The Good and the Bad of PPC Auto-Optimization Features: A #PPCChat Recap

On June 26, 2018, I hosted a #PPCChat discussion about using automatic optimization features in PPC (such as CPA bidding or the “optimize” ad rotation setting).

#PPCChat is a weekly Twitter chat that occurs every Tuesday at 12 PM ET, touching on a wide range of topics related to PPC.

Throughout the conversation, a number of industry folks offered some great insight into when to use automation, when to avoid it, and how to approach testing it. Here’s a recap of highlights from the discussion.

Almost Everyone Uses Automation

Out of 34 respondents, only 3% said they never use automation. While respondents leaned toward using auto-optimization features with caution, most were willing to embrace them on some level.

Which Automation Features Work Well, and Which Work Poorly?

Responses covered a wide range of opinions on which automation features work well and which ones individuals were less likely to trust. Ultimately, the varying experiences here point to the fact that no two accounts are the same, and what works for one client won’t necessarily work for another. In general, there was some consensus that Facebook’s bid optimization features tend to be better than other platforms.

Accurate Data & Sufficient Data Are Crucial

In order for automation to work properly, sufficient volume is necessary. While the ideal number of conversions varies by platform, you should be aware of thresholds and be cautious about applying automated bidding features in low volume campaigns.

In addition, the accuracy of data is also vital for proper performance. Since automated bidding works from a raw conversion count, if conversions were miscounted for some reason, performance will be thrown off.

Cautions for Using Automation

You should never just mindlessly turn on automation in your campaigns without a background understanding of how it works in a particular platform and how it is likely to play with your particular account. Auto-optimization features should never be treated with a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. They’re here to help you do your job better as a PPC manager, but changes can happen quickly, and you still need to be monitoring performance closely. Participants had several words of warning for using automation.

What’s Next?

We ended the discussion by looking ahead to the future of automation. General predictions included a move away from manual settings, more actions taken behind a “black box,” and smarter integration of data.

What’s Your Take on Automation?

Overall, this topic generated some in-depth discussion from PPC professionals on the benefits, hazards, and future of automation in campaign management. Ultimately, PPC managers need to embrace the fact that automation is here to stay and will become more and more prevalent while knowing when to strike the balance with manual oversight.

What are your thoughts on auto-optimization features in PPC management? Continue the discussion in the comments below!