I often am asked what kind of automation tools and tricks I like to use when working on my paid search campaigns. I’m usually met with confusion when I say I don’t. Automation, like optimization, is best whenever there are large amounts of data coming in. PPC is a numbers game. If you are not spending tens of thousands of dollars per month, you don’t have data pouring in to sift through. This is the way I would describe the majority of paid search accounts. (It also helps that the algorithm still has yet to beat manual bidding!)
Are you a small business considering adding automation to your paid search accounts? Here are three reasons to stick to manual account management.
Its Targeted. Automation falls short in that it does not take into account consumer intent. Google has been phasing out Phrase matching. Exact match since has been less and less “exact”. If you are bidding on [st. pete beach], you will show for phrases like “st. pete beaches”, “beaches in st. pete”, “hotels in st. pete beach”, etc. You can start going down a rabbit hole you don’t want to be in! Avoid automated scripts that add or pause keywords your are bidding on or in the search query report. A human eye is best trained to look through search query report to mine for opportunities. They can spot search intent and intervene where necessary.
Its By Humans, For Humans. The new Responsive Search Ads remind me of the memes about forcing a bot to watch 1,000 hours of something. This is not how these ads actually work; you do write the ad copy. Letting the algorithm take said ad copy and rearrange it at will can be a quick recipe for disaster. Ensure that your keyword-rich ad copy matches up with the keywords at the ad group level. Write ads that will still make sense to human eyes as the algorithm tests. Be strategic when writing your call to action, as it might end up in the first headline or third!
Its Inexpensive. Automation software, like WordStream, Kenshoo and Marin, is not the correct solution for small businesses. They are expensive options and another tool you will have to learn. Your money and time is better served hiring a consultant that will manage it. A consultant will save you time by taking detailed notes and having familiarity with the account. When issues arise, like a spike CPC, they will have an idea of where to start.