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We Need To Talk About Automation

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It is February 2022 – Broad Match Modifiers have passed on, Performance Max continues to gain traction, and come June the only ad format available will be responsive search ads (RSA). For those that haven’t already, it’s time to face facts: automation is upon us.

Discussing the issue with some digital marketers last week, we discussed the relentless march of automation and mused over the likelihood of, eventually, something akin to a Google Ads toggle switch. The extent of setting up a suite of campaign types, targeting, ads, will be little more than “Would you like to advertise your business? Yes/No”. Is it absurd? Increasingly it seems not. So just how does a digital marketer continue to stay relevant?

Life as a 3rd party tool really plugs you in to the rate and extent of the evolution towards full automation. In some ways we at Morphio are lucky. Our alert based system is as much about monitoring results – a digital insurance policy, if you will – as it is about optimisation and the pulling of levers that are becoming ever fewer. Indeed, marketers that use 3rd party automation tools in 2022 will need to continuously evaluate the ongoing arms race between Google and their platforms of choice, to ensure ongoing investment is a sensible one. That is to say, it’s a reality that everyone – brand, agency, SaaS tool – is having to react to.

So, how do you thrive in an automated landscape? It’s too reductive to say that human intervention isn’t relevant; that it’ll just be the luck of the algorithm. There are plenty of things you can be doing going into 2022 to manage the transition quickly and effectively and get ahead of some of your your peers:

First Party Data

A lot has already been written about the shift from third to first party data; but for brevity’s sake, that shift is best characterised as: “consumer data now has to be earned; not bought and sold”. If you are yet to sincerely investigate first party data strategies, then it needs to jump to the top of your to-do list. You can trust that Google and others will continue to evolve their products to reflect this shift and first-party data integration (and the campaign types/ad formats powered by it) will continue to hit the market through 2022. We are early enough in the shift that nailing the collecting, managing and leveraging of first party data now will give you a significant advantage over your competitors in the months to come

Forecast – Experiment – Integrate

To be clear, the advice here is not “do some experiments”, because that has always been a part of a DM’s toolkit – when bandwidth allows. The advice here is to develop a process for integrating the ever changing product set. The rate with which ad platforms’ product offerings are evolving, being retired, or net new formats are introduced, is only likely to increase. A replicable process that identifies and effectively evaluates new tools will keep you ahead of the pack

Digital Marketing Performance Monitoring

Measurement will continue to be a key pillar. The inevitable fragmenting across multiple platforms will make close monitoring and measurement solutions increasingly important. Platform’s like ours use AI to look for the signals that indicate performance trends as early as possible, giving leading advertisers a transparency (and ability to work at scale) not afforded by a fragmented digital ad environment. Whether you use 3rd party tools for digital marketing insights and alerts or custom rules, the need to quickly identify and react to performance trends across all your platforms will be key.

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