PeckaPodcast: Automating PPC Campaigns—The Advantages and What It Entails
A few days ago, Jakub Rejnuš from PeckaDesign invited Ondra, our tech lead, and Martin Zítek, our long-term Heureka partner, to join his podcast and discuss not only what makes automation so important and beneficial, but also its difficulties and what to avoid if you want to really benefit from automating your campaigns, assuming you’re thinking about doing it.
You can listen to the entire podcast here or on other streaming platforms, such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Here’s a small taste of what you can learn by listening to the podcast.
Jakub:Martin, when it comes to PPC campaigns, what’s the starting point for their automation regarding size?
Martin: The way I see it, if it’s in line with common sense and if it makes sense from the business point of view, then I usually do it. When you’re at the point when you’re advertising a thousand products, then speaking personally, I’d really give automation a serious thought. Because that’s the point when using Excel and other things of this kind becomes a little bit complicated. Plus, the tools that are currently available on the market, such as PPC Bee, aren’t so expensive as to make the whole thing not worth it.
What’s also very important to me is that PPC specialists like the work involved, that it’s not a pain in their neck, that they don’t spend too much time with it. When I consider the amount of time they spend on it and if it could be done in a simpler, more effective way that gives them more control over the whole process—and mostly it creates something on its own end, it’s not as attractive, it’s a bit harder to work with… and at the same time all you need to do is take a look at what’s available on the market, at a few third parties, and you’ll find many tools which make it possible, which make it much simpler and faster.
Jakub:This is a good springboard for my question to Ondra—what does your typical customer look like?
Ondra: Basically, any type of commerce. Anyone who sells anything online can become our customer. It follows, then, that they’re mostly e-shops which are currently very popular.
Our clients also include travel agencies, well, not at the moment they don’t, but normally they do, along with betting offices or anyone who organizes courses and would like to promote them. Because things change a lot in this field, several new courses a week are added, you don’t feel like doing all that repetitive work – I mean, creating a new ad group for each course, new ad text, new keywords. Newspapers can also use us to promote articles which are automatically posted online.
Automation is applicable wherever there’s a degree of repetitiveness or data change. For example, if your e-shop sells only two products, there really is no reason to automate the operation. On the other hand, if you have to constantly add or remove something, each day over and over again, then you don’t tend to be in the mood for keeping all this in check.
One important thing—clients who have their own e-shops or products and manage PPC on their own are able to maintain their structure very well, in the sense that when a change is made on the website, they can open the PPC system and make the change there.
But if an agency takes care of the client’s campaigns and the client changes something without letting the agency know about it—that’s exactly the type of situation when problems occur, when you’re advertising something that might no longer reflect reality. Meaning that where agencies are concerned, it’s very important to automate as much as possible, to make sure the client doesn’t have to keep the agency up-to-date.
Martin: The most important thing, more or less, is to have some data and to ideally generate it in some kind of a feed or spreadsheet where the tool can access it. Naturally, such data needs to be as up-to-date as possible so that it reflects reality which is then shown to the end-user.
Jakub:Martin, what comes to your mind when you hear about “automating” PPC ads? Ondra has already broached the subject so try and summarize it, please.
Martin: The essential thing is to know what you want to achieve by automation. This means that the process may result in your ad being displayed in Google Search or the Seznam search engine, simply put in the ad being shown. And this ad must be as relevant as possible to the user you want to target and attract to your website.
This doesn’t mean that in order for the ad to be relevant, it must always be automated. But historically speaking, results have shown that where product queries are concerned, for example, and a user is genuinely looking for a product, then it’s a really good idea to include the product’s name in the ad, along with the price or discount. In regards to particular search queries, such ads tend to have the best results and ad relevance. The better the ad relevance, the lower the cost for you and the better the ROI which is the most important thing to any business.
Meaning that automation shouldn’t just save time, but also increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. Which is exactly what we’re trying to do by automating. Naturally, the bigger the portfolio an e-shop has—because this usually concerns e-shops of some kind—the more necessary it is to automate the process.
When it comes to automating SERP in Google or Seznam, I’d approach this from a completely different angle than I would automation on Facebook or in regards to display campaigns. If you’re advertising on Facebook or content networks, you’re trying to catch the user’s attention and therefore don’t show them any uninteresting products. The reason you’re trying to catch their attention is that they aren’t in that stage where they’d be searching for the product. On the other hand, when they are in that stage, they know what they want and what they’re looking for. In that case, you want to provide some highly relevant content in regard to the particular search query. These are two very different approaches to automation.
Jakub: Ondra, is it possible to achieve this complexity without such tools as PPC Bee? I mean in house, using scripts, something like that?
Ondra: Of course it is. When you come right down to it, PPC Bee is just an extension to Google Ads, Facebook, or Sklik API. It’s something that makes it easier for you to transform data into ad texts, keywords, structures, and so on. You could say that if your specific ad system has the option of importing data, everything one can do with PPC Bee can actually be done in Excel in some way or another. You could give it a try and it would work, but the amount of time you’d spend doing it would be enormous. That’s exactly what Martin mentioned at the beginning. You need something user-friendly, something that saves time.
So if I’m running an e-shop and I’m deciding whether or not to pay for a tool that would save my PPC specialist tens of working hours a month—which is like saving about 20k, let’s say about 2000 CZK—then I’d choose the path of least resistance.
And if the PPC specialist has some way to do the work without tools like these, they definitely can. A few of our clients do it like this. They have Google Ads scripts which make updates based on spreadsheets. But this usually concerns some special use case, created for that particular client’s business strategy. For about 98 % of our clients, what PPC Bee does is more than enough to automate anything they need to be automated. So yes—you can achieve this without any of the tools we’ve been talking about, but the work’s brutal.
Martin: I’d like to add one other thing. I’ve had some experience with doing this on a semi-automated basis. Meaning that I’d be handling each product separately in spreadsheets and Excel to make sure it’d fit in the ads—the character count is limited, you see. So I spent two years going over each product in Inborn, editing it so that the product’s title would fit in the ad headline.
Then we’d switch to these third-party automation tools. To this day, one of our projects uses an API solution, meaning that we’re able to do it all from our database using Google Ads API, no third-party tools necessary. But then again, we need people in development, it’s huge and cumbersome, there are many exceptions, and most importantly—imagine that the person who originally designed this leaves and there’s no proper documentation available. In that case, we’re screwed. This is not an intuitive working environment, not at all.
On the other hand, considering that there are companies such as PPC Bee that specialize in this very thing, provide customer support, offer an attractive environment, evolve constantly, get back to you within a few hours of you reporting an issue which you can do at any time… Considering all those hours we don’t waste by trying to develop a solution of our own, compared to what we pay for the tool, it’s a huge difference. And the result is usually the same, sometimes even better.
If you are interested in what is most important when it comes to automation, what its possible pitfalls are, and what to definitely be careful about, you can listen to the whole podcast on the PeckaDesign blog.
In the past, PPC Bee automatically changed your capitalized words. Because of them your ads can be rejected (primarily by AdWords). There are, however, several clients whose brand name is comprised of uppercase letters, and there was no way for them to keep this in their ads. Thus we have decided to meet their needs and now we have enabled capitalized words in ads.