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Automation of the least preferred part of the PPC

Automation of the least preferred part of the PPC

Whether you love it or hate it, PPC is a part of digital marketing that isn't going away any time soon. I've be

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Whether you love it or hate it, PPC is a part of digital marketing that isn’t going away any time soon. I’ve been working at PPC for over 10 years and have seen everything. ETA’s, RSA’s, the cost of touch? (Looking at you, Apple), RIP modifiers, and attribution to name a few recent changes.

Earlier this month, we asked you “What’s your least favorite part of PPC?”

We’ve received an overwhelming number of answers ranging from everything from Google support to agencies (no offense committed) to customers with unrealistic expectations. But one answer stuck: Google automation.

Let’s dive in.

Automation can be your best friend or a nightmare. Learning how to navigate and find a balance between machine learning and manual management has been on the minds of a lot of marketers lately. (Did you give a keynote speech to Brad Geddes on day two of SMX Advanced?)

this is what I said:

  • “Google’s move toward artificial intelligence and machine learning ultimately takes decision-making and control away from advertisers. While it might make sense for some advertisers to have more automation, for others with the desire, knowledge, and resources, there is a strong case To continue manual coordination and interference with accounts. Studies we’ve already done have shown less favorable results with match type updates and the introduction of RSAs. I really feel as though these initiatives on Google’s part are being driven by its agenda to increase advertiser spending.”
  • “Continuous control over what we do is taken away through automation.”
  • “Everything is now more automated, broad targeting, less insight into your data and less overall control over your campaigns.”
  • “A gradual loss of control over targeting over the years. Search engines make changes that clearly hurt performance but sell them to advertisers as ‘upgrades’.
  • “Give Google all control with smart bidding, dynamic ads, and lack of reporting while seeing prices go up year after year!”
  • “Google forces automation to those of us who don’t want it.”
  • “My biggest disappointment is the constant pressure to relinquish performance control to platforms by adding automation features and scaling our targeting.
  • “I believe in algorithms that I believe in. But the idea that we should start new campaigns with broad match keywords, on an automated bid strategy, with ad copy made up of a bot and only trust that it will work is ridiculous and obviously wrong based on the limited quantity From the search term data we provide Get. It makes it really hard to trust anything Google puts out, and especially hard to trust reps who are clearly rewarded based on acceptance rates for automation features. Our job is to feed the system data, making sure it’s the right data , and then from there allowing the algorithms to detect an additional value that we can’t see, based on what we say is useful to us.”
  • “Auto Bidding is all or nothing – I want to turn off specific targeting and use Auto Bidding at the same time. But I can’t and haven’t learned about SA360 when the targeting option is doing really poorly on my account. I know when that is, and I will be able to Turn off the hardware or set day/daw period targeting, and have it work from there instead of having to switch to manual bidding.”
  • “These days, my least favorite part of PPC is forced automation. It’s designed for high volume accounts, especially e-commerce, and doesn’t work the same way for low conversion volume accounts. It’s really frustrating to have fewer and fewer options. To successfully manage these types of accounts The low access to data that is part of the automation is also frustrating Platforms show us less and expect us to “only trust machine learning.” Well, I’ve seen query reports (with data we can still see! ) and I don’t trust machine learning much based on what I see there.”
  • “The constant push towards automation by Google and Bing reps. I see, their job is to increase Google and Microsoft revenue. We’ve used automated bidding, and it works with some products…until it starts eating itself and we have to go back to manual bidding to fix performance. “.
  • “Google enforces automation on every account. Some are good, but others don’t work in certain circumstances and it’s clearly a source of money for them.”
  • “The constant drive to drive automated bidding. I only work with local businesses for a lead client and the recommendations are rarely relevant. Connected to that, they bypass the agency to talk to the client who doesn’t understand, so they constantly undermine me.”

The Google the support. Many of the answers we received called Google Support specifically as deficient when it comes to providing assistance. As hard as they may try, they miss the mark most of the time.

