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Just like you do, some campaigns deserve a good day off! So with the Rule Engine, we found a way to send them on their holidays (automatically)!

One of the many great features of our Rule Engine is that you can import external data into your recipes to use almost any value on a spreadsheet cell as a condition and to trigger very concrete actions. In this example, I’ll show you how to pause a campaign based on a list of dates from a spreadsheet.

The method I’ll share could be useful to pause your campaigns on days when your call center or store is closed or to activate specific campaigns during seasonal events, like Prime Day or Black Friday. 

Step 1: Create a new recipe in Rule Engine 

Create a new Custom Recipe and select “All but removed” in the Campaign status dropdown from the Filters section. This step is essential, as it ensures that the recipe runs on both Enabled and Paused campaigns.

Step 2: Set up the spreadsheet

Make a copy of this spreadsheet. In the “Campaigns” sheet, you need to add all the data for the campaigns you want the recipe to modify based on the list of dates (“Dates” sheet).

To make this easier, you can download your list of campaigns from the “Connect External Data” section in the Rule Engine by clicking on “Get Sample Data For Your Account”. 

Now, copy and paste the mandatory data for CampaignId and CampaignName in the corresponding cells. 

Step 3: Set up the list of dates when the automation needs to do something with your campaign

On the “Dates” sheet we have the list of dates used for the comparisons we make within the spreadsheet (so it can see if today’s date is on the list of special dates when something needs to happen). There, you’ll have to add the dates you want to use (make sure to follow the same format). Note that by default, this spreadsheet includes the list of US public holidays (2019-2020).

Step 4: Create your date-driven automation!

Now here’s where the fun starts! – let’s build the rules. 

The first rule takes care of the campaigns when the cells in the Holiday column are “Yes”. When that’s the case, we apply two actions:

1. We label the campaign (for the example we’ll use: Paused by Holiday Recipe)

2. And then we pause the campaign

The second rule does the opposite. It’ll take care of re-enabling the campaign once the cells in the Holiday column say “No”.

It’s important to only check the campaigns labeled by the previous rule. That’s why we add the condition “Label Name is equal to Paused by Holiday Recipe” – It has to be the same label!

The two actions for this rule are:

1. Remove the label we added with the first Rule (Paused by Holiday Recipe)

2. Re-enable the campaigns

Step 4: Test, preview, automate 

Voilà! The recipe has been created

Now preview the suggestions, and if everything looks ok, you can automate it to run daily.


Try it out! If you have any questions, or if you’d like us to have a look at your recipe before you start running it just email us: support@optmyzr.com – and we’ll be glad to help you.

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Pay-Per-Click seems to undergo a revolutionary change every 15 minutes or so these days. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but advancements in automation, AI and machine learning are driving dramatic changes for PPC pros, and we know it can be difficult to keep up with the changes.

“Automation” can be a frightening word for people, possibly indicating one is on a road to their own obsolescence. But at Optmyzr, we see automation (and its cousins, artificial intelligence and machine learning) as empowerment for smart PPC pros who want to become PPC rockstars. 

Today, our view of automation is manifested in our newest product to hit the market – Optmyzr Campaign Automator. We formally introduced this standalone SaaS-based software offering via a news release and social media. Campaign Automator is ideal for building and maintaining campaigns based on a feed of structured data (think about inventory feed and the value starts to become quite clear).

Campaign Automator is an exciting new tool in the PPC expert’s toolkit, and it dovetails elegantly with our broader PPC Management Suite. Campaign automator allows you to build and maintain PPC campaigns, particularly for inventory-specific initiatives. Consider businesses such as auto dealerships, travel agencies, home goods retailers, or eCommerce programs that have constantly changing, deep attribute-based aspects that impact what, how, when, and to whom you market. 

A sudden jump in SUV or truck inventory means a car dealership will want to reach those buyers actively searching for specific attributes about heavy duty vehicles. You’ll want to advertise only those vehicles that are in stock or be more aggressive on perhaps those that are overstocked. Similarly an eCommerce provider that has a surge (or slump) in inventory for very specific product sets may have a sudden need to sell more window fans and patio furniture as opposed to last week’s surge in loveseats and ottomans. 

Campaign Automator At-A-Glance

Here’s a quick view of how campaign automator works: We start with specific templates for the business or product type. It builds all the necessary elements, including campaigns, ad groups, ads, keywords and extensions. 

