Artificial intelligence used to be a thing of nightmares, a poster child of technology’s dark potential. But as AI improves, we are actually seeing way more benefit than danger, and this is especially true in the world of paid search advertising. AI offers ways for us to better understand our audiences and make more effective use of our advertising budgets without distracting from existing data and strategies.
How It Works
Google’s AI technology is smart, but you do have to fuel its learning by feeding it information at the start. Your unique marketing goals will determine what information you want the AI to work off of, but it will likely include factors like your industry, location, relationship to other search categories, and more.
The AI will take it from there by utilizing additional information, including people’s search behavior and interests, browsing history, and purchase history, among other factors. The AI might even be able to detect factors such as homeownership and income bracket based on the previous information, which will inform the machine learning technology even further.
This all helps the AI better understand the customer and their path to the business, which are both essential for you in making more informed decisions about how to drive conversions.
The Three A’s
It all starts with understanding attribution, automation, and audience. For search marketing, think of these three A’s like cake ingredients: they don’t make anything that you benefit from until they are all mixed together and baked.
Attribution models are Google’s way of giving credit to the click or clicks that brought a customer to your site. There are multiple attribution models available through Google Ads: five “rules-based” models including last click, time decay, linear, position-based, and first click, and one data-driven model, which is the recommended model.
AI works with the data-driven model to offer a clearer picture of the customer’s search journey. While widely used, the last-click model obscures valuable information that your business could be using to better understand how to secure conversions. For example, branded keywords secure a great number of conversions on a last-click model, but that model doesn’t show you that your customers are using a certain generic keyword that brings brand awareness that then drives them to the branded keyword. Ideally, you would be optimizing your campaigns for both the generic and the branded keyword, but if you’re only looking at last-click conversions, you are probably missing out on any opportunities with that generic keyword.
This is why the data-driven model wins out over the rules-based models, but to opt into data-driven attribution, your account must have at least 15,000 clicks on Google Search and 600 monthly conversions for a specific conversion action. If you don’t qualify for the data-driven model, do not stress—there is speculation that Google will soon make the data-driven model the default.
Every new version of Google Ads that rolls out features new options for automation. Smart automation for PPC campaigns would not be possible without AI. And while a great portion of paid search campaigns still need to be managed manually, AI has now made auto-bidding on keywords, automated extensions, and dynamic search ads possible, all of which increase the efficiency of PPC campaign management.
But while AI may ultimately become completely autonomous, it still needs guidance and input from us humans for the time being. Budgets, target location, and language are still factors that cannot be determined by Google Ads’ current machine learning technology.
You have an idea of your target audience. You may have identified this audience through existing Google Ads data, keyword research, or through real-world experience with your customer base. And while you do need a target audience in mind to be able to devise effective PPC strategy, the human brain may not be the best calculator for determining your target. We filter all understanding through the lens of our experiences and our existing world beliefs, but AI doesn’t. Using AI in paid advertising allows you to hyper-target the people who are already searching for what you have to offer, and probably already have their wallets out. This is the audience you want your ads to appear for, and AI can help you make that happen.
The AI technology also can base ad audience off of lifestyle actions and search behavior, which are more creative ways to find ad audiences than what has been general practice up until now. And if the data shows that your current strategy for targeting customers who ultimately convert is seeing success, we have great news: the AI on Google Ads doesn’t reduce your reach by believing that the audience it finds is your only audience—if you have other audiences that you have told Google Ads to target, your Ads account will still target those audiences even if the AI doesn’t pick them up. This is why we say that the AI is adding rather than limiting.
More Benefits of AI for Your Paid Search Campaign
Using AI to its full potential on your PPC campaigns presents almost no risk to you and your existing strategy. To start, AI works off of the strategies that you have already built and implemented, so you’re not working backward. Also, AI doesn’t change the price of your PPC campaign—you’ll be using the same budget and running the same ads, you’ll just be doing so with more understanding of your target audience. This actually spells out great potential to lower costs for your PPC campaigns because you are gaining visibility from more relevant customers, people who are the most likely to convert to paying customers for your product or services.
On top of all that, it’s a forward-looking strategy—while it’s possible that others have begun using this feature, it is fairly new and everyone is still working on employing it effectively. By starting to put this technology to use earlier, you have a better chance of setting yourself ahead of the game. Machine learning is becoming smarter and more reliable across the board, and now is the time to start integrating it into your paid search marketing strategy.
Interested in Learning More?
Paid search marketing is one of the digital marketing strategies that is most closely tied to increased leads and revenue for your business. Looking for a talented team of digital marketing experts to handle your PPC (and all other digital marketing) needs? Let’s talk. Contact Uptick today!