How Google Ads is changing with AI/ML Learning?

Traditionally, Google Ads had two major issues from advertisers:

1). that broad match is really really broad and Google wastes money on a lot of irrelevant clicks and

2). the bidding process has to be really a full-time job of one person monitoring the account, and only if you really monitor closely can you get great results.

Since 2010, Google has acquired many machine learning companies that will help it to gain better ground in the Google Ads business. The major challenge for Google would be to classify queries on “intention”. Google Ads has been a key focus for the company as they have rolled out multiple smart bidding strategies to help meet each of your campaign’s needs and goals. These bidding strategies use hundreds of signals to make real-time auction bids designed to hit your goals. According to Google,

“These algorithms factor in a wider range of parameters that impact performance than a single person or team could compute. “

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What does it mean for advertisers?

As Google explains, exact match will offer the tightest matches, phrase match will offer moderate matches and broad match will offer loose matches. This is something we know well, but what is changing is that: we are seemingly getting less and less data transparency with every passing day.

  1. Broad match still triggers your ads when searches relate to your keyword, however, it now takes into account a user’s previous search activity, your landing page, and other keywords within an ad group to better determine keyword intent. E.g. the keyword “lawn mowing service” can be triggered by the search terms “lawn aeration prices”.
  2. Phrase match will now trigger your ads when a search term includes the same meaning or intent as your keyword. E.g. the keyword “lawn mowing service” can be triggered by the search terms “lawn mowing service near me”, “hire company to mow lawn” and “landscaping company to cut grass”.
  3. Exact match will now trigger your ads when a search term has the same meaning or intent as your keyword. E.g. the keyword “lawn mowing service” can be triggered by the search terms “lawn mowing service” and “grass cutting service”.

Smart Bidding helps you improve performance by optimizing your bids in real time. To make it even easier for you to achieve your goals, we’re rolling out several new features to help you manage campaigns using Smart Bidding. This doesn’t mean we handover the keys to Google and remove the digital marketing team.

Google Ads announced its top three priorities for 2022: automation, measurement, and privacy. And this is what Google wants us to adopt with more an more emphasis on ML driven types like PMax and Discovery and Smart Bidding. Google Vice-President, Jerry Dischler said: Over 80% of Google advertisers are now using automated bidding to free up time and improve ad performance. Eventually, the line of operation is going to be how does it matter which keywords and which match types and which bidding strategies are used, the ultimate point is to get better-valued conversions, and Google is saying that I will decide the inputs that I think that best drive this. The only issue is that there is a danger that we may need to give the campaigns a lot more time to be trained and to learn than when we use other more restricted match-types.

But, eventually the strategy for any acquisition campaign, whether it be eComm or lead gen, should be to start broad and refine into an efficient ROI machine. Obviously, there are lot of different products specifically for ecommerce like the DSA that works very well. But, largely the approach is to include broad keywords campaigns first; I like to think of broad keywords as research keywords. Phrase and exact match type keywords are designed to target relatively specific search queries, but broad modified keywords allow you to capture a wider variety of search queries without breaking the bank. The ultimate goal here is to discover new and profitable search queries. Of course, the broader you go with your keyword strategy, the more maintenance the account requires (i.e. search query reports). Once each new campaign has been up and running for about 30 – 90 days, depending on the amount of traffic brought in, you should be able to pick out top performing keywords and search queries.

A lot of top agencies observed that – grouping different match-types into one ad-group or segmenting them separately yields different results for different clients. But, when smart bidding is applied, it is clearly seen that grouping different match-types yields better results. I read a paper at Seer Consulting (lost the reference to it), that smart bidding seems to work much better against combined match-types across their clients.

Knowing Google, and knowing that Google knows us well too, it is very clear that Google will want to come out of the stereotype of the broad match becoming literally useless. The new changes to broad-match are of high interest to us. The new parameters given to broad match to help determine meaning and intent does seem to be some sort of resolution for that problem. A broad match search term that would usually look irrelevant to us may actually have come through based on previous relevant searches from the user, is what Google claims now and we have no way to check that but to tie it to conversions data. But on an overall level, given that a broader pool of keywords is recommended when using automated bidding strategies, these changes to broad match are most welcome.

Google has indicated that automation and machine learning are the future for its advertising services. And all signs do seem to indicate that Google is hellbent to make SKAGs obsolete, and reduce the work of day-to-day bidding management and keyword carving. So, what we traditionally thought are the best practices for Google Ads Campaign Structure are now rapidly changing with Google’s AI becoming more mature.

Hope this is useful, thank you.

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