Google exec addresses advertisers’ automation concerns

Some advertisers believe Google should reconsider its approach to automation. The search engine has recently announced AI-driven updates to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), a move intended to make ad creation more efficient and boost return on investment. However, some see this as a push towards automation, a direction not well-received by all advertisers.

Greg Finn of Cypress North expressed the need for the option to opt out of automation despite acknowledging the potential benefits of generative AI, stressing the importance of maintaining manual control. He highlighted that auto-applied recommendations can sometimes be more harmful than helpful, citing smart bidding as an example. Finn also emphasized the need for advertisers to understand how their money is spent and expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in automated campaigns like Performance Max.

PPC consultant Peter Bowen echoed Finn’s sentiments, underscoring the importance of providing advertisers with more control over automation. He emphasized the need for clear, advertiser-defined constraints to mitigate the risks associated with automation and its potential impact on advertising results.

Anthony Higman, CEO of Adsquire, raised concerns about the RSAs feature’s use of AI for ad copy variations, citing an example where an AI error negatively affected ad copy. He expressed a lack of trust in the machine and emphasized that advertising is not a one-size-fits-all situation, calling for Google to address the current system.

In response to these concerns, Sylvanus Bent, Group Product Manager, Search Ads at Google, stressed the importance of a synergistic approach involving both human expertise and AI for optimal campaign results. He noted that AI is a critical part of the Ads ecosystem and assured advertisers that Google is committed to providing them with the tools to stay in control.

Bent also advised advertisers to follow best practice guidelines, emphasizing the importance of features like Ad Strength to optimize campaigns. He encouraged advertisers to leverage AI-powered tools to improve the quality of RSAs for better results.

Despite the widespread adoption of AI, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, acknowledged some advertisers’ apprehensions and indicated Google’s commitment to further investment in AI. He urged advertisers to voice their concerns and provide feedback, emphasizing Google’s dedication to improving its offerings based on valuable insights from advertisers. Pichai also highlighted the critical role of AI in Google’s remarkable achievement of $48 billion in search revenue during the last quarter of 2023.

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