Simply connect your data source with one of our templates. Your feed could be an inventory spreadsheet in Google Sheets or a Merchant Feed or multiple other sources such as an XML feed, FTP or even Amazon S3. 

A really intuitive UI makes setting up campaigns a snap.

Then continue through the setup process to easily define the campaign, keywords and ads – all of which is template driven. 

Campaign Automator also allows you to set up very specific inventory-based conditions to help manage the data in the spreadsheet.

You can manage campaigns based on any attribute that is part of your source data – product type, color, discount amounts, geographies, and many others. These conditions can automate pauses in ad groups, keywords and ads when certain thresholds are met, such as inventory = 0 or a specific color is out of stock or you’ve run through the inventory you want to discount.

Here’s an example of how one can quickly create dynamic PPC ads for a car dealership.  

Campaign Automator - Inventory Driven Google Ads - YouTube
Integration with Other Optmyzr Tools

Yes, it’s standalone – but Campaign Automator integrates with other Optmyzr tools, such as Rule Engine and Bid Management. It even integrates with Google Smart Bidding tools. The result is a powerful set of tools that allows the PPC pro to get campaigns up and running faster, make bulk changes quickly and accurately, and advertise only those items that meet specific criteria. 

Campaign Automator also provides significant manual override, allowing the PPC pro to put his or her expertise to work quickly and easily. You’ll get better ads – faster – when you take advantage of the automation and unprecedented control. PPC pros can cut out wasted ad spend and gain flexible, powerful reporting to make smarter decisions, faster. 

Automation And Your Future

We’ve been talking about automation a lot over the last several months, because it has such a tremendous impact on our ability to market smarter, faster and more effectively. It’s also important to note that we don’t envision a future where machines do everything in PPC. But by automating tasks and the busy work of search marketing, we encourage PPC pros to up their strategic game and demonstrate a more holistic value to the organization. 

Our automations help you take advantage of the advancements happening at Google and Bing – but they also help you focus less on the tasks and more on the strategy. Machines are great. People are great. But people + machines is always better. 

Ride the wave of automation. It’s not a threat. It’s an opportunity.

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Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation are three trending topics in the industry today. It’s an accepted fact that automation is here to stay so it’s our job to learn how to make the most of it for our PPC accounts. In my book “Digital Marketing in an AI World”, I explain that one of the roles humans will have to play when their old job has been automated is that of the “PPC Doctor”: someone who knows the right medicine for their patient and who also understands potentially dangerous interactions. This post covers one such interaction that can lead to disastrous results in PPC.

We’re talking here about Google Ads’ smart bidding strategies. Even though they’re designed to help advertisers reach a determined goal, they lack the human intuition for understanding how to deal with gray areas, and are prone to bad decisions when they’re fed bad data. Specifically, they can do major damage to accounts that are using last-click attribution (LCA) models.

Understanding Last-Click Attribution Model

Last-Click is one of the 6 different attribution models offered by Google Ads. It gives all the credit to the ad and keyword which was last clicked before a conversion.

For example, let’s say you are advertising athletic shoes. There’s a sequence of queries done by a user that goes something like this: “Sneakers” > “Running Shoes” > “Adidas Running Shoes” and finally they search for “Ultraboost 19”. This is just a simple example to illustrate that users tend to start with broad queries and get more specific as they get to understand what it is they might want to buy.

If your campaign is using the Last-Click attribution (LCA) model, then all the credit for the conversion will be given to the ad shown for the final query: “Ultraboost 19”, and no credit will be given to any of the queries that preceded it.

Conversion Funnels and LCA

So why is this so bad? When you give all the credit to the last-clicked ad/keyword, it’s like saying you don’t think there was any value to all the queries along the way that helped the user become aware and familiar with your offering. You’re assuming the user would have discovered to search for “Ultraboost 19” without having been exposed to any of your other ads. This is generally a false assumption, especially for consumers who are not very familiar with your brand and its latest offerings.

Consumers today have more interactions than ever before with brands while researching what to buy. Brands that are not present at the earlier stages of a user’s discovery process may not be in contention to win their business later down the line.

So using last-click attribution would mean that “Sneakers”, “Running Shoes” or “Adidas Running Shoes” are assigned no value.

Attribution Models Inform Optimizations

Why is it so important to assign the correct value? Doesn’t the attribution model just change the numbers in reports? The answer is ‘no,’ the attribution model populates the conversion and conversion value metrics and most account managers rely on these to decide where to allocate their budgets, where to change bids, what queries to add as keywords, and what negative keywords to add.

