Google Ads’ Changing Landscape: Focus on Automation and Machine Learning

1942641736 1 Google Ads’ Changing Landscape: Focus on Automation and Machine Learning Vizion Interactive

Intro

With Google’s emphasis on machine learning and automation, advertisers are getting a good look into where digital advertising is heading. As marketers we understand the importance of adapting to change. Though change can be hard to swallow, we have to be open to new features, products, and strategies to keep up and continue to drive great results. Over the past few years we have seen the shift to automation and machine learning across many Google Ads products. Numerous features have been tested and proven to increase performance. But that does not mean marketers can leave all the heavy lifting to Google. As marketers, we must continue to be strategic and give Google the best signals so automation and machine optimization can do their jobs. Let’s review some of the changes.

Responsive search ads use machine learning to optimize multiple ad versions in real time to deliver the most efficient combinations to the right user at the right time.

Google allows up to fifteen different headlines and up to four different descriptions to be considered when creating the ad combinations shown in the search results. This allows for more than 43,000 variations to keep the message fresh and ad engagement on the uptick.

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Image Source: Wordstream

Starting on June 30, advertisers will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads; they will develop these responsive search ads but, moving forward, existing ETAs can still run alongside RSAs.

Performance Max

Performance Max is Google’s newest product to use automation and machine learning in every aspect. The goal-based Performance Max allows advertisers to reach users across Search, Display, YouTube, Gmail, Discover, and Maps from a single campaign.

When setting up the campaign, advertisers select a goal, budget, and bidding before choosing a location. Then Performance Max uses images, videos, ad messages (headlines and descriptions), and audience signals provided by advertisers to match top-performing combinations based on which Google Ads channel your ad is appearing on. Audience signals are vital for Performance Max campaigns for automated targeting and to ensure your ads reach audiences that are most likely to convert. The system then does its magic (learning and optimizing) to locate new and existing customers wherever they may be within Google’s network.

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This new product in Google is the result of the way customers are behaving and purchasing online. According to Google, 70 percent of US shoppers report buying from a brand after seeing it on YouTube, and 91 percent of Google Shopping users say they took a shopping or project-related action immediately after discovering new products, services, or brands in their shopping feed results.

I have found campaigns fully driven by automation and machine learning are only as good as the signals you provide, so make sure you provide Google with strong optimized feeds, precise goals, and creative assets that communicate powerful value propositions and clear calls to action.

Google Ads is replacing Smart Shopping and local campaigns with Performance Max campaigns by the end of Q3 2022. Google will execute automatic updates by September, so now is the time to become familiar with and start testing these campaigns against your current ones to gauge the ultimate impact this change may have on performance. In the meantime, check out Google’s case study on Performance Max from MoneyMe on ThinkWithGoogle; it highlights a 20 percent reduction in overall CPA and a 22 percent increase in conversions that resulted in over $800K in revenue.

Automated Bidding Strategies

Automated bid strategies in Google Ads have been around for several years, but Google currently requires these strategies in new product offerings. It’s time to get on board and test which automated strategy works best for your campaigns. But first, it is imperative that you have conversion tracking set up properly. Google will be bidding based on your conversion goals and events; an inaccurate view will move your campaign in the wrong direction and waste your marketing dollars. Below is a quick review of conversion-driven automated bid strategies.

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  • Maximize Conversions is a fully automated bidding strategy that focuses on the number of conversions your campaign is delivering within a set daily budget. Google’s algorithm is going to bid as much as needed to deliver the most conversions possible. Campaign managers must keep a close eye on the CPCs in this strategy to make sure you are not overspending for your website visitors. If you see the costs start to soar, you can take advantage of the target CPA (cost per conversion) setting that allows you to put in a threshold for Google to optimize toward. Use this with caution; there is a special recipe unique to each campaign. If you bid too low, it may limit the number of impressions you can compete for in the auction.
  • Target CPA can be used as a separate bidding strategy or be added to maximized conversion bidding as mentioned above. Using this strategy, advertisers can set a target cost per action, and Google will then adjust the bids to deliver as many conversions as possible within that target cost. Again, keep in mind that you should not be too restrictive or Google will not have the ability to learn and optimize the campaign. In order to use this bidding strategy, the campaign also must have enough conversion volume for Google to make decisions. Google recommends fifteen conversions in thirty days; however, the more conversions for Google to learn from, the more efficient your campaign will be. If you have less potential conversion volume, we recommend starting with max conversion bidding and move to this when you have built up your signals.
  • Target ROAS is similar to target CPA. It stands for target return on ad spend. With this strategy, Google will optimize to total conversion value. You will need to have a conversion value associated with your conversion. This may be direct sales revenue or a value per lead.

Conclusion

As the customer’s journey to a purchase evolves, it is important to stay up-to-date on the new products Google has to offer. Advertisers may think they are losing some control when using these new features, but there are many techniques and strategies involved with effective campaign management. It is time to get on board and get excited about the already-seen increases around engagement and conversion volume with these new features and products in Google Ads.

At Vizion Interactive, we have the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm to get results and keep clients happy! Learn more about how our status as a Google Premier Partner, along with our PPC Management, Google Shopping Ads, Social Media Advertising, Amazon Advertising, and other Paid Media services can increase sales and boost your ROI. But don’t just take our word for it, check out what our clients have to say, along with our case studies.