Automation In PPC – 6 Useful Focuses

automation in digital marketing

Automation has rapidly changed the landscape of PPC. 

With this rapid change, the role of a PPC operative has changed with it. The focus of a digital marketer is becoming less about digital marketing as a lone concept and more about marketing in the digital sphere.

Automation means you no longer have to manually pour over Max CPC bidding changes, bid adjustments across different channels, stringent location and ad schedule segmentation, and so on.

Many PPC operatives are becoming worried about how much automation is taking over and what their role is to be in the future. This worry is amplified as many automation on Google Ads and other similar platforms are not becoming optional but in many cases mandatory. 

For now, at least, I wouldn’t worry. Research by the Boston Consulting Group in 2019 found that “those that deploy ML-based technologies, with active human supervision, find that they can boost campaign performance by an additional 15%.” 

In the age of automation, human input remains essential for achieving the best performance in digital marketing. 

Automation alone can now deliver good results for businesses, but with automated campaigns becoming the new norm, good results will slowly devolve into being average results, so it is up to the human to elevate performance beyond average and help reach the maximum potential of a campaign. 

New Skills To Master

Pay-per-click in 2022 is about harnessing the power of automation while going beyond what’s offered within the Google Ads platform. 

Some things have stayed the same within the realm of PPC despite the changes made by automation. 

For one, you still have to carry out detailed keyword research if you want the best results, particularly for lead-gen. 

Being creative in ad copy is still also the job of the human. Automation still hasn’t mastered creativity, nor does it understand context or nuance. 

This means that responding to real-life events that can impact a campaign’s performance is also your job. Google’s AI will not know why the woolly jumpers it has been selling like hot cakes all winter aren’t getting the same results in summer and will insist on pushing money into woolly jumpers products because of the most recent data without anticipating market changes that it doesn’t yet have data for.  

But beyond these aspects, which have been part-and-parcel of the role of a PPC operative since time immemorial, there have been some really interesting developments within the PPC world that will best improve your account’s performances across the board. 

Below are 6 focuses to include in your thinking when setting up and maintaining your PPC accounts in an era of PPC automation.

Strategy Development

You have to be able to utilise the data within the account to know how best to develop a strategy that suits your budget, market, industry, and brand.

Work towards being able to establish the link between the various touch points of a customer’s journey and your chosen conversion outputs and then optimise the account based on this. 

The customer’s conversion journey is becoming less and less linear in the digital age. Assessing the micro points of a customer’s journey across various channels and deducing a strategy from this is more important than ever. 

Deducing who your audience is, recognising their habits, and knowing the most effective way to reach them will give you the first leg-up over the “set-it-and-forget-it” contingent who are happy for Google’s automation to try and work it out on its own. 

This is even more pertinent now with the introduction of Performance Max campaigns and their respective asset groups.

Automation Layering 

Automation layering will allow you to automatically feed qualitative information back into Google’s AI, which in turn will instruct the AI on who your ideal target audience is, bolstering performance further.

Google–most of the time–knows what a conversion is, and it can even optimise the account to secure more of those conversions. 

What Google doesn’t know is how that conversion behaves once they’ve completed the desired conversion action. Was the lead of good quality? Do you make a good profit margin on the products that have been sold? You’ll know, but Google doesn’t. 

Feeding this information back into Google via automation layering and information input will allow you to point Google’s AI in the right direction to make sure those conversions it’s trying to secure are of good quality and suit your business’s needs, and KPIs and requirements. 

This can be delivered through rule-driven automation, which allows you to manually configure your settings and create rules to aid in campaign management in a way that suits your desired goals. 

You can also use certain scripts to automate different tasks within the account based on the data you’ve accumulated. 

Third-party PPC automation tools are also an option to consolidate the automation within Google to complement each other with specific inputs of data. 

Connecting Online & Offline Data 

Something that was important before has become vital now to comprehensively ascertain who your customers are across all fields of the buying process. 

Digital advertising often leads to actions by prospective customers in offline settings. 

Connecting online and offline data allows you to revamp your entire marketing setup to best appeal to your real target audience. 

Data privacy and security is a contentious and highly contested issues within the online world. Being able to identify key audiences and marketing channels is less effective when only considering the data accrued online. 

Integrating online marketing with offline activity will allow you to track the most valuable interactions, which will then allow you to effectively assign budgets to the most profitable channels. 

Mastering PPC Tools & Platforms 

Platforms and services related to PPC that are distinct from the main Google Ads platform are another way to transcend mediocrity in digital marketing and go beyond machine learning. 

Being able to seamlessly transition from SEMRush to SpyFu, from Google Analytics to Google Tag Manager, from Google Ads Editor to Databox and everything in between to aid your campaign setup, strategy, planning, and reporting will give you the edge over those confined to the realm of Google Ads to carry out their digital marketing.

Human Proactivity 

Assessing the competitive landscape in real-time and exploiting competitors’ mistakes can again elevate your ad performance. Mastering automation also means knowing its downfalls to see where you need to fill in and where you can add value. 

Google’s AI won’t know that your main competitor’s website is down, which means that it won’t recognise the opportunity to effectively front-load your budget to exploit this lull in the competitive environment. 

Intuitive human intervention here and in similar scenarios can invigorate your campaign’s performance beyond any data that Google’s AI has previously collected and successively prepared for. 

Offering Value Beyond Google Ads

As developed as Google’s AI is, its wonders are limited to Google Ads. 

Establishing any potential issues and responding to unexpected challenges across a client’s entire marketing setup, from their website and their landing pages, tone and messaging of their copy, industry changes, market trends, and unprecedented real-life events again distinguishes you from machine learning.

Google can tell you that you’ve paid for 1000 people to be sent to a landing page that has had no conversions, but it won’t be able to tell you why that’s the case.

Google’s machine-learning will push spending towards wedding dresses as it approaches wedding season based on historical conversion data, but it won’t be able to tell you why it’s not converting during a period of global lockdown, nor know what to do about it before burning through £100s of spend. 

Human input is needed to ensure all aspects of online marketing are as absolute and effective as they can be. 


The role of a PPC operative has changed dramatically as the playing field continues to evolve. With Google’s machine learning taking over a lot of the manual tasks PPC operatives once did at an exponential rate, it is up to PPC experts to be forward-thinking to break free from the rest and adapt to the new current system as it unfolds before us. PPC marketing is becoming less laborious and more complex. 

The learning curve is becoming steeper. To separate your business’s marketing from the rest of the crowd, Google’s machine learning on its own won’t suffice. 

To outperform your competitors, why not begin working with an award-winning agency to spearhead your business into this latest iteration of online marketing? 

Embryo is committed to keeping on top of the new challenges ahead to continue delivering amazing results for our clients.