Google has published a Search Ads Automation Guide, which outlines some best practices for using automation to target customers.
For those marketers who are skeptical about automation in general, the handbook is a long time.
According to a recent Search Engine Land article, automation and suggestions are widely used, but satisfaction is low, with more than half of users having a bad experience.
This new guide aims to address users’ queries and concerns about automation, as well as to assuage most marketers’ fears about relinquishing control over their keywords and bids.
Best practice number one is to employ a broad match keyword approach.
Broad match keywords have historically resulted in wasted ad expenditure and unnecessary hits for advertisers.
There don’t appear to have been any new features or upgrades to wide match.
However, Google is seeking to assist customers in better understanding why they should utilize them and which bid strategy they believe would have the most impact on their account.
“Broad match keywords work best with Smart Bidding since it guarantees you only bid on searches that are predicted to perform well for you,” according to Google.
Best practice number two is to employ sensible bidding methods. Google claims that advancements in automation and machine intelligence will allow us to simplify campaign setup and management.
The tutorial goes into great depth about why using a smart bidding strategy with wide keywords is the best option.
However, professional advertisers understand that making too many account changes at once, particularly when transitioning to a hands-off automated strategy, can be damaging to performance.
In general, testing smart bidding tactics is a good idea, but be mindful of expenditure, conversion adjustments, and general advise on this issue from your Google person.
Best practice number three is to employ responsive search advertisements. Google recommends using “many headlines and descriptions to automatically generate and offer appropriate advertisements for every query based on auction-time signals.” This is a method we can support. Responsive search advertising allow for some automation, but only within the constraints you choose. You keep control of your advertising by writing numerous headlines and descriptions and letting Google to present the most relevant combination to your target demographic.
The tour guide.
All information is from Google’s “Unlock the Power of Search: Inside Search Automation with Google Ads” guide. The handbook is 28 pages lengthy and will most likely make excellent bedtime reading. The book includes a promising but generic case study from Tails.com (a pet food company whose main investor is Nestlé Purina Pet Care), but no details on their (presumably significant) budget and ad expenditure, which most firms would be interested in learning.
Read the guide. The full PDF can be downloaded here.
Why do we care? Google’s attempts to educate users on automation are most likely an attempt to persuade more people to not just embrace the best practices they describe, but also to run such campaigns long enough to see benefits. This is just not doable for many advertisers. Go ahead and test these methods and best practices if you have a significant budget. But we’re not there yet in terms of letting your campaigns run on autopilot or dismissing your agency.