This could all be okay if a human was managing all this manually. For example, while the lack of conversions for a keyword like ‘sneakers’ might normally be grounds for a bid reduction, an account manager would likely realize that they’d still want to bid for this keyword. Human judgment would win out over purely following some logical rules and the account might do fine.

But like I said before, automation is increasingly doing more of the day-to-day account management and it lacks the human judgment that averted disaster in this scenario of an advertiser using last-click attribution.

Smart Bidding + Last-Click Attribution

When last-click attribution is being used, the keywords “Sneakers”, “Running Shoes” or “Adidas Running Shoes” from the example above, will be reported as non-converting, although they are still valuable keywords because they help consumers unfamiliar with your brand discover your brand’s offerings as they do their research.

Now here’s where results can get really bad… by combining bid automation with last-click attribution. The job of automated bidding, like target CPA (tCPA) or target ROAS (tROAS) bidding from Google, is to calculate the appropriate CPC that is needed for the ad to enter the auction.

The ‘right’ CPC is determined one of two ways:

  1. For tCPA, Google uses the predicted conversion rate to calculate CPC
  2. For tROAS, Google uses the predicted conversion value for a click to set the CPC

But if the attribution model hasn’t been assigning conversions to upper-funnel searches, it will predict that conversion rate will be low and that the value per click will be low. So now the automated bidding system will start to reduce bids for these upper funnel keywords. And eventually bids will get so low that the ads may stop showing altogether.

This is bad because it means you’re reducing the volume of prospects who will be exposed to your brand at earlier stages. Eventually your funnel just dries up and the only sales you’re left with are those from people who already knew your brand and products very well — the people who knew to search for “Ultraboost 19”.

Final Thoughts

Considering the significant risk of making bad decisions for the reasons explained above, we advise all our customers to switch away from using Last-Click attribution. If anything, simply switch to a time-decay model which is most similar to last-click while still giving some value to all stages of the funnel.

When it comes to automations like smart bidding strategies, or automated bids using another platform, knowing how they interact with your measurement systems is an absolute must if you want to avert an account blowup.

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Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) were announced by Google Ads last year and are now available for all advertisers globally. This new ad format allows you to enter up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, all of which should work together to produce a compelling ad.

Responsive Search Ads

If you’ve been holding off on adding RSAs to all your ad groups because the process of coming up with 15 great headlines and 4 descriptions is too time-consuming, Optmyzr has a great time-saving tool to help. It suggests ad text components from your existing expanded text ads and allows quick edits across entire campaigns. This post will show you how the RSA Builder from Optmyzr can help you quickly deploy RSAs across all the accounts and campaigns you manage.

What are Responsive Search Ads

For this new ad format, Google Ads’ system uses machine learning (ML) to put together the best combination of headlines and descriptions, taken from the ad text components you’ve provided. By having multiple headlines and descriptions to work with, your ad’s message can be better tailored to each user’s unique query, thereby reaching more potential customers.

This Responsive Search Ad format also adapts very well to different devices and has the potential to increase the overall ad group performance.

At Optmyzr we’re committed to making PPC account management as simple and hassle-free as possible, so to help with this new ad format, we created the Responsive Search Ad Builder, which works by gathering the ad components from your current expanded text ads and using them to generate suggestions for the headlines and descriptions that’ll be contained in your new Responsive Search Ads.

The way it works is straightforward, you’ll first choose the campaign to work on, and which source we should use to suggest new ad text components. You’ll also see the option to add more headlines and/or descriptions (up to 15H and 4D) and modify the path 1 & 2, and the final URL. As always, nothing will be created or uploaded without your final approval.

One of the great benefits of our tool is that you can approve all new RSAs at once or review them one by one, and then upload them in bulk directly to your Google Ads account.

Responsive Search Ads are a great way to display more relevant ads and improve your reach to more prospective customers, by helping you compete in more auctions that would otherwise require creating multiple ads. We explained the incremental nature of RSAs in our monthly column on Search Engine Land.

How to create RSAs with Optmyzr

To get started you’ll be selecting the campaign to work on, and how we’ll be suggesting new ad text components. This can be either from all active ads in the campaign or all active ads within the same ad group, the latter being the most common and recommended option.

