending, conversion changes, and general advice from your Google representative on this topic.
Best Practice 3: Use responsive ads on the search network. Google advises you to “use multiple titles and descriptions to automatically generate and display relevant ads for each query based on signals during the auction.” This is one of the strategies we can lag behind. Responsive ads on the search network provide a level of automation, but within the parameters you specify. Maintain control over your ads by creating multiple titles and descriptions and enabling Google to show the most relevant combination to your audience.
Sergeant. All information is taken from Google’s Unlock Search Power: Automating Inside Google Ads Search. The guide is 28 pages long and is probably great for bedtime reading. The guide contains a promising but general case study of Tails.com (a pet food company where Nestlé Purina Pet Care is their largest investor), but does not provide insight into their (probably large) budget and advertising spending, which is information that most companies would be interested in.
Read the guide. The full PDF can be downloaded here.
Why we care. Google’s efforts to make their users understand automation are probably an attempt to get more people not only to adopt the best practices it defines, but to keep those campaigns running long enough to see results. For many advertisers, this is simply not possible. If you have a large budget, try these strategies and best practices. As far as leaving your campaigns on autopilot or firing your agency, we’re not there yet.
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