By now you might have seen a thousand articles telling you why you need to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) for PPC.
I should know. I’ve written a good few of these articles myself, preaching the benefits for businesses of all sizes. If you’re unfamiliar with them, let me remind you that AI is:
- Fast, able to save you time and give you more hours to get your work done.
- Smart, able to process a lot of data and interpret the results before you’ve even got them loaded.
- Able to work 24/7, giving you around the clock monitoring of your campaigns.
This is all well and good, but just using AI isn’t the end goal. There’s a difference between simply using something and doing it correctly.
It’s like convincing someone to finally use Facebook for their plumbing business, but all they post about is what meal they’re having for dinner each day. I’ll be surprised if that’s able to bring the business in.
Get the picture?
So while using AI is essential for PPC, simply having it doesn’t mean you’re taking advantage of the best AI has to offer. And this is a damn shame. If you’re putting the time and investment into AI, you need to make sure that you’re finding the right solutions for your company.
To help, we’ve outlined 4 common ways you might not be utilizing AI properly – and how to change it.
1. Not using AI in the right areas
The first thing we need to cover what part of your campaigns you’re actually using AI for. This one is difficult because there’s no straightforward and easy answer. It all depends on your business.
Take a look at your current management process. Find out where most of your time is being wasted and then find the AI tools that solve this problem for you.
For example, if most of your time is spent on interpreting data, you need a way to do this faster. If it’s copy and pasting data into reports, you need an automatic reporting tool. If it’s adjusting budgets, you need an automated rule to do this.
Now, be prepared that although advertising platforms like Google will have internal AI tools, it’s not your only option.
In fact, I’ve argued before that AI for PPC is only useful if you use external tools. It was a bold claim but backed up by the fact external tools are just smarter, faster and ahead of the game.
You’ve just got to find the right AI that actually works for your company.
2. Using inefficient PPC scripts
Before I get started on this one, rest assured I’m not about to mindlessly insult PPC scripts. I’m very much in favor of them. When they work, they’re a brilliant way to save time and give you hands-free management.
Ah, hands-free campaign management. That’s the sweet stuff I like to hear.
PPC scripts are pieces of code you can copy into your account to automatically run certain jobs for you, like being able to change your bidding depending on the weather in a particular area.
That’s a game-changer for those whose business relies on the weather, like an outdoor crazy golf course or ice-cream parlor.
They’re also needed for when Google inevitably pushes out another update and your script no longer works. Yeah, it’s all fun and games in the PPC script world.
By all means, use PPC scripts as part of your AI solution. But make sure that they’re adapted to your company and aren’t wiped out by every tiny Google Ads update.
If you don’t have the on-team skills to edit the code, maybe you need to try tools that can do it all for you. Or, perhaps even consider using a PPC management agency who have the skills and resources to control it.
There’s no right choice for everyone. It’s all about figuring out yours.
3. You’re overcomplicating it
Data is the sweet nectar needed to correctly manage and optimize your campaigns. Without it, you may as well be trying to build a wall by throwing bricks in the dark.
But there is such a thing as too much data.
AI is amazing at gathering and interpreting data for you.
If you go into data overload, you’ll be hit with so many choices and options to consider that it can cripple you. Instead of using AI to easily solve one problem, you’ve made it so complicated that it creates 5 more.
As this article on keyword research pointed out, the sheer amount of data you can get from AI keyword generating tools can set you back. They can supply potentially billions of keywords – which are never going to be used.
You’ll be spoilt for choice and will have to dedicate more time deciding between things that weren’t even an option before.
If AI is making things more complicated then you need to cut back.
4. You’re too reliant on AI
With AI capabilities continually growing, there can be a temptation to just let it mindlessly run in the background. But you need to see the bigger picture. It’s no use mindlessly accepting every change that AI sends your way.
The curious part of you needs to ask why. Why do certain ads consistently perform better? What is it they do that the others don’t? Why do certain timeframes decrease your conversions?
As this article on Google Ads management pointed out:
“Google Ads management is all about being reactive: take onboard the changes and latest trends and adapt to them.”
In order to take onboard the changes, you need to understand why it happens. And no AI is going to do that for you.
You can only make the best use of AI if you use it alongside your work, not to replace it.
Find the right AI solution for your business
If you want to make the best use of AI, you need to find the right tools for your processes.
Take a look at your current roadblocks and time-sinks. Find tools designed to help explicitly with this. Trial what works and see how much time it saves. Ensure it’s not creating more problems than it solves. Then use this time and data to better your strategies and campaigns. Don’t just rely on AI to fix everything for you.
The bottom line? AI and humans have to work together. Finding this balance is the key to your success.
What you need to know from Google Marketing Live
Here’s everything marketers and advertisers need to know from yesterday’s Google Marketing Live 2022.
