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. 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.
Automation has, in recent years, become common marketing practice, and 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 over $6 billion by 2022.
But, just like manual, human PPC advertising, automation has its pitfalls, and 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, optimising your SEM has never been more important.
There has been an exponential increase of networks on which advertisements can be hosted, so managing paid ad campaigns across such a wide array of platforms is a difficult task – such difficulty can be helped by automation, as it 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. Though any PPC campaign, manual or automated, has the capacity to drive more consumers towards your organisation, 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 you better ROI.
You can’t use PPC automation to create your ad copy content, but you can use automation features to optimise 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 CTR. 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 analyse 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, and you must be monitoring these changes constantly 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 ROAS, 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 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 its 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 that 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 shows us yet another potential pitfall of automated PPC ads. While DKI can adjust and optimise 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 organisation.
Moreover, for all the impressive success of machine learning and AI, it cannot 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 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 in the way another human can, and so for all its efficiencies, there are enough pitfalls to PPC automation that one should consider its use carefully, and make sure it’s the right fit for your needs.