High adoption of Google ad automation, marketers are not satisfied with recommendations

PPCsurvey.com recently released a new Global State of PPC Report 2022. It includes feedback from more than 500 PPC professionals from around the world.

The results cover search marketers’ biggest interests, top priorities, spend data, automation insights, and a wealth of information on the most pressing paid search trends.

Below is a breakdown of some of the biggest discoveries.

High adoption rate of automation in Google Ads. Two scanning detection metrics:

  • 97% of respondents use responsive search ads.
  • 95% have smart auctions (tCPA) in place.

Even more surprising, 78% of the participants used the automatically applied recommendations.

Adopt Google Ads Automation

Gone are the days when advertisers could compete without embracing automation.

Adoption of automation is high, but marketers’ satisfaction is mixed. The least satisfactory automation, according to respondents, the recommendations were applied automatically.

  • 83% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the “Automatically applied recommendations” feature.

Another surprise came from one of Google’s biggest pushes lately: the Recommendations tab. Sentiment on recommendations was negative at 63%, according to PPCsurvey.com.

Why so negative? Major complaints about the feature include a “one-size-fits-all approach,” “clear push for smart bidding, broad matching, and over budget.”

Satisfaction with Automation in Google Ads

Respondents were more satisfied with other automation measures.

  • 51% of search engine marketers said they were satisfied with scripts.
  • 48% said they were satisfied with the TROAS Smart Bidding System.
  • 47% of respondents were satisfied with Target CPA Smart Bidding.

Most urgent priorities for PPC professionals. What are their clients’ top priorities? New concerns arose this year.

  • priority 1: Improve goal setting beyond traditional metrics (eg conversions and revenue). This includes looking at margin, including new customers versus traditional customers and lifetime value (LTV), with 62% of respondents saying this is a top priority.
  • Priority #2: Tracking improvements, including concerns about no cookies, GA4 and server-side tags, came in second with 56%.
PPC Specialist's Short-Term Priorities

Unsatisfactory score for Optiscore. Google now requires Google partners to maintain an Optiscore of 70%, PPCsurvey.com checked satisfaction levels for this measure. Respondents could rate from 1 to 10 and the results were converted into a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure the number of participants they recommend.

Only 15% of respondents rate a high Optiscore and 41% of respondents consider a high Optiscore a critical account.

Google Optimization Score

Using the NPS methodology, this would give a high Optiscore an overall negative NPS of -26, which is a highly undesirable score.

  • You can download the full report (PDF) here. It includes more information, including global annual ad spend, ad platform adoption, time-consuming activities, top challenges for agencies, and more.

Why do we care. While adoption of automation is high, satisfaction is mixed. Highlights include smart quotes and scripting, but the recommendations sparked large numbers of resentment.

Additionally, practitioners are not fans of a high Optiscore, viewing this as more of a criticism than a positive. If you rely on these results and use these metrics as a measure of account health, you are going against the collective thinking of the PPC experts who participated in this survey.

Finally, advertisers are looking for better performance tracking. People are looking beyond simple conversions and more important performance data while finding better tracking options as ad and analytics platforms change.

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