Google Display ads already provide several automated targeting options, with Google’s system able to optimize your uploaded creative and listings for varying audiences, based on systematic understanding of what each user is more likely to respond to. Now, Google’s looking to add more control over these automation elements.
As explained by Google:
“In the new Display campaign experience, you’ll have all of the reach and performance you’re used to, with the ability to choose the level of automation you prefer in bidding, creatives and audiences. A smooth setup process will allow you to choose between automation or control up front, and you’ll have the flexibility to change your automation choices at any time – without creating a new campaign.”
Essentially, the new process will merge Google’s Smart Display campaigns and regular Display creation into one flow, which will provide more ways to automate your ad targeting, or specific elements of your process that you want to use automation for.
In addition to this, Google’s also adding optimized targeting to Display campaigns, which provides additional automatic audience targeting options for Display advertisers.
“Previously available only on Smart Display campaigns. This is an easier option for reaching new and relevant audiences – driving impressions, clicks or conversions to help you meet your goals.”
Over time, automated ad targeting systems are getting smarter, and are now often providing better results than manually-defined ad campaigns.
Indeed, Facebook is also pushing advertisers more towards its automated targeting options, which is largely as a result of improved system learning, but may also help the platforms provide better results amid the impacts caused by Apple’s ATT data-tracking update, and other coming limitations on the data that they’re able to provide.
Apple’s app tracking permission prompts are currently seeing around half of those being shown the alerts switching off data tracking. That means less data for Facebook and Google to use in targeting their ads, which impacts Facebook more significantly, but also limits Google’s capacity to display conversions, and optimize for such within its process.
And with Google also looking to phase out cookie tracking, along with other restrictions coming into effect, that’s causing a massive shift in ad performance. But with less data available, manual intervention may not drive the best results, and automation, based on modeling and workaround connections, could actually be a better way forward in many respects.
I mean, it must be. Both Facebook and Google need to keep their ad businesses running, and bringing in billions in revenue, and if advertisers simply stop seeing optimal results on their platforms, they’ll re-route their promotional dollars elsewhere, to at least test the waters in other apps.
Improved, complex machine learning may be the best way forward, which is why the platforms are now working to provide more options on this front, and boost reliance on their targeting tools.
Will that deliver better results for your brand?
The platforms certainly have a lot of research data to go on, so even with new data restrictions, they likely do have strong systems in place that can estimate response, and drive better engagement.
It may be worth experimenting with increased automation, and seeing what results the systems bring. It won’t work out for all brands, but the processes are getting much smarter, and they may well drive better response than your own, manually-defined campaigns.