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Google Ad Automation Adoption Rates Rising, Marketers Unhappy With Recommendations

PPCsurvey.com recently released a new global PPC State Report 2022. It includes input from over 500 PPC professionals from around the world.The result

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PPCsurvey.com recently released a new global PPC State Report 2022. It includes input from over 500 PPC professionals from around the world.

The results cover search marketers’ biggest concerns, top priorities, spend data, automation insights, and a wealth of information about the most pressing trends in paid search.

Below is a breakdown of some of the biggest results.

High adoption rate of automation in Google Ads. Two eye-opening metrics in the survey:

  • 97% of respondents use responsive search ads.
  • 95% have implemented smart bidding (tCPA).

Most surprisingly, 78% of respondents used automatic recommendations.

The time has passed when advertisers were able to compete without adopting automation.

Automation adoption is high, but marketer satisfaction is mixed. The least satisfactory automation, according to respondents, were the automatically applied recommendations.

  • 83% of respondents reported that they were not satisfied with the “Automatically applied recommendations” feature.

Another surprise came from one of Google’s biggest pushes lately: the Recommendations tab. Sentiments toward recommendations were 63% negative, according to PPCsurvey.com.

Why so negative? Top complaints about this feature include a “one-size-fits-all approach” and “clear push for smart bidding, broad matching and over budgeting”.

Respondents were more satisfied with the other automation.

  • 51% of search marketers reported being satisfied with scripts.
  • 48% said they are satisfied with tROAS Smart Bidding.
  • 47% of respondents were satisfied with Target CPA Smart Bidding.

Most urgent priorities for PPC professionals. What are their clients’ top priorities? Some new concerns have emerged this year.

  • priority 1: Improve goal setting beyond traditional metrics (eg conversions and revenue). This includes considering margin, including new customers versus traditional customers and lifelong value (LTV), with 62% of respondents stating this was a top priority.
  • Priority #2: Tracking improvements, including concerns about no cookies, GA4 and server-side tags, came in second with 56%.

Unsatisfactory score for Optiscore. Google now requires Google partners to maintain a 70% Optiscore, PPCsurvey.com took a look at the metric’s satisfaction levels. Respondents could rate from 1-10 and the results were converted into a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure the number of participants they recommend.

Only 15% of respondents rate Optiscore high with 41% of respondents considering Optiscore high as critics of the account.

Using the NPS methodology, this would give a high Optiscore an overall negative NPS of -26, which is a highly undesirable score.

  • You can download the full report (PDF) here. It includes more information including global annual ad spend, ad platform adoption, time consuming activities, top challenges for agencies and much more.

Why do we care. While automation adoption is a big deal, satisfaction is a mixed bag. Some of the notable features include smart quotes and scripts, but the recommendations lead to high dissatisfaction.

Additionally, practitioners are not a fan of having a high Optiscore, considering it more critical than positive. If you rely on these scores and use these metrics as a measure of account health, you are going against the collective thinking of the PPC experts who participated in this survey.

Finally, advertisers are looking for better performance tracking. People outside of simple conversions are looking for more meaningful performance data while also discovering better tracking options as ad and analytics platforms change.


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About the author

Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that offers digital marketing and web development. He is the co-host of Marketing O’Clock and has been in the digital marketing field for nearly 20 years. You can also find Greg on Twitter (Tweet embed) or LinkedIn.

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