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PPC automation series: part 2 – Ad writing & testing

19 Nov 2018
By atom42

In part 1 of our PPC automation series, we talked about bidding. Here, in part 2, we’re going to cover the different ways in which you can automate the ad creation process (or at least partially) – once more with the goal of giving you more time to focus on work that really matters.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Handing full control to Google with Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs)

Dynamic Search Ads offer advertisers the ability to semi-automate the ad creation process, alongside full automation of keyword & landing page selection. As you may know, DSAs are created after Google crawls your site for pages to promote, dynamically chooses keywords it deems relevant, and then shows ads. Ad headlines are dynamically created, but you have to write a series of descriptions for the system to use.

We don’t generally recommend DSAs. Whilst they can be useful in very large accounts for mining new keywords, they should not be viewed as an alternative to a well structured, well optimised account. Understanding the consumer and the market you operate in, choosing the right keywords, choosing the most appropriate landing pages, and writing standout ad text, is still best-understood by a human. Whilst machine learning has come a long way when it comes to data-led decisions like bidding, it has not yet come far enough to understand the nuances of strategy, empathy for consumer needs, and as such is likely to lead to suboptimal performance.

Creating dynamically changing ads with business data and IF statements

By uploading a feed of business data to your Google Ads account, you’re able to create ad templates which use dynamic parameters (in the same way as dynamic keyword insertion) to import specific information or values. For example, you can pull in dynamic pricing or stock information, item colours, sizing, and so forth. This can be used to make your ads stand out against competitors. For example for an estate agent client of ours, we insert local-level house price & sale statistics into ads to add value to the searcher in that location.

You can also use IF statements in your ads to vary the content that is shown dependent on certain conditions being met, for example showing different ad text to a user searching on mobile vs desktop, or different ads to people on your remarketing lists.

Automate your ad testing with Google’s in-built ‘Ad Variations’

Instead of creating multiple versions of ads to test and analysing the results manually, Google Ads has a useful feature called Ad Variations (found within the ‘drafts & experiments’ section). Here you’re able to create variations of existing ads, by:

  • Finding & replacing certain text
  • Changing text entirely
  • Swapping headlines 1 & 2 around

The tests will then run automatically, giving you comparative stats and statistical significance with which to make decisions on which ad variation was better for performance. This is a great way to perform quick ad group, campaign or even account-wide ad tests. For the latest way to test many ad variations within a single ad group however, try Responsive Search Ads…

Supercharge your automated ad testing with Responsive Search Ads

One of the latest Google Ads products to be released, and one which is essentially a supercharged version of the Ad Variations product. Responsive Search Ads give you the ability to write 15 headlines and 4 description lines for an ad group, which Google then creates combinations of and tests against each other to find the best performers. You have the added benefit of getting longer descriptions (90 characters vs 80) and saving a lot of time on ad testing. Just ensure that any and all variations will work together, as you’ll always want your ads to make sense. Whilst not truly automated, this is possibly the easiest and most effective way to test ads.

That’s all for now. Next up, in our final part, we’ll be talking about automating the reporting & analysis process!

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