Automation and Testing To Boost Campaign Performance
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2021 PPC Trends: Automation & Testing

2021 PPC Trends: Automation & Testing

As Google continues to push the throttle to improve user search experiences on all of their platforms, you can expect things to change! The most notable changes PPC professionals are currently facing have a lot more to do with changing how they work and the way they develop a campaign strategy.

With Machine Learning’s arrival, Google will slowly start making Google Ads a fully automated system, and thus disrupting search engine marketing for PPC individuals. In this blog, you will get a closer look at how to view the PPC craft and solutions that will keep you from getting stuck as these new changes are rolled out from Google.

Google Automation Is Coming

In the last six months, Google took very random actions in how to use keywords, and write ads on their platform. There is plenty of chatter on the web about some of these updates, such as:

  1. Reducing User Search Term Data
  2. Ending of Search Text Ads
  3. Ending Modified Broad Match Types

These moves signal that Google is slowly rolling out automation. Even in the SEO world, websites now are getting Natural Language Processing vectoring to read content in a more meaningful way and return closely related searches but with totally different string patterns without having to “optimize” directly. It’s mind-blowing and scary because, once again, all Digital Marketers are getting disrupted in their jobs. To adjust to Google’s automation, marketers need to see the bigger picture of marketing and evolve. Let’s go over some of these trends:

Back To The Basics, Getting Back To Testing, But First Some Context

Testing Ad Concepts rather than just testing Ad Copy alone will become one of the driving principles PPC specialists will have to put at the forefront of their day-to-day workflows. In the past, these elements of Google Ads were always there, but for the sake of getting things done, most stick to manually building ads and focusing on performance from a keyword standpoint only.

PPC account optimization thrives on account structure that builds on testing, but it’s at one silo at a time; the testing format only maximizes what gets spent on keywords that perform over time. But this is going to be significantly flawed as Google starts to remove meta-data from their advertising platform. With Google’s upgraded Big Bert algorithm, which can now analyze sentences in two directions, predictions for what search strings should pair with the given content. With this new technology, Google can now figure out what keywords should trigger your ads, and therefore creating an account structure to minimize the cost will become a thing of the past.

What this means is that focusing alone on keywords to build PPC accounts won’t be the most significant part of a PPC specialist workflow in the future. Structuring Accounts, SKAGs, Will Head To Oblivion Soon! Google’s Big Bert is so powerful in interpreting meaning in words; you can see why Google is confident to tell PPC experts to go to automated bidding and build the training with their ML models.

How To Improve a PPC Account Performance Under an Automated Google Ads Era

Getting back to marketing basics will be required among all pay-per-click professionals, which means a back-to-testing mentality. With the reduction of tedious data points of search volume and Google’s Big Bert, Google will eventually take away bidding on specific terms and give you keyword themes in their Ad Planner soon.

In the interim, you will want to focus on testing concepts across your campaigns, which means concentrating on the user. This type of workflow is very different and data-driven only. The results that come back will help engineer and extract information about specific keywords and ultimately lead marketers to segmenting the traffic to reduce the noise and hone in on what works.

Testing Ad Concepts vs. Testing Ad Copy

Traditionally most advertisers will go into an ad group and adjust different ads with two to three ads running to change the cop from a keyword stance. With the availability of metadata, PPCspecialists could pull this off. However, with coming automation, you won’t have direct access to user search-term data and thus cannot tactfully adjust performance on keywords alone. Ultimately segmenting on micro-data points harms the end-user with poor relevancy and fails to match their intent. Most of the time, if marketers would write the ads were written better, then the user experience would increase.

What will need to change is the CPC . professionals will need to get back to the Four P’s of marketing to develop messaging that will help an ad convert. As mentioned above, with upgraded Natural Language Processing bi-directional prediction, Google will know what user intent is and can leverage this information to ensure they get the content they were looking for to make decisions.

Testing Ad Concepts will give you more information about your end-user and enable you to measure your ads more systematically. The idea is that we are testing concepts for the brand, and we are testing it across all campaigns. Doing this takes you back to focusing on the brand messaging to build ideas that will be enticing.

