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Paid search optimisation: How advertisers can cut through in an age of automation

Back to all resources

Paid search optimisation: How advertisers can cut through in an age of automation

Key takeaways

Machine learning has transformed paid search. Thanks to automated solutions such as Smart Bidding and keyword matching, there’s now more time for higher-level strategic tasks — but also more competition when it comes to standing out.

So how can advertisers get that important competitive edge when this technology is available to all? The answer lies in focusing on your properties, creating and testing hypotheses, and harnessing the power of first-party data.

This is the future of paid search, and it’s available to advertisers today. Here are three key ways to leverage the technology available and set up your Google Ads account for success.

1. Harness your data for performance and privacy

2. Invest in the quality of your assets throughout the customer journey

3. Embrace a test-and-learn culture

How can advertisers prepare for the future of paid search optimisation?

Automated solutions have made it easier for advertisers across categories and of all sizes to scale and optimise their marketing performance.

Underpinned by machine-learning technology, Google Ads tools and features can process an enormous amount of data and act on complex consumer signals. With bidding, placement, and assets adjusted automatically, it now takes less time and resources to reach the most relevant prospective customers with the most relevant ads.

With so many previously manual tasks now covered by automation and available to all, advertisers need to find other ways to ensure a competitive edge.

1. Harness your data for performance and privacy

By connecting your first-party data to Google’s machine-learning solutions, you’ll be able to unlock greater value and reach your business goals. The more high-quality data you can feed in, the more automation has to work with — and ultimately, the better the outcome.

When it comes to bidding, first-party data is a gamechanger. Sophisticated advertisers are shifting from bidding strategies optimised for Google Search-specific KPIs to bidding based on business goals — swapping the likes of cost-per-click for actual leads and sales.

By feeding in first-party data about your most valuable users, machine learning can help you both connect with them and find new, similar customers. In a privacy-centric web where third-party cookies are being phased out, this will be more crucial than ever for performance.

Likewise, if you provide enough information about your products and margins, your campaigns can be automatically optimised towards those products that deliver the most profit.

Using the time you would have spent on tasks such as manual bid adjustments in the past, invest in capturing the right data throughout the entire consumer journey and feeding it into your Google Ads bidding strategy.

Smart Bidding

An automated bidding strategy that optimises your bids to improve sales performance over time, using data from Google and your first-party sources.

Learn more

2. Invest in the quality of your assets throughout the customer journey

Using automated ad formats and Smart Bidding frees up time to focus on your assets — whether that’s your ads, your app or your entire website.

Putting time and resources into your creatives, messaging, and user experience (UX) is a powerful differentiator, because human creativity and ingenuity is what makes campaigns stand out. To get ahead, ensure you’re not only investing in high-quality copy and visuals but feeding enough assets into the algorithm so that automated campaign types can discover what works best.

It’s just as important that the consumer journey — from clicking on an ad to making a purchase — is as seamless as possible. That means ensuring your website and app are mobile-friendly, with fast loading times and efficient checkout routes that will help turn ad clicks into high-value, returning customers.

Automation will help generate leads, but ultimately it’s the investment you put into your messaging and UX that will ensure they’re converted into sales.

Performance Max

A goal-based campaign type that allows advertisers to access all Google channels, such as YouTube and Search, from a single campaign.

Learn more

3. Embrace a test-and-learn culture

For advertisers, one of the most effective uses of time saved by leveraging automation is to invest in a test-and-learn culture across their campaigns.

By regularly generating robust hypotheses based on your campaign’s KPIs, then testing them, you’ll be able to learn what drives performance and evolve your marketing strategy, landing pages, and UX accordingly.

The Insights page is a valuable tool to identify trends in your market and understand your campaign performance. It provides the perfect basis to formulate hypotheses, which you can then use to A/B test landing pages, CTAs, and more.

For example, using the Insights page, you might notice a drop in your conversion funnel at a certain step. Once you’ve formed a hypothesis based on this insight, you can use the drafts and experiments page to test a change in your campaign or bid strategy. Or, if you’re looking to test different creatives, you can do so using ad variations, running smaller tests side by side.

Be ready for the future of paid search

The solutions outlined above can help make the difference between good and great when it comes to results. Advertisers who implement them into their campaigns will be ready for the future of search — and to drive performance today.

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