Spotted in Accounts: Google Expanding Auto-Applied Changes

Let’s start with a story…

I recently took over an ad account that had a handful of campaigns set up in a seemingly strong structure. There were about 10 campaigns broken up into logical themes, each with anywhere from 7 to 30 ad groups with further segmentations of the keywords. 

All good so far. But as I went to look at the keywords themselves, there was a theme that stood out to me. 

Most ad groups had anywhere from 3 to 15 keywords in them, a normal amount, in my mind. 

But then every once in a while I’d stumble on an ad group with hundreds of keywords. One had as many as 600. 

Clearly this is an error. Right? 

Going into the change history I found that it was not actually an error, but rather Recommendations Auto-Apply changes.

Not only were there a number of keywords added as you can see above, there were also a handful of keywords that were removed. 

Just to cut straight to the chase: the keywords that were removed were the namesake of the ad group, so now the ONLY keywords in there were the ones Google had added. None of the originals were still in place.  

After polling the team and doing a bit of research, I found that this was a new option from Google and then promptly reached out to our rep to get out of it as I couldn’t find the opt out option in the interface. 

She then sent me a link that had never been shared with me before. 

Google Auto Apply Recommendations Center

This link took me to the Google Auto Apply Recommendations Center

This is a page where I could see all of my accounts and their status for these auto apply suggestions. 

In the column on the left, you see at a high level if an account is opted in  and then you can see which ones by clicking on the icon in the Selected Recommendations column. 

Once you click on the icon, you’ll see a popup with all the available opt ins for that account. 

Needless to say…there are A LOT of options aside from just the Auto Applied Ad Suggestions most of us have become accustomed to. 

There are options all the way from changing your bidding strategies to adding/removing keywords and ads as well as “fixing” your ad text. 

So, What Keywords Did Google Add?

For those of you paying close attention, you’ll notice I didn’t discuss the keywords Google added to the account. Normally, that kind of secrecy would be warranted as the keywords, in theory, should give away the client or their product. 

Well reader, let me tell you, this is not one of those instances.

Here are just a few of the keywords Google added to this account: 

I have literally 0 issue sharing these publicly as basically none of these have anything to do with what the account is trying to sell. If you can accurately guess what this company is selling, I will send you $100 via PayPal***. DM me on Twitter and we’ll make it happen. 

My Opinions of Auto Applied Suggestions

It might be easy to categorically label this a good or a bad thing. Especially after the example I just gave. 

But honestly, it’s neither inherently good or bad. 

There are going to be some people that these types of changes are good for and others that they’re simply not the right fit. 

Just like all automation, I think the only way these changes could work is to use them in conjunction with human oversight. 

If you should decide to use these auto applied changes, I’d highly suggest you regularly review the change history in your account to see what optimizations have been made on your behalf. 

Many changes can be undone simply by clicking the UNDO button, but there are likely going to be some that aren’t reversible quite as easily. You may need to take more manual action to get things reversed. 

Conclusion

Whether we like it or not, the ad platforms are making advancements that make it easier to set ad accounts to “set it and forget it”. 

***I’m actually serious about this, but I’m limiting it to 2 people. My ego will not be the reason I go broke. 

Comments (2)

  1. This has been out for a long time. I am surprised you only find out now about it. In the past you could not even see them in change history

  2. Google’s main revenue stream is Google ads. Its essentially a money printing scheme as a search engine with monopoly like status.

    However new internet user growth and search numbers have slowed. Therefore slowing Google ads revenue growth.

    How do you increases revenues with slowing customer growth?

    One way is to increase cost per clicks. Higher advertising costs mean more revenue for Google.

    Surely auto applying new keywords in accounts is a way of increasing competition on clicks and driving up CPC. Regardless of performance for customers?

    For some customers this might help get better performance, but for the majority it will just raise costs. Either way there is only one winner….

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