Once you’ve selected which settings to use, you’ll go straight into the tool where you’ll have all the ad groups displayed to the left side and all the ad components towards the right side. The ad groups marked with orange have not been reviewed, and therefore no changes will be made. Once you edit, review and approve the changes, they will turn to green, which means they’ll be added to the list of RSAs to be uploaded.

The suggestions showed for headlines and descriptions can be modified for only that ad group, of for every ad group which is using that piece of text. This makes a great way for bulk edit and creation of RSAs. Likewise, you can add a new headline or description and in the same way use it only for that ad group, or for all ad groups.

Once you’ve edited and approved the ads you want to upload, simply press on “Review and Upload Approved Ads” and you’ll see a final summary of what will be created. From then, and with your approval, your changes will go live in Google Ads.

Optmyzr’s Responsive Search Ads Builder is a great way of making bulk modifications and RSA creation across your campaigns. It’s time-saving, simple to use and very convenient, as it would otherwise take much longer to do this process one by one.

You can see a speed comparison video here:

Creating RSAs Faster with Optmyzr - YouTube
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As the Spring conference season winds down, in-the-know search marketers have a lot of fresh insight following a packed SMX Advanced in Seattle. Start-to-finish, organizers and everyone at Third Door Media hosted another powerful elite search marketing event.

The impact of machines, artificial intelligence, data, and ongoing innovations from Google and Bing were evident across sessions this week. But it’s also clear we, as search marketers and PPC pros, still have a lot to learn and contribute in the increasingly AI-fueled universe in which we work.

Automation & Your Role in PPC

For one of my two presentations at SMX, I participated in a panel, “Next Generation Automation.” Core to the session, we focused on two levels of automation to consider if you want to grow your business – whether as an agency or the in-house PPC expert:

  1. Automations provided by the engines (e.g. Smart Bidding)
  2. Automations you create to streamline your in-house processes

Not surprisingly, many PPC pros spend much more time thinking about the first level than the second. However, PPC rockstars flip that mindset and focus more time and energy on the automations they can do in concert with the built-in automations that keep expanding within Google and Bing. How your own automations interact with the big engines’ automations can set your game apart from competitors.

Think specifically about automations that can streamline workflows. For example, you can set up workflows that automatically assign tasks to the right account managers and present the account managers with a filtered list of things to do. So the machine makes some suggestions for the person to review.

You can also layer your automations. Think about creating a tool that monitors an automation like ‘close variant keywords’ from Google and automatically flags low performance variants, and possibly even automatically breaks these out as new keywords with lower bids or as negative keywords. This is quite easy to do in Optmyzr with the Rule Engine. No scripts required.

The examples above just scratch the surface of what PPC pros can do with automations you can do on your own – in tandem with the expanding automations within the big engines. We explored automation through scripts earlier this year, which is always a good topic to revisit.

SEM Keynote: Machines & Automation

Machine learning, AI and automation were common threads through many SMX sessions, including the Tuesday keynote session that featured four top thinkers in our industry.

Ginny Marvin was part of that keynote group. As SEL Editor-in-chief and one of the people on the 25 Most Influential PPC Experts list, Ginny has authority when she says we can’t reverse the trend of automation so we need to figure out how to coexist with it. She also gave a nice shout-out that my book “Digital Marketing in an AI World” is very topical.

When Ginny talks about machine learning (ML), she likens it to going on an airplane flight with a toddler. When parents attempt this feat the first time, it’s typically horrible because the toddler doesn’t know how to behave and parents have unreasonable expectations – plus they didn’t buy the now-seemingly-giant toddler their own seat. The next trip, that parent takes his or her learnings and decides that buying the child his own seat will help a lot and they teach him how to behave on a plane. Before they know it, the increasingly travel-savvy parent has a teenager who’s a pleasure to fly with and who even helps carry the family bags.

ML is much like flying with kids. You need reasonable expectations and must work hard to teach the machine what you expect of it.

Ginny’s topic snowballed perfectly with the keynote portion by Nic Darveau-Garneau, Google’s  Chief Search Evangelist. Nic spoke extensively about how ML can only work well if you give it good goals. When possible, don’t give it proxy goals but give it the real goal you care about so it can optimize for that.

Advertisers have grown so accustomed to measuring and optimizing everything, so they unrealistically expect EVERY click to be profitable. But the new camp of advertisers knows the focus should be on in-channel profitability, which allows the ML to figure out where to best allocate budget and set bids for the overall best performance.

