Marketers are buzzing about the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In fact, there has been no shortage of speculation over its current impact on the industry and where it’s headed in the coming years.
Just last year, Google introduced Smart Shopping campaigns, which utilizes machine learning to optimize conversions at the lowest cost.
Although it appears complicated on the surface, Google’s intentions for AI and machine learning are quite simple. Whether you’re using its search, display, shopping or YouTube properties, Google uses its smart technology to achieve the same objective: Gather as much data as possible from your consumers in order to help you get a better ROI.
For example, a simple search for “women’s shirts” will combine that query with other information that Google knows about you such as gender, age, location and your past purchase behavior to show you ads that the AI engine finds relevant.
Google ultimately wants to provide its users with the best experience possible. By integrating search queries with demographic information, it creates a win-win situation for advertisers and consumers.
Brands get to leverage Google’s AI to lower its cost per acquisition and acquire more customers while consumers can find exactly what they’re looking for. So how do marketers better leverage AI to their advantage?
Below are some best practices for optimizing your campaign for Google’s AI platform.
1. Have a clear goal before setting up campaigns
Whether it’s for marketing or any other task, AI performs best with clear goals in place. Do you want awareness or sales? Low CPA or maximal conversions? Artificial intelligence cannot decide on your goals for you. Without telling the AI which end goal to prioritize, the bidding algorithm will take more time to optimize and make it harder to take advantage of Google’s technology. Having a clear goal makes it easier to create effective campaigns and help Google figure out the bid strategy it needs to achieve that goal.
2. Give Google time to breathe
Any good machine learning technology requires ample time to train regarding the data it’s supposed to optimize. The same is true for Google. The more data it gathers, the better Google’s bid strategies become. While there’s no best practice for how long you need to give Google’s AI to learn your strategy, it’s safe to assume that more time will only improve its accuracy. As a rule of thumb, we like to give Google up between two and four weeks to learn your strategy. Although it may be tempting to constantly iterate, you are better off optimizing after Google completes learning your bid strategy.
3. Watch for budget depletion and change delivery method
Google just sunset the “accelerated” delivery method in Google search and shopping campaigns on Oct. 7. Have you thought about the reasons behind this move? Although “accelerated” delivery method could be more profitable for Google, it limits the machine to only spending in the first few hours of the day. Google’s decision to only permit standard delivery allows its AI to find the best time of day to show an advertiser’s product and only shows the ads at those times.
No matter how smart digital advertising becomes, it’s up to marketers to understand the business objective, select the right campaign and understand which bid strategies align with that goal. Instead of viewing AI as a threat, marketers should see it as an opportunity to leverage improved micro-optimizations opportunities to drive the most relevant brand experience to valuable brand audiences.