Automation in Search Engine Advertising | Articles

The future of PPC Automation

Do you work in digital advertising?
Great, early retirement is waiting for you ...

Not exactly. But automation will change your job, that’s a given.

Computers are getting faster.
Algorithms are getting smarter.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are getting explored.

“Machines are already undertaking tasks which were unthinkable - if not imaginable - a decade ago”

Andy Haldane
Chief economist, Bank of England


Fueled by innovation, automation in PPC advertising has progressed rapidly. At our agency Semetis, we have experienced the evolution for our clients first handed. In many cases, the new smart solutions in search engine advertising outperformed the ‘traditional’ features.

For example, when Google Smart Shopping campaigns became available, we were among the early adaptors to test the feature for our clients. Moreover, we were blown away by the performances of Smart Shopping. A similar story could be told about, for example, Smart Display. (Yes, Google products. We talk a lot about Google, but hey they still dominate the search market undisputedly.)

Let’s talk about Facebook. Likewise, we have observed a powerful boost of the algorithm over the past months. They recently announced to deprecate the option to set budgets at ad sets level. Now it is only possible on campaign level. Also this is a step closer to automation in a sense that the algorithm will determine the budgets allocated to the ad sets based on the desired goal of the campaign.

As you reckon that computers are becoming increasingly smarter. You comprehend that this is only just the beginning of automation and that it will evolve at an increasingly rapid rate.

So what could be automated?

First, if you care enough, the day-to-day management of your advertising accounts probably takes time.
Especially operational tweaks take time and are necessary to yield great performances.

Many of these operational tasks could actually be automated.
That part of our job Mr. Robot could do.
Even more, Mr. Robot will do it better.

Already today, there are some amazing automation features that make the life of Marketing Managers, CMOs, and PPC experts quicker and more efficient. Nevertheless even with automated campaigns, you need a human to set it up and monitor.

Automation features in Google Ads advertising

Below, we present some of the most popular Search Engine Automation features that are currently available - and that you could implement today:

  • Smart Bidding Strategies: instead of optimizing your cpc’s manually the bidding strategy will set cpc bid automatically.
  • Smart Display: The algorithm will try to find winning combinations (image-headline-description) for every user. Winning is a sense ‘more likely to make a conversion’.
  • Smart Shopping: Shopping and display ads (including dynamic remarketing and dynamic prospecting) that appear on the Google Search Network, Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail. Focused on maximizing your conversion value.
  • Local Campaigns: Google ads designed to bring business to your storefront. Local campaign. These ads appear on the Google Search Network, Maps, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. The objective is to maximize store visits and promote store locations.
  • Dynamic Search Ads: Dynamic Search Ads use your website content to target and generate ads to searches. For every query, headlines and landing pages are generated automatically using content from your website. These ads are hence highly relevant.
  • Responsive Search Ads: Take the guessing out of ad copy. Google Ads will automatically test different combinations (headlines and descriptions) and learn which combinations perform best. 
  • Automated extensions: Google Ads automatically creates and shows extensions below your ad.
  • Ad Customizers: Ad customizers adapt your text ads by inserting a price, the time left before a sale ends, and any other text that you define. 
  • Countdown customizers: Insert a countdown in your text ad. 

This list is of course far from exhaustive.

Take a look at how account structure has changed in the Google Ads platform: Source: Google You might have had a question from a client saying ‘hey shouldn’t we pause this keyword? Results don’t seem very good.” The answer is no. If the keyword doesn’t bring any value, the algorithm should be smart enough to detect it and hence not bid on it. You could, figure of speech, add a completely irrelevant keyword such as “elephant” to your Google Ads account. The algorithm should not bid for it as chances are pretty high that the keyword won’t deliver on your objective.

Search Ads 360 to support automation in PPC

Google has an enterprise-level search management platform to take automation in PPC to the next level: Search Ads 360 (formerly known as DoubleClick Search). It is specifically designed to help advertisers take up the task. The search management platform allows agencies and marketers to efficiently manage some of the largest search marketing campaigns in the world, across multiple engines and media channels.


Automation in PPC/Search Engine Advertising is evolving rapidly. Today, we often see that it is a trade off between control and performances. Creating one ‘Catch-All’ Smart Shopping campaign could yield the best performances from a revenue point of view but you might have no control over which segment/products that get greater visibility or investment. In any case, this evolution implies that we have to shift focus, learn new skills and move towards a strategy consultant role. We will continue to share more on this exciting topic right here on the Semetis knowledge hub website. Enjoy !

publication author olivier mannekens
Olivier Mannekens

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