Success In The PPC Automation Age: A Paid Search Marketing Roadmap

Once upon a time, when everyone’s favorite ad platform was just learning how to walk, creative PPC managers would bid on common misspellings of a search term for a fraction of the cost of a correct spelling.

This piece of advertiser creativity has been corrected, but its relevance remains.

Today’s advertising platforms are built on years of search behavior and advertising data and use the experience and creativity of successful marketers.

So I sympathize with anyone who is worried that another “patch” is coming as PPC platforms move towards more automated solutions.

However, the majority of PPC professionals will be fine in the end. There is certainly some disruption (especially with regard to data visibility), but the search marketers I talk to are fairly confident that the industry will find ways to adapt.

For anyone unsure of how to be a successful marketer in the age of PPC automation, I’ll cover:

  • Changes that you must be ready to deal with.
  • Opportunities to consider follow up.
  • You must have the skills that will serve you well.

3 changes to prepare

Adapting to new privacy regulations

FLoC, GDPR, and CCPA – The past few years have been full of acronyms surrounding how privacy is addressed on the Internet.

Between that and “walled gardens,” where every ad platform restricts what data users can see (including their own), pay-per-click marketers are being forced to rethink the campaigns of tomorrow.

Information that was once readily available for use is slowly disappearing. So, instead of tracking users’ every move, it’s time to personalize ads by addressing people’s fears, dreams, pain, and fears based on their interests.

In other words, it’s time to do some old-school marketing!

A more comprehensive approach to PPC

One of the biggest surprises when I started working in paid search, was how little emphasis some PPC teams put on the creative side of their ads.

Even today, I’m a little surprised agencies don’t hire any copywriters or graphic designers.

Screenshot from @NeptuneMoon and @beyondcontent/Twitter, April 2022

While I’m in awe of data and Excel manipulation many search marketers opt out, winning the highest ad rank doesn’t mean much if your ad text isn’t relevant And Attractive; It certainly won’t last long.

Like it or not, paid search is becoming less about managing data and more about interpreting, influencing and monitoring it.

Between privacy laws and issues around data visibility, it will become as much a creative channel as (if not more so) a sports channel.

Find a role for automation in your team

It’s the evening of November 12, 2021.

A bug in the algorithms that govern Smart Shopping bids causes CPC bids to increase without warning.

Some of your accounts spend more than twice as much on clicks as you normally would.

And because it takes place between 6 p.m. on Friday and 3 a.m. on Saturday, you only find out after you budget half-week in hours.

or are you

If you have an alert set up that notifies you when your CPC for certain campaigns exceeds the threshold you set, you’ve probably managed to limit the damage.

You may have an automated rule that automatically pauses campaigns under similar circumstances.

Layers of automation is how successful marketers protect their PPC accounts.

Third-party tools create layers of automation such as alerts, scripts, and automated rules.

By increasing the number of roadblocks an error on the part of the platform must pass through before affecting your account, you can be more efficient while buying time to manually intervene when things go wrong.

4 great opportunities to seek

1. How to run campaigns

If ad platforms change the capabilities they offer and the amount of data they share with advertisers, it stands to reason that paid search professionals will have to change the way they approach account management.

On a micro level, this means calculating things like Smart Bidding using conversion data from every campaign in your account (even those you manually adjust).

When it comes to the big picture, it involves a radical restructuring of what we know about account management.

When advertising platforms automate math and science that humans can’t equal, it’s time to turn our attention to what machines can’t do:

  • Objectives: Finding optimal ROAS and CPA targets for different campaigns.
  • Structured data: Optimize account structure, ad text, creatives, and product feeds.
  • Transfer data: Share business data to prioritize profits over sales and customers over leads.

2. How the data is used

The graphs and spreadsheets are for paid research, as the saw and tape measure are for carpentry.

But when ad platforms restrict the amount of data you can access, targeting, measurement, and attribution challenges are sure to follow.

Changing the role of data in your search marketing campaigns can free you from feeling left out from advertising platforms.

Here are some things I remind myself of often:

  • I’d rather own 25% of the data than borrow half of it.
  • Referral is not complete knowledge, and I have to fill in the gaps and test the excess.
  • The more data I have, the more I see paid search as a delivery method.

First-party data may not be the purview of paid search, and it’s certainly not something you can solve without customer support, but every team should at least open the conversation.

3. How your customers see you

Like any other discipline, performance marketing cannot exist in isolation from a broader marketing (and business) strategy. Real world events like Shipping container cost Influencing the degree of success you can achieve is on the table, making it wise to work in silo.

