Is Human-Free Automation the Future of PPC?

Google’s recent updates to their AdWords platform have raised some interesting questions about the future of PPC. First and foremost, will AI continue to advance quickly and effectively enough to remove PPC specialists from the process of paid search marketing altogether? Secondly, will the technology prove strong enough to actually achieve the goals businesses expect when they work with such a powerhouse as Google? Thirdly, could this lead to complacency and companies ultimately getting less ROI if they trust machines to do more than they should?

Google PPC

It’s a complex area, but Google is clearly one of the most important, visionary, and capable technological entities on the planet today: if anyone can make a more automated PPC process work, they can.

Google’s New Responsive Search Ads

The first of Google’s new AI-focused additions to AdWords is their responsive search ads. These are in beta and are unavailable to all who might want to try them at present; if this testing phase is a success, though, we can be sure to see it grow and evolve in years to come. Google’s new responsive search ads provide you with a more refined way to create ads. Instead of needing to construct ads by composing two lines of title copy and another for the description, you can simply write multiple options for each of these instead.

AdWords will then combine these to identify which work best automatically, without you or a PPC specialist having to spend valuable time doing the same task (possibly less effectively). You could do this yourself, of course. All you would have to do is write your different options, slice them up, and mix them up to identify the strongest combination. However, actually finding the catchiest ad text is one thing – picking those that have the power to drive traffic and boost conversions is another.

Sure, you could invest weeks or months into extensive A/B testing, but again, this is time and money that could be spent elsewhere.

More Opportunities to Attract Customers

Having multiple options for AdWords to choose from enhances your chances of appearing on results pages, as there are more potential combinations to trigger the ads. The responsive search ads can present as many as three headlines together (rather than just two), and up to two descriptions of no more than 90 characters (instead of a single 80-character one). Anyone searching with terms related to your products or services can trigger your ads in more varied ways, which boosts the potential to increase traffic. Still, the AI hasn’t entirely removed PPC specialists from the equation altogether – someone still needs to actually write the headlines and descriptions before they can be submitted.

PPC AdWords

This is a challenging task, and still demands that the author possess a strong understanding of their or their client’s needs. What tone of voice will appeal most to the target audience? What sort of language is most appropriate? Should there be different versions to suit different age brackets within your demographic? All pertinent questions that need to be considered before creating the ad copy. The increasing trend of automation allows PPC specialists to experiment with ideas and address client needs in diverse ways, without becoming bogged down in testing and routine analysis.

The additional focus on automation could help to make AdWords (and, as a result, PPC) more accessible to smaller or less-experienced businesses looking to dip their toe into paid search marketing. By entrusting a machine to put your ideas into practice, you can concentrate on developing an effective strategy and boosting your profile through other channels, such as social media, YouTube, news, and more.

Likewise, PPC professionals with years of experience will still always be desirable for businesses craving bigger audiences and improved ROI. Just because AI may continue to proliferate and prove ever-more helpful in the pursuit of better success doesn’t mean the best specialists’ knowledge will become worthless. If anything, these men and women will be better placed to advise businesses on getting the most out of automated processes, and how to handle disappointing results.

New Shopping Campaign Types

Another automated feature Google has introduced is in its Shopping campaigns. These will now help you increase revenue by optimizing your campaign based on your personal goals. According to Google’s example, if you were to define your conversion value as ‘revenue’, then the campaign would optimize over all channels to achieve the highest revenue according to your budget.

As a result, you can set your overriding value and let the software take the reins, driving more traffic and conversions without direct input from yourself. Channels that were available previously via separate display remarketing and Shopping campaigns would be combined into one, allowing for a much more streamlined management system.

Again, this comes down to saving time for other tasks and focusing your energies into where they’re needed. This fresh Shopping campaign type has been built to optimise all of your bids, target the most important audience demographics, and present your ads in the best places to make the most of your conversion value throughout your campaign.

PPC Campaign

Google summarizes the benefits nicely by saying “we’ll do the heavy lifting so you’ll be able to focus on more strategic initiatives”. As with the responsive search ads, the new automated Shopping campaign types will no doubt help to attract more novice users to the AdWords platform and help them discover the advantages PPC offers their business.

Google’s ongoing experimentation and innovation with automated marketing is nothing to be feared. In fact, it could go on to provide PPC specialists with more ways to attract clients, and their experience will remain invaluable in guiding companies to the most effective types of ads.