Example Ad Concepts

  1. Brand – shout out clear and strong messages
    1. Unique selling points
    2. What your brand does differently
  2. Value – discuss price relativity within the ads
    1. affordable, cheap
    2. low cost, save on
  3. Quality – discuss more in-depth unique selling points
    1. High Quality
    2. Made in the U.S.A.
    3. Money-Back Guarantee
  4. Product Specific – convey specific information about what makes the product unique
    1. Solves a different problem
  5. Testimonials – not used as much, works well; users respond to this quite well
    1. Getting reviews in the S.E.R.P.
  6. Sales – these are always going to work well in some way, but you can segment deeper
    1. Testing different promotions, seasonality, etc.
  7. Question vs. No Question – do users respond to question or statement ad copy
    1. Is Your Car Not Working, Need a Ride, Do It With Lyft? – develops emotion
    2. 24-hour emergency plumbing service with DirecAC123 – take action now

You can apply these ad concepts through labeling inside your Google Ads account. As mentioned, it will be quite sometime before Google switches to default smart bidding account setup; who knows if Google will ever do that. But with the degradation of specific keyword performance, you will be forced to focus on this type of account segmentation and spend more time developing marketing speak and ads copy that works.

When a campaign or ad group underperforms most of the time, PPC specialists won’t precisely explain why or why an ad didn’t perform well. Building ad concepts across all your campaigns will undoubtedly help you extract more meaning about your overall performance. Having fewer keyword data to research, you will have more time to build your Google Ads and implement labeling across the campaigns. This new CPC . culture will have you spending more time conducting tests and developing helpful information for other account optimization workflows, like developing negative keywords to optimize account budget performance.

Benefits of Testing With Labels Inside of Google Ads, Extracting Hidden Information

After implementing ad concepts, the real fun begins when you start to report on your campaign performance.

Steps To Produce a Labeled Report

Inside of Google Ads, to navigate to this report, follow these steps.

  1. “Reporting,” select “Predefined Reports”,
  2. Then select “Labels – Ads.”

This predefined report and applying the filters will give you a broad overview of what ad copy is performing the strongest. What we are reporting on is “ad engagement”. Engagement will become the main focus for all PPC specialists will report on as Google will drive the triggering of ads for the keywords that offer the best match and most engagement. So these reports will be the crucial factor in how you improve your campaigns over time.

Testing Ad Concept Reporting, Developing Context From Your Ads

The real power in having the labeling in the reporting can filter different campaign concepts instead of just keywords or other metrics alone. So, for example, imagine a branded ad concept versus a non-branded ad concept; people will behave differently if they are interested in your brand versus someone who is still making up their mind. So imagine building your account structure to measure more closely at that level of granularity instead of keywords alone.

If you are following this closely, you will realize that building an account structure now will be more about segmenting by labeling your ads in an organized manner so you can build meaningful reporting. Labeling your campaigns will require much more thought and a different approach to initial account setup.

A perfect example of bringing Ad Concepts together to be more impactful is examining a “Branded” segmented filter in this predefined reporting. In this example, you can see the highest performance came from an Ad Labeled “Ad-Test:: Competitor Specific” messaging. The C.T.R. was the greatest of all ad concepts! Having information to analyze is where you can start to find additional and more hidden information. As mentioned above, start investigating or asking questions in your next account review call with your client. The dialogue created on such calls will give you added insight and thus a progression for continued performance month-over-month.

By focusing on the filtering of your labels and test, you can improve KPIs such as:

  1. C.T.R.
  2. Conversion
  3. Interaction Rate

One of the most significant takeaways is that this type of reporting is that the engagement can signal to other marketing channels what to focus on in content development. In a world of engagement-focused marketing work, the data derived from workflows will become K.I.N.G.!

Testing Ads Is The Future, Start Applying Concepts To Your Campaigns Now!

In closing, the year 2021 is halfway complete. As you start to feel the heat from Google in loss of data on almost 30% to 40% of your keywords, you will begin to lose the granular ability to optimize performance. The old ways of building performance in a PPC role are dying and will change.

With Google’s Bi-Directional Algorithms working in full swing now, PPC’s strategy will shift to boosting performance by focusing on traditional marketing methods like audience segmentation through testing. With Google, you can test ad concepts across keywords to get better performance from your ads. As mentioned in this article, this is important because of the reduced transparency, and you can no longer rely on the metadata of a keyword to drive results for your client.

Instead, you will increase your efforts on existing fruit, such as learning more about your client’s business, learning about their unique selling points, and discovering promotions to build concepts that force or extract specific behavior by engaging prospects more. The great thing about switching over to a testing format this year and onward is that your reporting will be much more meaningful, and with evident ad performance, this will help you retain your clients.