How to use Google ad automation to maximise performance

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

6 min read   -  21st February, 2024

How to use Google ad automation to maximise performance

Google ad automation is a powerful way to use the most cutting edge automated tools in Google’s ad creation system. The aim of this automation is to maximise campaign performance at speed, taking some of the more time consuming elements out of ad management.

It involves leveraging automated features of the Google Ads platform to streamline your ad creation and management. There’s also potential for your campaigns to get even better results using automated management over manual management, with frequent tiny but powerful changes being made to the details of your campaign, multiple times a day, without your input.

The issue here is to do with control. How do you get the best from these opportunities without losing the control you’ve always had with manual management? Read on to find out more.

What is ad automation?

In a nutshell, ad automation is the act of using stand-alone and built-in AI tools to optimise campaigns without the need for constant manual intervention. Consider for a moment, how frequently traffic is coming to your site outside of office hours. What if you could have someone keeping an eye on things while you were away? This is one way of maintaining closer control over your campaigns 24/7.

Automation can be applied to many areas of your campaigns. From bidding strategies and ad creation, to CPC and performance monitoring, there are a lot of options to explore. Not only that, but you can control the level of automation in your campaigns, giving you the freedom to run some campaigns in a far more automated fashion, maintaining a higher level of manual management over others. The choice is yours at every step.

Automated bidding - how and when to use it

So, where’s the best place to start? With so many options available, it’s important that you make informed decisions on where to use AI in your campaigns, prioritising where it will have the most impact. 

Get your data ready
First, get some context to your automation. Any use of AI and machine learning within Google works off of your historical data, as much as any other influences. So provide as much useful data for the automation as possible. You’ll have a higher chance of success with an automated campaign when you start with a campaign that’s been collecting data for several months, compared to a brand new campaign.

Consider your campaign objectives
With so many options available to you, make sure you use automation in a way that is actually going to be useful for your campaign goals. So start any journey into the world of automation with a clear goal in mind: what can it do for your campaign specifically? For example, if your client is looking for a specific ROAS, use a Target ROAS bidding strategy.

Explore all your automated options
Take a look at what’s available within your automated options. This is a good starting point, see what jumps out as being immediately relevant to your latest campaign.

  • Enhanced cost per click (ECPC) - This feature automatically adjusts your manual CPC bids, with a goal of increasing your conversion rate.
  • Maximise Clicks -An automated approach to increasing your click-through-rate, using machine learning and historical data from your existing campaign.
  • Maximise Conversions - This adjusts bids across your campaign with the aim of bringing in more conversions.
  • Maximise Conversion Value- This is great for when you want quality over quantity when it comes to your conversions. It automatically adjusts your bids to maximise the total conversion value within your budget.
  • Target Cost Per Action ( tCPA)- You set the target cost per conversion goal, then this automated feature attempts to match it through adjusting your bids.
  • Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS)- This feature automates bids in order to achieve a target return on ad spend, using historical data and machine learning in its predictions.
  • Viewable CPM (vCPM)- The key to this automation is the number of impressions on each ad. This automated feature aims to optimise your bids to maximise the number of times your ads are seen by users.
  • Cost Per View (CPV)- Finally, this feature is designed with video in mind, adjusting bids to bring in the highest number of views of interactions with your video ad.

Automated ad creation

Alongside the detail of the previous list of automation features to help with ad bids, CTR and conversions, the ads themselves can be automated too. 

Responsive Search ads
This format of ad has come along as a replacement for the historical “expanded search ads” of the past. It’s a way of bringing the most relevant message to each user, through automation.

Instead of manually creating a handful of different ad variations for your campaign, you write multiple headlines and descriptions. Google then tests these variations over time, switching out different combinations to see which ones bring in the highest rate of interaction.

This is a fantastic tool to make use of, but be sure to optimise and analyse as you go, refining your ad copy based on performance.

Dynamic search ads
These intelligent ad options take a user’s search query that is related to titles and frequently used copy on your website, and create an ad based on that search term.

For example: Your brand sells quality gardening supplies. A user searching on Google types “plant containers”. A dynamic search ad for your brand is then shown to the user with the headline “Stylish Plant Containers''. When they click on the ad, they are directed to a page on your site featuring your range of planting products.

This is a new approach to ad creation that doesn’t use keywords, or traditional bid management. There’s a great opportunity to both present more relevant ad options to your customers, and discover previously overlooked search terms for your niche. 

Performance Max (PMax)
This is a new goal-based type of ad campaign from Google, which is designed to run alongside your keyword based Search campaigns. These ads are shown across all of Google’s mass of online advertising space, including Search, Display, Gmail, YouTube and more.

This ad type uses Smart Bidding (the awesome automated options listed above) to automate your bids. Not only that, it also makes use of other automated features including AI integrations within budget optimisation, attribution, audiences and more.

What are the benefits of using automated ads?

Increased efficiency
Automation can be a brilliant opportunity to streamline time-consuming tasks in ad creation and management, freeing up more time for you to focus on strategy and analysis.

Improved targeting
Bidding that is automated adjusts your bids across thousands of ads at a time, in real-time. This optimises for the most valuable clicks and conversions, depending on your campaign goals. The result? Improved targeting, so your ads get in front of the right eyes.

Enhanced ad relevance
Relevance is such a vital but elusive element of ad creation and optimisation. Using dynamic and responsive ads you can quickly explore ad options that adapt to user behaviour. This means you can potentially deliver more personalised content to users, making your ads more engaging and relevant.

Best practice for enhancing performance

Automation is not a short-hand for set-and-forget! The best way to make use of any automated feature is through a balance between automation and your personalised manual management.

Analyse everything
Be sure to check in regularly to analyse performance data. Identify trends and make informed adjustments to your automated settings.

Manual and automated optimisation, combined
You’re the expert, even more so than any automated tool, so lean in to what you can manually optimise in your campaign. Automation only works at its very best with your expert input. This also allows for more control.

Test and test again
Experimentation is the name of the game, especially wherever automation is concerned. Continuously play with these automated features to find the most effective balance of manual and automated management. It’ll be unique to each campaign, client and goal.

In summary 

Google Ad automation offers a wide range of tools to enhance campaign performance. It’s a tempting chance to take some of the leg-work out of campaign creation and management, giving you more time to focus on optimisation and analysis.

These automated features can help streamline the creation process for ad campaigns. It  can also lead to improved targeting and relevance, allowing for more constant changes and updates to your bids, placement and targeting.

But the best feature of any campaign is the human input of analysis and expertise. So we’d say the finest way to get results is through a balance of automation and manual management.

If you choose your automation settings based on specific campaign goals, analyse regularly, and manually check in and change things up to maintain control of any automation, you’ll be set to take the automated world of Google Ads by storm

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