Google AdWords & the Era of AI

Digital advertising has changed tremendously in the past few years. The growth of the internet and advancements in technology have contributed to immense innovation in the world of online advertising. However, with growth comes challenges that are faced by today’s digital marketers.

The rise of ad blockers, ad fraud, flawed data collection and analysis, complicated ad technology, and lack of training are a few roadblocks marketers face today. This prevents them from tapping the full potential of online advertising channels. The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), or machine learning, could be the answer to these challenges and has the potential to mold the entire marketing landscape as we know it.

During Google’s I/O keynote in 2017, CEO Sundar Pichai shared Google’s shift in approach from a mobile first world to an AI first world. So, what does Google have in store for the digital marketers in 2018? As quoted by Google experts, “Machine learning can analyze countless signals in real time and reach consumers with more useful ads at the right moments.” Google AdWords can now help marketers gain more control over owning the right audience segment to target. People consume information, make online purchases, read and research on their mobile phones and tablets, and continue the same over their desktops and laptops. Mapping this journey across multiple devices used to be a difficult task, but it is now possible because of AI.

Thanks to machine learning, here are some of the AdWords search features that will benefit marketers:

  1. Improved Smart Bidding – When a Google search is performed, AdWords optimizes bids considering multiple signals, which include device, location (physical and intent), day, time, and demographics. However, the improved smart bidding system now strategizes to “maximize conversions,” which doesn’t need a max CPA bid to work. It’s useful in determining the optimal CPA of a campaign and working backwards to meet the ROI targets.
  2. In-Market Search Audience – Previously, this feature was only available for display and YouTube advertising. Now that this feature is available for search, advertisers can target users or audiences who are actively looking for their products or services and can bid up on those searches where the user has relevant research history. The abilities of machine learning has made this possible by analyzing numerous search queries to figure out the intent trends of the users. Then, it shows the most relevant ads to the users which is closest to their interests.
  3. Life Event Search Audiences – Like the In-Market Search Audiences feature, Google also launched Life Event Targeting in 2017. This targeting option allows advertisers to target users around a few major life events including graduation, moving houses, and getting married. Google is planning on expanding this list in the future.
    Just like Search, Google also launched Smart Display Campaigns. Advertisers need to provide a target CPA, budget, and ad assets such as images and text headlines. The system learns on its own to optimize towards the goals.
  4. Data Driven Attribution – On the reporting front, Google AdWords uses machine learning to give credit to user touch-points for conversions or leads while finding a correlation between multiple unique ways in which a user’s path could lead to a conversion.
    AdWords AI is helping today’s advertisers save time daily when it comes to handling regular PPC campaign activities and management. This technology has free up time on account manager’s schedules to think of bigger things for their clients. However, advertisers still need to contribute their expertise, time, and effort to ensure the right inputs are fed into the systems for the machines to learn effectively.

AI has begun to make its mark across the world. As technology continues to evolve, marketing technology will as well. Advertisers need to stay tuned, keep up, map the consumer response, and determine the right course of action for each new feature. After all, the machines learn from humans.

Reference: powering-ads-and-analytics-innovations.html

Sudipta Chakraborty

April 12, 2018

By Sudipta Chakraborty