In 2021 we saw a lot of automation introduced for Paid Search and while you might not think that this is anything new, we really did see automation kick in a new and powerful way last year, so why not read on to find out the full story!
After the past two years that we’ve endured, there are few among us who would have the confidence to profess that this will be “our year”. However, our top tips for aspiring PPC experts will give you a head start on (dare we say it) a successful 2022!
The Year of Automation
In 2021 we saw a lot of automation introduced for Paid Search and while you might not think that this is anything new, we really did see automation kick in a new and powerful way last year.
A few examples of some of the changes include:
These are just a few of the examples of increased automation that stand out!
So what do you need to consider to ensure that you aren’t left behind and that your accounts reap the full benefits of automation?
Here are our top tips to put you on the path to success:
Do you fully understand your account's primary and secondary metrics? Are you fully tracking these? Or is there an opportunity for you to integrate further data, such as offline data or to create additional events or goals in Google Analytics to understand your users’ behaviour on site. Make sure that you understand your account’s vertical and its competitors. Who are they? What are their unique selling points and how do they differentiate themselves from you and the rest of the market? Answering these questions will help you to identify whether you can leverage anything useful from an ad or image asset perspective.
Right away, ask yourself if there are areas of the account that could be better. To do this, spend some time auditing your account. Start by looking for quick wins, such as areas in the account where your quality score is low, suggesting that there is room to improve ad relevance or landing page relevancy through A/B testing. Jot down all those opportunities for small wins and establish a period of time within which you’ll execute the necessary changes. You can also use the “Insights” and “Recommendations” tab to help you identify these areas.
In 2022 if you are not testing smart bidding then what exactly are you doing? Google’s smart bidding algorithm allows bid optimisations to be made in real-time using a wide range of contextual signals such as location, device, audience, seasonality, and so on. If you haven’t started to test bid strategies, then define areas in the account where you can start testing based on your campaign objectives. Google’s Support Articles offer some good guidelines that will help you understand where and how to get started.
Google also provides some very useful free tools which you should use to help you forecast performance. For example, the “Performance Planner” allows you to create a plan with selected campaigns or keywords, allocate a certain spend and assess how changes in the landscape and to the campaign might affect overall performance and your key metrics.
And don’t underestimate the value of using a pacing document to track your spending against your main KPI metrics. This will ensure that you have enough media spend to last you the month, or that you are pushing spend to periods of the month that matter. For example, your main KPI might be tracking store traffic and therefore weekends might be particularly important.
One of the most significant changes that Google introduced recently was an overhaul of the recommended account structure. Gone are the days of multiple SKAGs and super refined match-type campaigns and ad groups, instead, Google now offers a more consolidated approach. The majority of the changes that Google Ads introduced tally with a more consolidated approach to campaigns. Bid strategies use algorithms, and algorithms require data. Therefore, the more data an algorithm has, the better the decision-making. This is why the recommendation to have all match types under one ad group with the use of Broad match is the suggested approach - essentially, it will do exactly that: provide more data to the algorithms to ensure that it finds higher intent users.
If you think your account doesn’t need the testing of a modern search structure, think again. More and more changes will continue to be rolled out and very soon you won’t have a choice. So get ahead of the curve; start using experiment campaigns in Google Ads; define a testing roadmap to test this new format in areas of the account; and see whether you reap the rewards.
In Paid Search, it is really important that we are not just being reactive but that we are also testing with a clear hypothesis and objective. That being said, tests require time and minimal changes to avoid skewing the data. Therefore, a budget should be allocated each month to testing so that you can understand what works and does not work for the account. The more you test, the more you will understand your account, what works and what doesn’t!
Stay Up to Date
If you work your way through these 5 steps and you keep on top of what’s coming down the line, you’ll set yourself up for a good start to the year. But the really important thing is that you stay on top of the new changes that are coming down the line throughout the year. Take time out of your busy week to read updates to the platform and familiarise yourself with other channels - you never know where you might be able to integrate cross channel!
Get in Touch
If staying on top of the latest developments and making them work for your business sounds like a full-time job in itself, get in touch. Our consultants are always up-to-date with the latest developments in SEM, SEO, Paid Social and Analytics so if you need some help managing your performance marketing or need some specialist advice to get to grips with how to make the most of platform changes, contact us!
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