Here are some of the roles you will have to play in addition to that of a PPC expert:


One of the roles of a PPC pilot is to monitor the direction of, plan and direct campaigns. But, it is equally important to chart a logical course of action.

Get to know their customers, understand their brand and values, and use their business intelligence to create outstanding campaigns.

A doctor

Frequent tests and a reluctance to treat what doesn’t work are the hallmarks of a PPC doctor.

While diagnosing problems in campaigns is important, doing so in a broader business context makes you invaluable.

Expand your field of knowledge to find out how customers get the product, close deals, and post profit margins.


The hardest role is also the most important.

Not only do you have to teach advertising platforms which decisions are appropriate for a particular account, but you also have to get customers to buy and support changes in methodology.

In many cases, this includes undoing systems and conditioning that you put in place for clients. Use the data to explain your case.

4. How to stand out from the crowd

Perhaps not all experts have explored PPC yet; Diversifying your offering is a great way to insulate yourself from being beholden to one platform or channel.

While not everyone will transition from a niche agency to a full-service digital marketing store, a little expansion outside of your comfort zone can be beneficial.

Some pathways to consider include:

  • Expand your skill set to support multiple ad platforms.
  • Develop adjacent PPC services such as SEO and conversion rate optimization.
  • Provide value added services within PPC such as audits, photography or design.

5 skills that must be developed


Perhaps the most important marketing skill of the 21st century, copywriting underpins everything we do in digital marketing.

Many aspects of PPC cannot be excelled without solid script writing:

  • Ad text for search ads.
  • Creative version of display ads.
  • Scripts for video ads.
  • A copy of the landing page.
  • calls to action.

Successful marketers agree Messages, positioning and tone of voice are the three most important components of a winning campaign.

How it gets transferred starts (and sometimes ends) with copywriting.

It is also a powerful skill for promoting your business and promoting to win new customers.


I have heard from many people that PPC is not a creative marketing platform. They are all wrong.

From ad text that earns clicks to landing pages that get conversions, creative expression is woven into PPC just like content marketing or lead advertising.

And when every advertiser has access to the same ad automation and platforms, how they are used is what truly differentiates successful marketers from the average marketers.

So, there are more ways to showcase your pay-per-click creativity, including:

  • Build and automate unique strategies, such as changing bids depending on the weather.
  • Use pay-per-click (PPC) channels to achieve other business and marketing goals, such as fundraising.
  • Get a dedicated budget for all your wildest and crazy ideas.

Audience research

Strong audience research is vital to all great marketing campaigns, but PPC results can also provide insights that translate well across marketing teams and other businesses.

Some ways to turn PPC data into tangible opportunities for your customers and co-workers include:

  • Test messages around different pain points to inform a better version of the website.
  • The use of masses in the market To find out who is really interested and improve sales targeting.
  • Measure demand for new products before fully committing to sourcing or development.

customer experience

A strong customer experience is vital to both retention and acquisition. Not only does it give existing customers a good reason to stay with you, but… Referrals bring qualified leads with a high success rate.

If one of your concerns about automation is losing customers who would rather trust advertising platforms, then improving the customer experience is a great way to be seen as a growth partner.

How to proceed in getting there might manifest as follows:

  • Communicate regularly with clients about their business and industries.
  • Create standardized processes to help your team deliver good work.
  • Attending client meetings to educate them about what is happening in their world.


Machine learning and artificial intelligence are great at performing error-free calculations, processing massive sets of data, and identifying patterns. What they can’t do is put any of that information into context.

If the device reports to your customers, it will list a bunch of numbers, and that will be it.

All the information about why those numbers are the way they are, how you got there, all the gaps in attribution—that context, and only you can provide it.

Successful marketers can explain why a campaign or ad works and why something fails. No amount of automation or number of algorithms will replace your ability to investigate and explain Why things that happen.

What does a successful PPC marketer look like in the future

Succeeding in the Age of Pay-Per-Click Automation: The Paid Search Marketing RoadmapScreenshot from @PPCKirk and @bgtheory / Twitter, April 2022

Nobody really knows what marketing and PPC will look like a few years from now, but we have a pretty good idea of ​​the skill set that will allow you to handle the times.

After all, this isn’t the first PPC rodeo.

Knowing which button to press (and when) is a good thing. Knowing why he’s stressed is even better. But not needing any specific buttons is where we should all aim.

Investigative ability, contextualization, and creativity can be carried across platforms and eras.

If there’s one thing to really avoid at this juncture, it’s to trade life in a walled garden for another.

More resources:

  • How to Automate Google Ads – No Coding Required
  • Why the road to PPC success is rarely straight
  • PPC 101: A Complete Guide to the Basics of PPC Marketing

Featured image: Pasuwan/Shutterstock

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