PPC Automation: (Almost) Everything You Need To Know
Nate Burke, CEO and founder of digital marketing and ecommerce specialist firm Diginius, shares his thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of PPC automation.
In an increasingly digital age, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is seemingly the way to go. These advertisements drive warm leads to your organization, increase website traffic, and, in turn, boost your ROI. And now, advances in technology mean that PPC advertising can be automated, saving you time and energy while providing tangible results. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. While PPC automation does provide a host of benefits, there are areas where a human touch is key.
Automation has, in recent years, become common marketing practice. This is particularly true in the world of PPC advertising. PPC automation has the scope to save time while delivering increased success, and is widely regarded as the next frontier in digital marketing. The automated advertisement market, for instance, is rapidly expanding, set to be worth more than $6 billion in 2022.
However, just as manual, human PPC advertising has its pitfalls, so does automation. Thus, it’s important to know both the pros and cons of adopting an automated strategy. With this in mind, we’ll look at what PPC automation is, what it has to offer you, and what its drawbacks are so you’ll have all the information you need when it comes to considering taking an automated approach.
What is PPC automation?
In short, PPC automation is how we define the use of technology and machine learning to optimize your search engine marketing (SEM). Online search engines are being used more than ever before, and with 87% of smartphone owners using a search engine at least once a day, optimizing your SEM has never been more important.
There has been an exponential increase of networks on which advertisements can be hosted. Managing paid ad campaigns across such a wide array of platforms is a difficult task – a difficulty that can be helped by automation, as this saves marketers a great deal of time.
Benefits of PPC automation
Of course, PPC automation provides a host of benefits. For one, it can increase your website traffic. Although any PPC campaign, whether manual or automated, has the capacity to drive more consumers toward your organization, automated campaigns can target optimal audiences at a granular level, and can do this instantaneously. Generating more traffic, in turn, will generate more sales and more conversions, yielding a better ROI.
You can’t use PPC automation to create your ad copy content, but you can use automation features to optimize it. Dynamic ads, for example, have keyword insertion features, meaning you can automatically target a host of different keyword searches through one ad, saving you time and increasing your click-through rate. Dynamic keyword insertions also improve your scalability, as they increase the number of ads you can manage at any given time.
The speed at which automation can survey data is also a huge benefit. Humans simply cannot analyze and interpret this data at the same rate automated technology can. The incredible efficiency of automated PPC campaigns leaves digital marketers with more time to focus on strategy. PPC automation can also manage your keyword bids, saving you even more time and effort.
Drawbacks of PPC automation
For all these benefits, however, there are considerable drawbacks to implementing PPC automation. It’s not quite as simple as merely setting up campaigns, implementing rules, and letting Google Ads do all the work for you.
While automating your keyword bids can save a sizeable chunk of time, keywords change all the time. Thus you must constantly monitor these changes to ensure you’re not bidding on keywords that aren’t drawing in your target audience. Automating PPC campaigns can often mean complacently turning a blind eye to these changes, thereby missing opportunities to improve your return on ad spend, either by bidding on the wrong keywords, or by missing out on bidding for new ones.
Keyword bidding automation can also be a costly affair on account of Google’s enhanced cost-per-click (CPC) strategy. This strategy means that Google’s algorithms can increase the cost of your keyword bids as and when they see fit, based on predictions of how such keywords might perform. If you leave the work to Google and don’t stay on top of your keyword bids, you could experience huge and unprecedented increases in your CPC.
The complacency an automated campaign may foster can cause your ads further harm. Though they can automate several processes, automated campaigns require careful and constant monitoring, with manual adjustments, to ensure you’re getting the most out of them. While these automations can save a lot of time, they still require manual work to make them work optimally. A balance must be struck between manual and automated management.
Turning back to our earlier example of dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) shows us yet another potential pitfall of automated PPC ads. While DKI can adjust and optimize your ad copy, it cannot rewrite it with the fluency of a human. Thus your copy may not read well, turning potential consumers away from your organization.
Moreover, for all the impressive success of machine learning and AI, neither can replicate years of cultivated understanding. Human intuition goes a very long way in marketing, and your intimate understanding of the target audience you want to reach is something that can’t necessarily be recreated by an algorithm – and may, in fact, be hampered by it.
It is beyond doubt today that PPC automation has the scope to save time and increase results, but such technology is not flawless. An algorithm cannot understand a human consumer the way another human can. And so, for all its efficiencies, there are enough pitfalls to PPC automation that you should consider its use carefully and make sure it’s the right fit for your needs.
Nate Burke is CEO and founder of U.K.-based Diginius, a software and solutions firm focused on helping businesses achieve maximum impact from their online sales and marketing activities. An early e-commerce pioneer and entrepreneur, he launched his first Internet business in 1997 and is a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominee. For more information on PPC automation, visit the Diginius website.
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