With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology on the rise, automation isn't just in the near future. It's happening right now and it's the new norm.
There is a lot of confusing language out there on this topic. Our goal is not to confuse. Instead, we want to help you better understand automation, its challenges and how it can be harnessed to drive real profits for your business.
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What Is Automation?
Nowhere is automation more important than with Google Ads campaigns. As advertisers, we know that it can be tedious to monitor a paid search campaign, even more so to monitor multiple campaigns across multiple accounts.
That is why it's critical for advertisers to take advantage of automation features in Google Ads. Google is pushing its agency partners to utilize more of these features, such as automated bidding, in an attempt to drive real efficiency and real profits.
So, how does automation work in Google Ads?
- When a user clicks on an ad in the search results, they are then directed to a landing page where an "action" takes place through a trackable event, such as a click, form submission, click-to-call or click-to-chat.
- The data from this "action" is then looped back to Google's backend with further information on what led to this action, such as the keywords used and the specific ad copy. (Keep in mind, as advertisers we only see a portion of this data at the campaign level.)
- Through automation and machine learning technology, this data continuously feeds back into Google's system, telling it to optimize for ads that are more likely to receive a click and/or "conversion."
Google's automation features are designed to make your campaigns more efficient, thus driving real profits for your business. However, it's important to note, on its own, Google's automation is missing key data from your business to make it fully profitable. This is not a "set it and forget it" type situation. But, more on that later.
Why Does It Matter?
Google is pushing advertisers towards using automation because the company's overall goal is to create a better user experience. This is achieved by delivering the right information to the right user at the right time, or what we in the industry call performance marketing.
Automation helps to decrease your cost-per-click (CPC) by delivering the most relevant answer to a user's search query. Google is working on improving this further by defining what it calls "moments."
Here's an example. Let's say that a user is searching for "restaurants near me." Google will try to identify the user's intent behind that search phrase. Are they just doing research for a future visit? Or are they looking to eat right at that moment? If the intent is the latter, the search engine will deliver results that meet the user's immediate need for action, generating real profits for the business.
The same is true for legal, which is Google's most competitive and expensive category in search. Is the intent behind a user's search for "car accident lawyer" in the research stage? Or are they actually looking to hire an attorney? Given how expensive the legal category is, advertisers want to optimize for clicks that are more likely to result in a case for the firm.
It's true that customers can come from any stage in the buyer's journey. But most businesses don't have an unlimited budget to spend on people who aren't ready to make a purchase. While automation is beneficial to advertisers and businesses as a whole, it's also beneficial to the user because this leads to search results that are more relevant to their query.
The biggest challenge advertisers face is being able to access this wealth of data. Unintentionally (and perhaps a little intentionally), Google has created a black box that leaves advertisers blind and struggling to improve their ad campaigns. Advertisers, unfortunately, have a very limited view into this data in the Google Ads platform and are unable to directly identify specific ads or search terms used by customers.
But this relationship goes both ways. Just as Google has a black box that advertisers can't see into, advertisers have their own black box that Google can't see into. That black box is knowing what clicks and "actions" turn into actual customers, creating a huge gap where neither party wins.
Unfortunately, this gap can create expensive mistakes for advertisers.
Let's revisit that example in the legal category again. That same user searching for "car accident lawyer" clicks on the ad and calls the firm. In Google's eyes, this is a "conversion." But what if that "conversion" was really just a sales representative looking to contact the firm? That "conversion" wouldn't be identified as a true conversion, meaning a new customer for the business.
The purpose of automation is to give advertisers the key to improving campaign efficiency, thus driving real profits. In order to unlock this level of success, everything needs to be aligned, meaning advertisers need to have insight into the keywords and ad copy that convert to high-quality customers and vice versa.
The Future of Automation
So how do we solve this problem? How do we tell Google to separate out the clicks that are less important from the clicks that turn into actual customers, thus impacting real profits and making spending more efficient?
The success of businesses today depends on this information being delivered back to Google Ads through automation and machine learning technology. After all, machine learning works faster and better with more data.
You need a simple, yet sophisticated solution that feeds Google data on what ads generated the best customers, which will then inform Google on the overall campaign performance, thus closing the gap between both parties.
Luckily for you, we have a solution to solve your digital marketing problems.
SherloQ™, powered by IBM Watson, is a world-class digital advertising technology platform that you control right in the palm of your hand. SherloQ™ delivers real-time automation in Google Ads by telling it which ads are profitable and result in actual customers for the business. The app closes the gap between Google and your business, resulting in real profits.