Digital marketing is hot and automation is one of the most popular topics. Google offers more options than ever for search professionals to use. However, there’s still some discomfort in handing over the keys to the kingdom. As a long-time skeptic, I argue for automating core parts of search campaigns and share where marketers should focus their attention to achieve success in 2022.
Search marketers are focusing on automation – and it is rightly so. There are many components to search, so automation is an essential tool to help us optimize campaigns at scale. It also allows us to concentrate on what cannot be automated.
Google offers automated solutions for almost every aspect of account management. But how can we tell when it is a good idea to give up control and where we need to retain our influence? 2022 is a year where search professionals can reimagine their approach to search engine optimization (SEM) with Google. This will allow them to strike a new balance between automated solutions, customer-focused, and business-driven oversight.
In a reimagined partnership, the keys are handed over (or at least some)
Google Ads is a one-stop shop for marketers who want to engage customers on multiple platforms. Search and shopping are no longer enough. Practitioners can now also purchase Discovery Ads on YouTube, Local Ads, and other platforms.
An interesting dynamic emerges when you look at Google Ads holistically. It has what I refer to as “a tale of two Googles.” One side is Google’s sophisticated suite of flexible and powerful technology tools. This tool is designed for advanced users. These are people and brands that obsess about the next level and how to capture it. Google Ads now has a second side that is more accessible to the masses and offers amazing out-of-the box automated solutions.
Marketers, it is time to reinvent your approach and embrace the solutions that were once ignored by search professionals. You should do this with pride and intent. Let Google automate your campaigns. This will allow you to focus on core marketing strategies and engage your customers more effectively. Google will optimize keywords, placements and bids to meet your goals. Once a user arrives on your site, make sure you are ready to provide the best possible experience.
Reworked approach to search administration
Automating is one thing, but actually allowing the machine to do its work is quite another. What can you do to trust Google Automation and its work? Some programs and instances may be damaged by over-engineering or tinkering. Make sure to make the right tweaks and modifications. We overengineered our campaigns for years. We were obsessed with keyword funneling in single keyword ad groups and took great care to make sure our campaign structure was perfect.
2022 will require a bit less control and more letting go. This could lead to trust falling for those who are part of the “old guard”. Google can understand intent and match it with the right answer at just the right time. Too much intervention and tinkering can lead to disaster. The machine will eventually stop working.
Where do we put our energy now that automation is in place?
Don’t be discouraged – even if core search programs are automated, there are still important tasks to do. The importance of customer experience is what elevates search automation. To make your brand more useful and meaningful, you must learn how to use technology and data in privacy-safe ways. To be able to speak with your customers throughout their journey, you must get to know them. There are many preferences in travel. For example, window or aisle seat preference, preferred meal choice, hotel pillow type, and so forth. These are things that your customers expect from you, and you don’t want to start a conversation every time they open a browser.
Understanding your data is easier than you think
In order to be successful in search 2022, it is crucial that you focus on data science and analysis. There is so much data to analyze. It’s crucial to make it clear what your business goals are, how they align with metrics, and how you report. Search traffic has a new responsibility to replace lost data due to third-party cookies deprecation. To enable scientific remarketing, better models are required.
Your customer engagement strategy and first-party data strategy can be mastered
Privacy is also a crucial area. It is important for search professionals to discuss how to scale customer engagement and how to use advertisement technology in a compliant manner that supports the business’s ability to drive customer experience and performance. It is important to assess your first-party data strategy, and to look for ways to add that data to the search experience through bidding, messaging, or other means. Google has a lot of information about users. However, there are some unique data that can be used to enhance automation.
Improve your landing page and site experience
Brands are responsible for optimizing landing pages and other aspects of search programs. Search has evolved into a visual battlefield. Just close your eyes, and picture a Google results page. You would have imagined ten links in blue on a screen five years ago. Now, that seems archaic! You probably see a mixture of images, shopping lists, maps, videos, etc. today. This means that your content must be optimized to provide the best information to customers regardless of their query. You must then be ready to provide the information the user needs to move on to the next stage of their journey when they land on your website.
We couldn’t find another way to improve the game within Google Ads for years. Marketers who tinker too much will lose out on the most important components, such as analytics, first-party strategies, and customer experience, rather than getting ahead. All of us need to shift our focus from being practitioners towards these new realities.
Matt Mierzejewski, SVP Performance Marketing Lab and Search at Merkle Inc.
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