Performance Max upgrades. Google is helping more advertisers try their most automated campaign type, Performance Max. These enhancements include:
- In-store goals
- Burst campaigns for seasonal foot traffic
- ‘Experiment tools’ to help test potential lift
- More insights
- Support for Search 360 and the Google Ads app
- Optimization score recommendations
- Read more: 6 updates coming to Google Performance Max campaigns
Shorts are limited to one minute in length and advertisers may want to tighten up and hone in creative, given the timeframe. This will be rolling out now to advertisers globally, so make sure to measure results and annotate accordingly.
Swipable shopping ads in search. A big, bold new ad display pairs organic shopping results with shopping ads for a highly visual shopping experience. This is for apparel brands only and will be available through Search and Performance Max campaigns.
Product feeds for a shoppable YouTube experience. Later this year, advertisers will have the ability to connect product feeds to campaigns to create shoppable video ads on YouTube Shorts. Google said they have been experimenting with ads in YouTube Shorts since last year and are now slowing rolling out to advertisers across the globe.
Google said this is a “key step on our road to developing a long-term Shorts monetization solution for our creators, which we’ll share more about soon.” Beyond that, no additional context on this interesting marriage of the feed and Shorts was provided.
Coming soon to search results: 3D models of products. According to Google, “Augmented reality (AR) on cameras gets us close, and shoppers are ready for it. More than 90% of Americans currently use, or would consider using, AR for shopping.”
Merchants will “soon” have the ability to have 3D models of their products appear directly within the search engine results pages. No additional details on the program have been released.
Insights page updates. The Insights page is getting a major overhaul, with a focus on attribution and first-party data.
A new attribution section will show advertisers a better view of what drove conversions within accounts.
This will also recommend a better attribution model if Google detects it can provide a better view on conversions.
The last new insight is the support of first-party data. The insights page will help advertisers view which customer lists are driving performance for campaigns – with privacy at the forefront.
According to Google, new budget insights may help to identify opportunities to optimize ad spends. This feature will show how spend is pacing against performance.
The implementation and rollout will be interesting to observe, but much like Google’s recommendations, this should only be one piece of the decision-making puzzle.
Loyalty program ads integration. Advertisers using Performance Max along with a product feed will be able to drive more loyalty sign-ups across YouTube, Display, Search, Discover, Gmail and Maps, Google announced.
While this sounds interesting on paper, there will be a lot to unpack in the execution of this program. Advertisers with shopping feeds generally look to drive revenue from ads, not sign-ups.
The details are fuzzy at this point, but Google said more updates are coming in the second half of 2022. This is slated for the U.S. only.
Video ads in Discover
A big addition for video advertisers is the announcement of video ads showing directly in Discover. This is a great fit as Discover currently features many videos in the feed currently.
Discover ads work well with bold, eye catching images currently and video should be no different.
Google Audiences for Connected TVs. Advertisers will soon be able to use connected TV campaigns to target viewers across YouTube and “most” other connected TV apps. This exciting new development will bring affinity, in-market, and demographic audience segments to connected TVs.
The affinity audiences are available in a global beta. The in-marketing and demographic audiences will be in beta for global advertisers at the end of Q2.
Checkout on Merchant. Google will be streamlining checkouts for customers that “have decided what they want.”
With this implementation customers won’t need to go through so many screens/pages in order to checkout and will instead be sent directly to the existing buy-flow from the merchant – directly from the product listing. According to Google, Merchants will “own the customer” as the transaction happens directly in their flow.
While an interesting concept, this direct purchase may see a decline in AOV (average order value) as users won’t browse the site and will instead click the product listing and directly purchase. This is currently a closed pilot and Google is working to expand and move towards general availability in the coming months.
Asset Library availability for all advertisers
A nice new feature announced will help advertisers leverage current ads and assets outside of Google. According to Google it will be a “one-stop-shop” for asset collaboration and storage for images and video content.
These assets can be accessed once imported from Discovery, App and Performance Max campaigns with plans for YouTube and shopping “coming soon.”
YouTube video creation in 60 seconds
No video ads? No problem. From within the Asset Library, Google announced that advertisers can create a video ad and publish to YouTube in as little as 60 seconds. This can be done with as few as 5 images, logos and text assets with the outcome being “an effective ad”.
Advertisers that have seen the auto-generated Performance Max campaigns haven’t been overly pleased with videos that have been created, so make sure to proof the output if you use this feature.
Enhanced Conversions for additional channels
A new Enhanced Conversions for Leads is a privacy safe connection between leads and funnel progression by way of offline conversion imports. A new Lead Funnel report will be coming to Google Ads later in the year to help visualize lead progression.
A beta of Enhanced Conversions for website conversions will be opening for Search Ads 360 and if you use 3rd parties to manage campaigns like Tealium, Segment, mParticle and Adobe may already feature Enhanced Conversions.
Why we care. Some of the items released (e.g., Checkout on Merchant and swipeable shopping ads) may have a major impact on advertisers, while other features (like the Performance Max experiment tools and Shorts expansion) may not.
Like every year, with many of the new features the devil will be in the details but the additional insights, and targeting should shake out to be an upgrade for advertisers across the globe.
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