Over the last few years we have become accustomed to automation and AI being a part of our everyday lives, from shopping lists on Alexa to Netflix learning what we like and what we don’t. 

Similarly, automation will play a major role in pay per click (PPC) in 2019. 

Automation and AI dominate the world of search marketing. We can embrace this new way of managing accounts or risk missing out on clever ways to recruit new leads.

Head of Search at Kingpin, Thea Van Zyl, entered the search market in 2000, and she says it has changed dramatically since then, yet success here has come from building on existing skills, not replacing them all when new technology comes along.

Google’s latest trend is pushing its advertisers towards automated and smart bidding options. However to manage a successful campaign you need to understand manual bid management first. 

Applying some Human Intelligence 

Human Intelligence (HI, if you will) allows you to spot when your campaign results are not following the desired trajectory. The experienced marketer can apply some HI to adapt strategy to ensure the campaign stays on track and hits its KPIs.

Regardless of the background automation and AI at work, we should not lose sight of the fact that Google is still very focused on quality. Without working towards good quality scores, improved landing page experience and better CTR and CR, the best automation and AI strategy is in vain.

Choosing the right automated bidding strategy 

Google has explained in a whitepaper how its automated system calculates bids, and there are many approaches and boundary combinations to choose from:

  • If you want to appear in position one, you can activate Automated Bidding where Google Ads raises and lowers bids to match the estimated top-of-page bid whilst adding a bid limit to protect your budget.
  • Or you can instruct Google not to raise bids if the campaign is limited by budget or when a keyword has a low-quality score
  • CPA allows you to set the cost and pay only when you get the desired action from the target.
  • Maximise Conversions will fully utilise your budget to maximise total number of conversions
  • Enhanced CPC allows limitations on the bid but gives Google real-time flexibility
  • Target ROAS focusses on getting the most total value from your budget


(Search Engine Land, 2018)

The catch with many of these is that you must have conversion tracking implemented, and drive a sizable number of leads, to allow the Google AI system to be able to kick into gear.

If leads are not your focus, you are left with a number of other strategies to choose from, such as focusing on maximising clicks, target search page location, target outranking share, CPM or vCPM.

An interesting option is Audience Targeting. According to Google, this option allows the advertiser to reach people based on who they are, their interests and habits, their search behaviour or previous interactions with the business. These targeting methods allow you to create detailed audience types and test various strategies.

2019 and beyond

For now only Google knows their plans, but I do not doubt that we will see more automation from Google in 2019, but for now a successful PPC account still requires Human Intelligence and skill.

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If you are not getting the best results from your PPC campaign, why not get in touch with us? Kingpin offer free PPC account audits.

Learn how our experience can make the most of automation to improve your results.