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7 Ways PPC Automation Misses the Mark

Are you considering automating your PPC ads? Sure, automation may save you time, but consider these downsides of PPC automation before you adopt a fully automated strategy:

Short on time? Here’s the 5 minute infographic for a quick look at PPC automation vs. manual account management. 

1. You Can’t See in the Dark 

Automation puts you in the dark with black-box solutions. While you might see results, you most likely won’t be able to see how you ended up with those sales. Did a certain device or placement bring in the most sales? Since companies don’t want you to understand how their AI works, you might never know. 

Many automation solutions also either advocate for putting as many products as possible into a single ad group, or don’t allow for a lot of product segmentation. So you won’t know which advertised products or segments are driving sales, either! Learn more about How to Organize Google Shopping Campaigns here. 

With manual campaign management, you have an all access pass to what goes on behind the scenes. That’s because you’re managing the campaign yourself! You can make changes, and see the result of those changes in real time.

2. There’s No Learning from Past Mistakes with PPC Automation

No transparency means no actionable insights. If you can’t see which choices resulted in conversions, and which spend is being wasted, you can’t fine-tune your management and direct spend with precision. On the other hand, when you manage your own account, you can dig deep into the data using Google Ads and Google Analytics. By comparing data year over year, you can make solid predictions about which optimizations will be effective in the coming year. Wish you had a crystal ball for your ad spend? Learn how to perform a predictive ad spend analysis here! 

3. Change is like Kryptonite for PPC Automation

Automated systems use a lookback window to predict future changes. This means that anything unexpected can completely throw the AI for a loop! If you’re looking into automation as a “set-it-and-forget-it” option, be aware that if you let the AI run unmonitored, things might get out of control. 

When you manually manage your account, you will either 1) know when changes are coming or 2) be aware of changes as they are happening and be able to react to them. Unlike AI that relies on a lookback window, you can adapt your strategy in real time as you see a shift occurring. 

For example, if a popular item goes out of stock an automated system might continue to spend as if there is still inventory available. In a manual campaign, you can anticipate a change in stock status and preemptively lower bids.

4. PPC Automation Can’t Adapt to Seasonality 

Automated systems supposedly account for some seasonality, but for some retailers it’s still not enough. These retailers might experience seasonality outside of the norm or have unusual shifts in sales.

For a retailer like PositivePromotions, with extremely seasonal products that change monthly, an automated system would never work. That’s why we managed their campaigns manually — to fine tune bids for each event in a timely manner. Learn how we adapted to their seasonality here. 

5. Big Sale? Black Friday? Whoops. Too Late. 

If your business has a Black Friday sale every year, then PPC automation should be able to adjust for that…right? Unfortunately, no. Timely sales like Black Friday or Prime Day that require bid adjustments throughout the day are a huge downfall of automated systems. 

While our analysts start adjusting bids and preparing for Black Friday weeks before, an automated system typically only catches on to the sale towards the end. We covered it all here in this guide: “Should You Use Automation to Manage Black Friday Ads?”

6. You’re Not in Charge 

Want control over placements, bid adjustments, and keywords? Then automatic campaigns are not for you. PPC automation will make these decisions for you. While this may sound like a positive, combined with the lack of transparency it means you can’t make edits or gain insights to improve your account further. 

7. No Substitute for Expert Knowledge

To sum it all up, no one knows your business better than you — especially not an automated system. You know when seasonality affects your business, who your target audience is, and what your business goals are, and you can shape your account to your exact business needs. 

That’s our specialty at Omnitail: crafting strategies to fit your unique business goals and situations. If we can do it, you can too. Believe us, it’s worth the extra time to grow your account purposefully using a data-driven approach.

Now, we understand that not everyone has the time to manually manage their business, and that’s why we’re here to help. Want the customization without the time required to set it up? Reach out to speak to an analyst today! 

Author

Savannah is a Marketing Specialist at Omnitail. She has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design from George Mason University. She enjoys working with the amazing team at Omnitail to create original, helpful content.

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