PPC Agencies have a long future
This is not an article about the death of the media agency. I am certainly not someone that believes that Google are trying to, or will succeed in, substituting what a PPC agency does with its own machine learning in AdWords. What I believe is that, for a PPC agency to retain its value, it needs to continually create its own automation.
Google will keep developing their machine learning, and it will get better over time. We are already seeing huge steps forward in terms of DSAs, Smart Bidding, eCPC and the many smaller improvements that go on all the time within account management features, and their main search algorithms.
This certainly doesn’t mean that a PPC agency is going to become redundant any time soon. At Brainlabs, we are continually creating our own tech innovations to support account managers and in-house teams: if you can’t code, you probably shouldn’t be in PPC.
Not until AI has reached AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) will there be any genuine existential threat to the role of the PPC agency. So let’s all relax on this front.
With that out the way, I want to explain why automation is so valuable to AdWords account management.
AdWords scripts give you control over bids at scale
With your own bidding algorithm, you can keep track of your changes, analyze what works, and learn more for the future, rather than just allowing a third-party algorithm to make decisions without all the insider business knowledge that you possess.
Scripts can bring in extra data
PPC depends on many factors, not all of which are standard AdWords metrics. You can use scripts to pull Salesforce or Zoho data into AdWords. Code can make your ads and bids change according to the weather or the sports results. It can pause ad groups for out-of-stock products, or even bid in real time based on hotel pricing and availability.
Scripts take care of repetition
Repetitive work is for robots. Humans are meant to use their imaginations, be creative, be strategic, problem solve – all the stuff that makes our brains great. That’s why scripts are so good – all the routine cognitive labour of reporting, managing, monitoring, building can be taken care of by automation, leaving you time to focus on the good stuff.
Scripts overcome limitations
If you use AdWords’s native ad scheduling, you can only schedule six bid changes a day. With code you can change bids every hour. If you set up your campaigns normally, an exact match keyword will pick up any ‘closely matching’ search terms. With code, you can exclude everything but the search term you want. Basically you can do more than the average PPC-er, way more, with the power of code.
Scripting can handle statistics
With an AdWords script, you can build your own experiments. Anything you want to analyse – not just the metrics AdWords enables you to – can be analysed, and then you can build more code to test the statistical significance of your results. No self-respecting data scientist would settle for anything less.
Coding does the worrying for you
A program can watch your accounts all day, every day, so you don’t have to. You can set up emails so you’re warned when URLs break, performance plummets, or budgets are in danger of being exhausted too soon. No more lying awake worrying about empty ad groups, misspelt ad copy, and over-spending. Thank you, science! Automate as much as you can.
How much of the actual work of running a PPC account will we eventually automate? Almost all of it, is my answer. There are no existing academic studies that provide a prediction for this, just my own personal research based on account managers at Brainlabs.
Tech has allowed our account managers to automate 75% of the manual elements of their role, like dealing with search query reports, setting up and monitoring tests, building campaigns and using Bing. They spend their time on more sophisticated tasks like cross-channel strategy, stakeholder reporting, new-market analysis and complex competitor strategies.
Their mission is to increase 75% to 100%. When that day comes, our account managers will not be out of work; in fact, they’ll have greater job security than most people in the labour market, because they will be focused exclusively on the work that no AI will be able to do for a very long time yet.