“How your own automations interact with the big engines’ automations can set your game apart from competitors.”

Part of transitioning from the old to the new camp is to shift the expectations of your boss or client. Don’t give a keyword-by-keyword breakdown of ROAS. Instead, show them how their budget can drive profitability over the next three years. Nic laid out a beautiful vision, but I believe the PPC pro still needs to know where to optimize so those more detailed reports are useful to inform new strategies. For example, if you ignore the details of RSA performance, you won’t know that perhaps the ML is stuck because you gave it bad headline variations to choose from. As a smart PPC pro (and possibly one using the new RSA Builder from Optmyzr), you can act on these insights and help get the absolute best performance out of each channel.

Discussing PPC Automation with Ginny Marvin

During a rare moment of “downtime” at SMX, I appreciated the opportunity to catch up 1:1 with Ginny for an upcoming podcast. She graciously did a recorded interview with me about my book, specifically talking about how the changing role of the PPC professional as machines take over more and more of our daily tasks.

Clearly there are opportunities for PPC pros to elevate their game and be much more strategic. The machines may seem like a threat to our roles in marketing, but as Ginny and I discussed, they actually provide great opportunity for us to get out of the weeds and the tasks and put our critical thinking, strategic minds, and our creativity to use much more effectively.

Here’s what is really exciting: We are only scratching the surface of what machines and AI will do for our industry in the coming years. Position yourself well to ride the wave of AI-infused PPC. Don’t fear the machines. Work WITH them. After all, People + machines = always better.

We’ll let you know when Ginny’s podcast is up and we’ll provide some additional takeaways from SMX in Seattle in the coming days.

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Search marketing is at an interesting place in its evolution. The industry is maturing, but at the same time evolving at speeds more like a Silicon Valley startup. We find ourselves in the midst of yet another era of hyper-fast innovation and change, leaving marketers with a whole new set of challenges to figure out.

That’s why it’s great that we get industry leaders together at many conferences throughout the year, including SMX Advanced in Seattle next week. These conferences help keep us all on top of everything new. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are creating opportunities to automate many of the core functions of search marketing.

All of this can be exciting – and overwhelming – for search marketers and PPC rockstars who have to adapt to changes on the fly. Many are left wondering if they will even have a role in PPC or if they’ll be automated out of a job.

Machines + People: More Essential Than Ever

The Optmyzr team devotes a significant portion of our time staying on top of the innovations, changes and opportunities happening at breakneck speed.

I’ll be presenting during a couple of deep-dive sessions at SMX in Seattle June 4 & 5. Tuesday afternoon, Brad Geddes, Duane Brown and I will chair a discussion entitled “Automation: The Next Generation.” It’s always a pleasure to be on stages and webcasts with these two top professionals. We’ll preview what’s ahead for more automation as machines help the search engines and third-party providers like Optmyzr streamline the tasks associated with PPC.

Wednesday I’ll be on stage with Susan Wenograd, one of the new senior leaders at Aimclear. Susan and I will conduct the Advanced SEM Clinic to close out the morning sessions. Among key topics, we’ll explore the role of automation, AI, and machine learning to help PPC pros understand their opportunities in SEM moving forward.

The Impact of Automation on PPC

A few key things come to mind as we prepare for yet another important industry conference. Mentioned earlier, search marketers understandably look at the future with excitement, mixed with some angst. After all, robots and automation have rendered a lot of manufacturing jobs obsolete. Is the same outcome inevitable in our space?

Not likely. Here are a few things to consider:  

First, let’s look at smart bidding. This process was ripe for automation and, thanks to innovations at Google and Bing (and Optmyzr), much of it is automated. Exploring a bit deeper, though, the need for a different, more strategic human role is evident. Smart bidding is far from “set-it-and-forget-it.” In fact, Google now offers MORE levers for advertisers to better inform bid automation that matters to specific business types.

Take, for example, the deeper abilities to manage seasonal bid adjustments, conversion value rules, creating separate conversion goals by campaign. Machines can only do so much for each of these. The smart PPC pro can apply his or her time and knowledge on much more strategic aspects of bid management. Rather than schlepping through tasks, the PPC pro can actually apply more energy to higher level strategy.

Second, it’s clear that in-platform management of campaigns is becoming much easier and automated. In many instances, more junior level PPC pros can run the majority of campaigns without any real challenge.

