SMX Advanced 2019: Automation & Machine Learning Take Center Stage
Search marketing is at an interesting place in its evolution. The industry is maturing, but at the same time evolving at speeds more like a Silicon Valley startup. We find ourselves in the midst of yet another era of hyper-fast innovation and change, leaving marketers with a whole new set of challenges to figure out.
That’s why it’s great that we get industry leaders together at many conferences throughout the year, including SMX Advanced in Seattle next week. These conferences help keep us all on top of everything new. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are creating opportunities to automate many of the core functions of search marketing.
All of this can be exciting – and overwhelming – for search marketers and PPC rockstars who have to adapt to changes on the fly. Many are left wondering if they will even have a role in PPC or if they’ll be automated out of a job.
Machines + People: More Essential Than Ever
The Optmyzr team devotes a significant portion of our time staying on top of the innovations, changes and opportunities happening at breakneck speed.
I’ll be presenting during a couple of deep-dive sessions at SMX in Seattle June 4 & 5. Tuesday afternoon, Brad Geddes, Duane Brown and I will chair a discussion entitled “Automation: The Next Generation.” It’s always a pleasure to be on stages and webcasts with these two top professionals. We’ll preview what’s ahead for more automation as machines help the search engines and third-party providers like Optmyzr streamline the tasks associated with PPC.
Wednesday I’ll be on stage with Susan Wenograd, one of the new senior leaders at Aimclear. Susan and I will conduct the Advanced SEM Clinic to close out the morning sessions. Among key topics, we’ll explore the role of automation, AI, and machine learning to help PPC pros understand their opportunities in SEM moving forward.
The Impact of Automation on PPC
A few key things come to mind as we prepare for yet another important industry conference. Mentioned earlier, search marketers understandably look at the future with excitement, mixed with some angst. After all, robots and automation have rendered a lot of manufacturing jobs obsolete. Is the same outcome inevitable in our space?
Not likely. Here are a few things to consider:
First, let’s look at smart bidding. This process was ripe for automation and, thanks to innovations at Google and Bing (and Optmyzr), much of it is automated. Exploring a bit deeper, though, the need for a different, more strategic human role is evident. Smart bidding is far from “set-it-and-forget-it.” In fact, Google now offers MORE levers for advertisers to better inform bid automation that matters to specific business types.
Take, for example, the deeper abilities to manage seasonal bid adjustments, conversion value rules, creating separate conversion goals by campaign. Machines can only do so much for each of these. The smart PPC pro can apply his or her time and knowledge on much more strategic aspects of bid management. Rather than schlepping through tasks, the PPC pro can actually apply more energy to higher level strategy.
Second, it’s clear that in-platform management of campaigns is becoming much easier and automated. In many instances, more junior level PPC pros can run the majority of campaigns without any real challenge.
Managing across platforms, however, is becoming quite challenging. Google, Bing, Amazon – they are all creating walled gardens to keep people in their system. Tools like Optmyzr help bridge those gaps and make it easier to optimize across the platforms and see the connections and comparisons to help them make more informed decisions to boost performance in total. Insights gleaned from performance in one platform will be tapped for actions in another. No more walls.
Third, as more point solution automation options become available, PPC pros must figure out the interaction of seemingly disparate automations. Think about the challenge of figuring out how good responsive search ads are. On the surface, it seems RSAs offer lower conversion rates. But they also automate against entirely new queries, so the gains are strictly incremental. It takes a PPC rockstar to think beyond the singular metric when multiple automations may be at play – and find value others may miss.
Here’s another example: What happens with smart bidding if you also have an automation that turns campaigns off before the end of day? Is there a risk that the smart bidding system may have been holding back spend for later in the day, but the automated shut-off interfered with that action? The human expert is required to assess the deep-in-the-weeds strategy and understand the interplay of automations and potential consequences.
Futureproof YOUR Agency & Career
Automation is exciting, intimidating, challenging, even troublesome – but in total it’s a great thing for our industry and the humans who can connect the dots. Smart PPC pros are the ones who will embrace the innovations that are fueled by AI and machine learning. They’ll understand their value in the equation Machines + People = Better.
If you are attending SMX in Seattle, I hope to see you in one of my sessions or in a hallway or networking session. Invest your time at the event to map out your future in our industry.
And shameless plug time! A reminder that my new book (which has already become a best seller in the Online Advertising category on Amazon), “Digital Marketing in an AI World: Futureproofing Your PPC Agency” is now available on Amazon. I plan to have a few copies with me at SMX. The book digs deeper into the AI revolution in our industry and provides a tangible guide for PPC pros to claim their space in the next frontier of PPC. I hope you check it out.
See you in Seattle!