  • “Google representatives who only ask you to apply everything from the Recommendations tab and do not provide any additional statistics or instructions. You don’t need a call to tell us to take a look at the Recommendations tab and I will apply the appropriate recommendations, not just to improve the nonsensical calculation result.”
  • “Google’s lack of transparency and their account managers are stalking me to increase daily budgets!”
  • “My least favorite part of PPC are Google reps who keep calling you even in the middle of the night. Although there are times when their advice makes sense but most of the time it will drain your budget. They are too annoying to be honest. I get reasonable recommendations on Facebook groups more than its representatives.
  • “Constant calls from Google representatives offer solutions that always make my campaign performance worse. Calls and emails are nonstop. It’s border harassment, and while in Europe I can usually take advantage of privacy laws to stop this kind of thing, Google seems to be above those The laws persist regardless, even when I told them to stop.”
  • “Google Ads Representatives. Bad Advice.”
  • “Google representatives are harassing the implementation of automatic recommendations.”
  • “Dealing with Google representatives who are more interested in increasing Google’s revenue than your results.”

We’re starting to see the trend here.

But Google is not the only culprit when it comes to paid advertising. Facebook and Microsoft Make an engraving too.

  • “Facebook ads are getting frustratingly difficult to perform with so many issues, policies, and pathetically useless chat support.”
  • “The fact that we have very little say about its future. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, et al. are kind of doing what they want with so many changes coming into the pipeline that seem more like ways for these companies to make more money by taking the reins out of our hands.”
  • “Weird changes Facebook has made. Explaining the ever-changing landscape of potential customers who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that online advertising is not the cheap alternative.”
  • “The ads I’ve played a million times before are suddenly not approved by Facebook and are being disapproved. I appeal and bring them back, but seriously, what happened?”
  • “Changes to interfaces Oftentimes, Google manipulates match types and Facebook changes its targeting options making it impossible to develop long-term approaches.”

What about clients? Agencies unite when it comes to managing client expectations.

  • “Explain to every customer how Google works when it comes to ‘Learning Mode’ – every customer seems very concerned about weekly performance when everyone knows that this is not a really good measure of performance especially when making big changes to the account. And explaining the Learning Mode is like wasting time for customers. They don’t understand no matter how you overlook it.”
  • Customers who don’t understand how marketing works. Request to turn on “brand awareness” in Google search, and run a remarketing campaign with the “maximum impressions” type of reach strategy.
  • “Small budgets! Often times, the smaller the budget, the more dollars are worth to the client, which in turn means the need for results that are rarely achievable. Especially for industries with high search CPCs… $500 doesn’t go away, even if $500 is a lot of money for a small business. Options end up feeling like (1) miracles, (2) disappointment, or (3) rejection of small budget possibilities. “
  • “the customer.” (very funny)
  • “I work for an agency. My least favorite part about PPC is telling clients they can’t get 100 HVAC clients on a $2000 monthly budget when the weather is good. They can complain all day and that won’t change the fact that they are asking for a miracle and cheap.” Sorry not sorry.”
  • “Most of my clients are great, but the constant flow of emails/calls is stressful and takes a lot of time away from the work I really love to do – testing and optimizing.”

More less favourites. While these didn’t quite fit into any category, we thought they deserved an honorable mention.

  • “A lack of options for B2B targeting. This is true across all platforms except LinkedIn. There are countless niche targeting options for B2C, and a few for B2B – and those that apply to B2B are very generic and don’t perform well. Also, match rates for an audience First party is horrible – 10-15% in some cases. So using first party data isn’t really a solution either.”
  • “Gathering data together to determine how ads are performing and making adjustments. I have yet to find a platform that is intuitive or easy to use. The second least preferred (related) issue is conversion tracking, which also seems more complex than it needs to be.”
  • “My least favorite part about PPC is the attribution. Everyone who works in PPC has or has had to prove the value of what we do and it has become difficult to do so without being able to complete the attribution of our work to the overall goals.”
  • “There are many things but my least favorite part is the human factor from customers to developers. Instead, it is conversion tracking because it is neither GTM compliant nor Google Approval Mode with GDPR in their current form.”
  • ‘simply not cost-effective.’
  • “Trying to explain to customers that pay-per-click is a multi-channel approach. PPC campaigns contribute to online sales, but also offline sales.”
  • “Theft by bots and competitors.”

Why do we care. It’s good to know that we’re not alone when we’re feeling down with our jobs. Whether we work for agencies or internal marketing teams, we all face similar issues and concerns. It’s important in marketing (now more than ever) to adapt to changes, but that doesn’t make it any less crazy.


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About the author

Nicole Farley is an editor at Search Engine Land covering all things PPC. In addition to being a Marine Corps veteran, she has an extensive background in digital marketing, an MBA, and a penchant for true crime, podcasts, travel, and snacks.

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