Managing across platforms, however, is becoming quite challenging. Google, Bing, Amazon – they are all creating walled gardens to keep people in their system. Tools like Optmyzr help bridge those gaps and make it easier to optimize across the platforms and see the connections and comparisons to help them make more informed decisions to boost performance in total. Insights gleaned from performance in one platform will be tapped for actions in another. No more walls.

Third, as more point solution automation options become available, PPC pros must figure out the interaction of seemingly disparate automations. Think about the challenge of figuring out how good responsive search ads are. On the surface, it seems RSAs offer lower conversion rates. But they also automate against entirely new queries, so the gains are strictly incremental. It takes a PPC rockstar to think beyond the singular metric when multiple automations may be at play – and find value others may miss.

Here’s another example: What happens with smart bidding if you also have an automation that turns campaigns off before the end of day? Is there a risk that the smart bidding system may have been holding back spend for later in the day, but the automated shut-off interfered with that action? The human expert is required to assess the deep-in-the-weeds strategy and understand the interplay of automations and potential consequences.

Futureproof YOUR Agency & Career

Automation is exciting, intimidating, challenging, even troublesome – but in total it’s a great thing for our industry and the humans who can connect the dots. Smart PPC pros are the ones who will embrace the innovations that are fueled by AI and machine learning. They’ll understand their value in the equation Machines + People = Better.

If you are attending SMX in Seattle, I hope to see you in one of my sessions or in a hallway or networking session. Invest your time at the event to map out your future in our industry.

And shameless plug time! A reminder that my new book (which has already become a best seller in the Online Advertising category on Amazon), “Digital Marketing in an AI World: Futureproofing Your PPC Agency” is now available on Amazon. I plan to have a few copies with me at SMX. The book digs deeper into the AI revolution in our industry and provides a tangible guide for PPC pros to claim their space in the next frontier of PPC. I hope you check it out.

See you in Seattle!

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The Optmyzr team is excited to see our cofounding CEO, Fred Vallaeys, publish a new book: “Digital Marketing in an AI World”. It’s now out and available on Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback.

The book explores the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning – specifically how it is changing the world for PPC professionals. We see this book as a survive-and-THRIVE guide for PPC pros navigating a universe where some fear being automated right into obsolescence.

As Fred shares in his book, the new AI era is actually a time of unprecedented opportunity for PPC pros who aspire to be PPC rockstars. We’ve been saying for a long time that machines and AI are amazing and can do things humans cannot do. But machines PLUS humans makes an even more powerful force. Fred’s book is essential for PPC pros at agencies and in-house alike.

At the core, AI and machine learning certainly eliminate tasks and automate the tasks that should be automated. Smart PPC pros are the ones who use that automation to redirect their energy and attention to chart bold new strategies and spend more time on the strategic, human elements of marketing.

Fred’s book is out on Amazon today at special introductory pricing. Order between now and Friday, May 31, 2019, and get the Kindle version for an introductory price of $0.99. The Kindle price returns to full retail of only $9.99 on June 1, and the paperback version is available for $15.99.  

If you are attending SMX in Seattle, Fred will host an advanced SEM clinic, which promises to be a don’t-miss session. He’ll have copies of the book with him available for purchase (and we think he’ll even sign those copies!).

PPC pros who want to up their game and turn uncertainty into opportunity as a PPC rockstar should invest in this book. It may very well have a transformational impact on your PPC career.

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Sitting in the front of the main keynote today, it’s clear Google Marketing Live is an essential experience for anyone who works in the PPC trenches. Let’s face it – Google Ads will continue to change at breakneck pace and introduce changes that can make or break a PPC pro’s next few months. It’s essential to stay on top of what is announced by Google at their premier event for marketers.

This year’s event has a lot of focus around new ad experiences for users, the latest on video experiences, branding, and (of course) the mobile web and apps. We’re here to make sure the Optmyzr team is on top of the evolution to continually push powerful automation tools to help you continue to strive for PPC rockstar status. Read our tweets and see videos we took at the keynote.

Fred's Quick Take at Google Marketing Live 2019 Keynote - YouTube

Here are some of our initial key takeaways from the day 1 keynote in San Francisco.

New Experiences to Satisfy Consumer Expectations

With such a huge chunk of search activity happening on smartphones, and to a lesser degree voice assistants with screens — what Google refers to as ‘surfaces’ —  consumers are increasingly interacting more with Google on smaller screens. The consumer is expecting ever-improving quality in the results – not just in terms of information received, but in the overall experience. When the screen is smaller, the information — including ads — has to be better.

