June 2023

Google Ads & Automation: this is how to make the machine go where you want it to go!

In the world of Search Engine Advertising (SEA), marketers are relinquishing manual control and embracing automation for Google Ads success. By leveraging machine learning, strategic data feeding, and a focus on both hard and soft conversions, marketers can optimize campaigns more efficiently, ensuring long-term growth and effectiveness in the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising.

Roben Snippe

As SEA marketers, we are ceding more and more control when it comes to manual optimizations. That's why it's time to discover how to use automation for a successful strategy in your Google Ads account. Do you want to take your Google Ads campaigns to the next level with the help of automation? Then read on quickly!

The new way

Previously, optimizing Google Ads campaigns was a labor-intensive process, with SEA marketers having to make many manual adjustments. Think of optimizing bids, excluding search terms, and writing ad copy. With the rise of automation and machine learning, there is a new way to optimize your Google Ads strategy. It is possible to influence the machine and make it go where you want it to go. You achieve this by feeding the machine with data, preferably a lot of (first-party) data. Furthermore, strategy and structure, structured data, and target audiences are key. In short, with the new way of working, you can spend less time on manual optimizations and you have more time to work out a successful strategy.

To measure is to know

If you want to work towards a successful strategy, it is important that you measure as much as possible. From the value of (potential) customers to the performance of specific keywords. Do not only measure hard conversions, such as purchases, but also focus on soft conversions. Soft conversions include downloading a brochure or adding items to a wish list or shopping cart. This will give you a better insight into the process that takes place before a hard conversion.

Providing your campaigns with soft conversions at different stages of the funnel will help you better target your goal per phase. An example: a campaign focused on reach (and therefore at the front of the funnel) should not be driven by purchases, but for example by active time on site.

This way, you give smart bidding the right tools to spend the budget on customers with the highest value for your company. Always consider what data you feed the machine with, because garbage in = garbage out.

Tip: Create a custom report in Google Analytics 4 to track the drop-off points in the ordering process for your website visitors. You can identify the specific step at which most visitors abandon the process. Alternatively, you can explore the 'user purchase journey' report for deeper insights. Are visitors dropping out primarily after adding a product to the shopping cart, or is it happening earlier in the process? This data provides valuable insights into areas that require optimisation on your website. It can help you identify if the keywords being used are appropriate for that stage in the sales funnel.

Losing data simply means that automatic bidding strategies are less effective. As a result, your campaigns perform less effectively. This is why having proper conversion tracking is crucial. But what factors should you consider in this regard? Here are some tips:

  • Ensure that you have reliable conversion tracking in place to gain insights into which campaigns are generating specific types of conversions. Increasing the number of conversions results in more data, which in turn, can enhance the effectiveness of bidding strategies.
  • Make sure you turn on enhanced conversion tracking so that conversions can be linked to users more often and better.
  • Be prepared for a future without third-party cookies and start taking steps towards first-party data.

Don't lose sight of your long-term goals

If you want to (continue to) grow as a business, it is essential to unlock new audiences. Therefore, focus on finding new customers in your campaigns and collecting first-party data. Make sure you don't just focus on the short-term by only looking at your Target ROAS strategy and users with a high conversion rate. Usually, these are your existing customers who convert. To continue to grow in the future, it is important that you also focus on Brand Search.  

Key takeaways

As a SEA marketer, it's time to discover how to use automation for a successful Google Ads strategy! By feeding the machine with valuable (first-party) data, you can spend more time thinking out a successful strategy. Measuring both hard and soft conversions is essential for effectively guiding smart bidding in the right direction. Make sure your conversion tracking is in order and focus on finding new customers in addition to increasing retention. This way, you can not only grow in the short term but also become and remain successful in your Google Ads campaigns in the long term.

Are you ready to take your Google Ads campaigns to the next level, but don't know how? Then contact our Sales Manager for a SEA analysis.

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