Avoid the 8 most common pitfalls of automated bidding
With more and more PPC tasks becoming automated, it’s important to understand the limitations of automation. Here are eight of the most common issues to avoid when moving from manual to automated bidding.
Last week, I wrote that no one should do manual pay-per-click (PPC) bidding in this day and age. But that doesn’t mean you can just flip an automated bidding switch on and head for the beach. In fact, automated bidding comes with its own unique challenges that still require the active involvement of an account manager. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common issues to avoid when moving from manual to automated bidding.
Machines learn from your manual work
Probably the biggest “gotcha” about bid automation from Google is that it relies on machine learning, and, as that name implies, the machine has to learn before it can take over management. While it can learn some things from the history of all advertisers, it also needs historical data about the account it will start to automate. And that means that you’ll have to run campaigns manually first to get them to a point where conversions are plentiful and performance is consistent.
So, was I wrong to say that there is no place for manual bid management when it seems to be a required step on the path to fully automated bidding? The key word there is fully automated. There are varying levels of PPC automation, and even when a level 3 or 4 automation is impossible, there are still lower levels of automation to consider.
Use the right level of automation for your circumstances
While the focus of automation usually revolves around Google’s Smart Bidding and Smart Campaigns, keep in mind that there are many other forms that automation can take. For example, if you’re just starting a new campaign and need to build up enough data before Smart Bidding can work, you may still want to automate things like building out the campaign from structured data you have on a spreadsheet.
And during the initial management of that campaign, you can use automated rules, a rule engine, AdWords Scripts, spreadsheet macros and the like to speed up finding queries that should be added as keywords and keywords whose bids should be changed based on performance.
When I say that bids should never be managed manually, I mean your time is likely too valuable to manually pull reports from Google Ads (formerly AdWords). You can go through them manually to apply filters and find things to change before finally bulk uploading it manually via the ads editor. When several steps of a process are so well defined, you can save time by automating them, and you probably should.