Automation can be a game-changer. While having manual bids on pay per click campaigns can be fun and strategic, there is always something freeing about having a marketing strategy that is automated.
Manual bidding on PPC account campaigns can offer more conversions and lower rates if done correctly, however, Google recommends automation. You can use automated bidding in certain ad groups and manual bidding in others. Ultimately, ad spend will come down to the PPC account and the campaign budget.
When using an automated bidding strategy like ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) or Target CPA (Cost per Action), you will not only save time but get better insights than making adjustments yourself. Unfortunately, if you have the mindset of set-it-and-forget-it you might end up overspending and not being profitable.
We dive deeper into the pros and cons of animation, giving you the ability to form your opinion on what works for your strategy and campaign.
Automation or Not?
Automating your pay-per-click or PPC campaigns sounds like a great idea, you can set it up and forget about it. However, when you are setting up your campaigns, you will need to implement some rules for the algorithms to follow.
Unfortunately, you can not sit back and let Google Ads do its thing. There is more that the PPC campaign managers have to do and more work that goes beyond the initial setup. One of the main starts to a PPC campaign is the bidding strategies, which could be automated or manual bidding.
Which is Better?
Depending on who you speak with, this can be a challenging question. It is not cut and dry; yes or no, but depending on the campaign elements and personal choice. Overall, automated bidding is a solution that delivers a versatile ROI (Return on Investment) on the ad platform. In most cases, manual bidding is your best bet, as it offers the most control over your ad spend through adjusting bids in your search ads in real-time.
Search Engine Land breaks down Google’s automated bidding strategies into two categories: Smart Bidding and Vanity Bidding. Vanity bidding focuses on outcomes that are difficult to link to the impact on conversions, whereas Smart Bidding aims to help you maximize your ad spend.
Manual bidding is the most straightforward bidding strategy within Google Ads. When using this function it allows advertisers to set bids at the keyword level, with any changes performed by an authorized user.
The most obvious benefit of sticking with the manual approach is having control. Automatic bidding does not allow advertisers to edit bids or tier match types, and often even when it is not profitable the algorithm will do whatever it takes to get a click or conversion.
Utilizing manual bidding is great when you are concerned with the cost per click and conversion rates is your marketing goal.
Manual PPC Cons
The main drawback to manual bidding is that this process takes time. Manual bidding, of course, requires you to go in and make judgment calls about specific keywords and ad groups when you are doing paid search advertisements.
While setting up manual bidding is relatively straightforward, you will need to experience when executing. Successful advertisers need to invest some time and effort into learning which strategies are most profitable for their specific brand.
The other thing to think about is that manual bidding does not always reveal every insight. With automated bidding strategies, Google will pull in new data that you can use to inform future campaigns.
Automated PPC Campaigns
Ease of Setup & Go
Once you have put in the hard work – set up your keywords, adjusted your bids based on the bidding parameters, ensuring the right ad copy. Unfortunately, those people who do not like automation fail here, as they think they are good for the next few weeks or the duration of the campaign. Doing this sets yourself up for failure.
Google Ads is only as smart as the users using the PPC (pay-per-click). Keywords change, people’s searching habits and parameters change often, therefore, you need to be acting quickly to make sure you are not bidding on keywords that are not generating the right customers.
On the other hand, you want to make sure you are not missing out on potential keywords that are on the border of being good enough for your bids. When using an automated campaign, the “close enough” keywords will fall off the radar. Then you have lost that bid and potentially lost out on that click and conversion. Automation campaigns need to be monitored, do not turn a blind eye and think your work is done just because you set-up PPC campaigns.
Another benefit of automatic bidding is that it has the ability of machine learning. Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical information. It is a branch of artificial intelligence based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention. Essentially, it is the machine learning your Google ads’ optimum chance of being clicked on and performing that repeatedly.
Pros of Automated PPC Campaigns
When managing your PPC for your business, and the campaigns are new or they are limited time, it is best to not choose to automate those. However, PPC campaign bids need history to see what has worked and what has not to best determine which bids to compete for and which ones to skip. If you are a PPC campaign manager and are handling a large on-going campaign using automated ads campaigns can help with managing your time better.
If you are creating a new Google Ads campaign, you likely will not have enough data to set up automated PPC campaigns effectively. You just need to make sure you are choosing automated PPC campaigns because it is what will be best for your campaign and not because so not wanting to make adjustments in the beginning.
Cons of Automated Search Ads
Automatic technology can easily create lazy habits in workers. Therefore, it is important that you do not allow your automated PPC campaigns to lead you down that path. For starters, you will not be learning or improving your own PPC strategy if you just let the PPC campaigns run on their own.
Being a PPC strategist, you want to help your campaign to perform well. When you are able to take the time to manually check on your automated PPC campaigns, you are also giving yourself the chance to learn what works and figure out what does not. Learning the ends and out will allow for better campaigns in the future, allowing for better bids. Managing PPC can be a guessing game when starting out, but do not allow this to dictate your future as a PPC strategist.
As we have mentioned, the best results come from diligently monitored PPC campaigns.
While manual bidding is a time-consuming marketing strategy that the average e-commerce seller does not have room to add to their busy schedule.
Automated bidding presents a solution, but it is not perfect. To get the most out of this approach, you will need to have already seen some success with Google Ads. Automated bidding uses your historical data and relies heavily on machine learning performance.
Creating that history takes time, time that you may not have. At Blue Water Marketing we have a team focused on e-commerce PPC. This allows us to design well-researched campaigns using proven strategies to drive clicks and conversions, and ultimately to grow your profits.
Contact us today to learn more about our approach to managing your account.