Your brand’s presence in those results (paid, in particular) is critical. The small screen is also becoming a primary content and video consumption hub for hundreds of millions of people. Google responded with the expanded offering of Shopping Ads to YouTube and Google Discover. Coming mid summer, the expanded opportunities with Shopping Ads will allow for broader distribution of immersive search ad experiences for the consumer.

Google also announced entirely redesigned search experiences for retail and travel and both have ways to let advertisers connect with prospective new customers. Google Discover helps consumers discover must-buy products while consuming a feed. The redesigned Google Travel experience which is launching today offers ways for travel advertisers to find more buyers for experiences, hotel rooms, and flights.

They also announced Gallery Ads, a more visual ad format for the ‘absolute top’ position ads on mobile searches.

Smart(er) Bidding

Of course, we’re talking one of our favorite topics! (and the Optmyzr team will be busy quickly incorporating the latest from Google). Google Ads unveiled new capabilities for smart bidding that allow PPC pros to choose desired conversion actions for optimization at the campaign level.

Those action sets can then be applied across campaigns. Other new bidding capabilities include:

  • Optimizing for store visit conversions;
  • Creating rules that determine conversion value for conversions;
  • Seasonal bid adjustments, which will also exclude the dates connected to a seasonal event (like a short term sale) from machine learning models that predict the usual conversion rates.
  • A new Smart Bidding strategy for search called ‘Maximize Conversion Value’

Really cool in this is the ability to set rules that will make it easier to adapt conversion values by audience type and then fine-tune bids according to specific value.

Insights and Information

Machine learning and AI continue to fuel so much of the innovation coming out of Google. The company is deepening offerings that will make it easier to:

  • Apply learnings from the black box
  • See a more complete pathway to conversion
  • Understand the relative value of customers (i.e. which are the most valuable)

We’re particularly keen on applying the latest from Google into the Optmyzr platform to help PPC pros connect the dots in a growing avalanche of data and insight. Being able to explain why a machine learning system made certain decisions and then using that insight across other clients will be a big win for advertisers.

Campaign/Program Management & Measurement

The more things get “automated” the more complex and challenging they can be. Google is introducing some interesting management functions designed to put more control in the PPC pro’s hands. Specifically, we got a glimpse into some interesting new tools & functionality, ideally to help:

  • Keep pace with increased complexity as more users search via a growing roster of devices and device types;
  • Shift the focus from planning by channel to planning by the customer;
  • Access new cross-channel inventory with a single click.

Measurement is also front and center this year. The Google team is tackling:

  • Better ways to measure campaign performance and impact while striking the delicate balance with user privacy;
  • Enhancing visibility and control through improved Ads Data Hub.

Even by Google standards, the latter elements create some of the most challenging problems to solve.

More to Come

The topics and news coming out of Google today are far reaching and will have a huge impact on our industry throughout 2019. A small sampling of other news/topics includes:

  • A new custom audience tool that replaces the custom affinity tool. This means audiences will work across G-channels, with an audience expansion tool that will help marketers increase their reach. Look for this one later in 2019.
  • Powerful new creative tools that put more control in the hands of those creating and testing video ad content, including automated creation of 6-second bumper ads, pulling from your own short YouTube videos.
  • Audio ad inventory that is now available in Display & Video 360.
  • Deep linking to apps in Google Ads via iOS and Android, along with deeper app conversion reporting.
  • Retailers can get budget for shopping ads from the brands they sell. Brands can decide what products or categories to fund for their retailers.
  • Local campaigns are becoming available to all advertisers with new ways to reach consumers when they do local searches and get directions.

The Optmyzr team is on the ground here and taking in everything we can (while putting our Google roots to good use to get great front-row seats as well as networking with the Who’s Who in the land of Google for even deeper insights). Look for more detailed recaps in the days following GML, and we’ll be crafting our own solutions to help you extract the greatest value from the ever-expanding set of tools in Google.

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Microsoft product teams shed some light on their automation roadmap for the coming year.

Automation features in beta
  • Maximize conversions and target CPA bid strategies for DSA campaigns
  • Responsive search ads (RSAs)
Automation features coming soon
  • Maximize Clicks bid strategy for shopping campaigns
  • Option to select which conversions to include for conversion based automated bidding
  • Target ROAS bid strategy for search and shopping campaigns
  • Smart search campaigns
What role will people play when it’s all automated?

