Harnessing Automation Within Search

Much of the conversation around automation focuses on disrupting labor processes in sectors like manufacturing, service and retail. With each passing day, it’s apparent that no sector is immune to automation. Digital advertising – specifically Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – is no exception.

At Empower, our Search team sees automation as an opportunity to expand the possibilities of our clients’ SEM campaigns. Machine learning technologies give us the power to help answer a million-dollar question: What is the perfect creative message?

There are a handful of machine learning technologies allowing advertisers to deliver creative messages that are most likely to resonate with consumers. Three key search tools that accomplish this include Responsive Search Ads, Dynamic Search Ads and Automated Extensions. Each carry their own set of pros and cons.

Responsive Search Ads

What are they?

  • Google Ads will automatically test different combinations and learn which combinations perform best. By adapting your ad’s content to more closely match customers’ search queries, responsive search ads can improve performance.

The Advantages

  • This allows you to feed Google’s algorithms various permutations of headlines, descriptions and extensions to crash test messaging combinations with the goal of determining the optimal creative mix. This can also help inform messaging for future campaigns.

The Disadvantages

  • Less creative control. Unfortunately, you can’t dictate the sequencing of your creative assets in Responsive Search Ads. Brand voice and messaging is sacred ground, so implementing this tool should be done delicately.

Dynamic Search Ads

What are they?

  • When someone searches Google with terms closely related to titles and frequently used phrases on your website, Google Ads will re-purpose these titles and phrases to generate a clear, relevant headline for your ad and send the user to a pertinent landing page. This is best for advertisers with rich, thorough websites with an abundance of content.

The Advantages

  • Without Dynamic Search Ads, even well-managed accounts with an abundance of keywords can miss relevant searches, experience delays developing ads for new products or inaccurately detail what’s truly available on advertisers’ websites.

The Disadvantages

  • With the exception of feed-based targeting that you control, Dynamic Search Ads are not recommended if your website changes rapidly (for example, a site with often-changing daily deals).
  • Since a computer is writing your headlines, the brand hazard is even greater than with Responsive Search Ads. You cannot “feed” the creative delivery process in the same fashion. You’re wholly dependent upon how the automated process interprets your site.

Note: Using machine learning techniques similar to Dynamic Search Ads, Ad Suggestions is a similar tool designed to produce machine-generated variations of your existing text ads that may boost performance of your search campaigns. It should be noted that Ad Suggestions are subject to the same brand hazard concerns.

Automated Extensions

What are they?

  • Extensions expand your ad with additional information—giving people more reasons to choose your business. Instead of manually crafting them, i. automated extension are created and shown automatically below your ad and often boost performance.

The Advantages

  • Similar to Dynamic Search Ads, this cuts down on manual creative upload. Furthermore, Automated Extensions help harmonize your website with the user experience within search engines.

The Disadvantages

  • For the same reasons Dynamic Search Ads are tricky, Automated Extensions require a level of creative forfeiture. You’re automatically enrolled into the feature, so you’ll need to opt-out, which is backwards from many other tools. If – and only if – you trust your website and Google’s algorithm to relay your site’s information, give Automated Extensions a go.

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