I asked the Microsoft team their thoughts on Smart campaigns and whether these would compete with the services an agency might offer their clients.

Right now their sentiment is that Smart campaigns are intended to help small direct advertisers who don’t know much about PPC and who don’t have the help from an agency or a tool like Optmyzr. It’s a way to bring more advertisers onto the Microsoft Advertising platform and help them see success. Sophisticated advertisers will still want to continue using the traditional campaign types where they have more controls.

Are Smart Display and Smart Shopping coming?

The Smart campaigns that are on the roadmap are only for search right now. Microsoft did not announce a timeline for Smart Display and Smart Shopping campaigns.

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The role and relevance of PPC in the broader digital advertising mix just got a little bigger today (okay…maybe a LOT bigger). This week, Microsoft is unveiling a newly branded “Microsoft Advertising” and is shedding the more-limiting “Bing Ads” monniker. We’re already seeing this is more than just a name change.

Microsoft is rolling out the branding changes to its PPC advertising platform at this week’s Global Partner Summit in Redmond. The decision to rebrand the expanding presence of Bing Ads in the search landscape is clearly a move to demonstrate its broader capabilities and deeper connections to Microsoft’s overall engagement strategies.

Why is Microsoft doing this? Think back to July 2018 when Google did something similar, renaming AdWords to Google Ads. Clearly a move to demonstrate the platform had gone far beyond text ads, requiring a broader name.

Microsoft’s motivation is clearly rooted in some of the same notion. Pay-Per-Click advertising has moved way beyond matching up search terms and intent with advertising opportunities to drive action. Microsoft is aligning Microsoft Advertising (the platform formerly known as Bing Ads) with the broader aspects of search marketing. In its announcement today, Microsoft led with the notion about “making each connection feel one-to-one, at just the right time and place.”

By rebranding to Microsoft Advertising, the company can more readily connect what it’s doing in the PPC world with other marketing-specific products such as the Microsoft Audience Network. The company is also planning to develop a deeper connection to its partner program, which is now known as the “Microsoft Ads Partner Program.”

In tandem to the name change for Bing Ads, Microsoft is unveiling a new Sponsored Products offering. This new program brings innovative new alignment of marketing efforts between manufacturers (brands) and sellers (retailers). New reporting and optimization opportunities make it easier for brands and retailers to partner more directly for shared success.

Growth, Momentum, Direction

Google still holds the lion’s share of the market, particularly in the US, but Microsoft seems to be stepping on the gas more aggressively now. After 100 consecutive months of market share growth for Bing and it’s strategic push with Verizon Media, Microsoft can no longer have a perception that Bing Ads is a singular, in-the-corner PPC business. The platform and opportunities are expanding significantly, driven in large part by rapid advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Four must-know takeaways from today’s announcement:

  1. Bing (the search engine) is still Bing. Microsoft is not abandoning the consumer-recognized search platform’s brand at all (no need to mess with something that is gaining traction against Google). Bing users will still go to bing.com to launch their search journey. The branding change is all about the ad platform associated with Bing.

  2. Microsoft perhaps sees some of the biggest opportunity around the Sponsored Products offering. This is important because brand owners can gain greater visibility into how their products are performing through their retailers, driving much deeper insight. When a retailer and brand are both running products ads today, it’s not clear to the brand owner how their product is really faring in the market. They only see stats from their own campaigns.

    With new sponsored products opportunities, the brand can get a more complete picture by seeing how their products perform when advertised through the retailers.

  3. Retailers can benefit from these changes too because the door opens wider to forge agreements in which the brands themselves could pick up part of the advertising costs. Shared benefits = shared interests.

  4. We expect to see continued improvement in the consumer experience through the Bing search platform. Combined with a continuing trend of market share gains for Bing, we expect the changes to drive even more clicks to product ads, which is a category of ads that has been surging in volume for the last few years, in particular.

Bing and Google will undoubtedly continue to duke it out for search supremacy. It may be one of the best examples of healthy competition in the marketplace. With each move by the big players, they need to deliver greater value to the consumers and the advertisers who pay to engage with people in the moment.

Let’s not forget our friends at Amazon who continue to work their wizardry to capture shopping intent and drive conversion. The Optmyzr team is studying every move by these players and we’re working closely with them to ensure we can simplify the work you do in the trenches to be the PPC rockstar your clients demand.

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