Last year, Google Ads made buzzworthy pushes that focused heavily on automation and AI. While this certainly proves the realm of paid search and digital marketing is advancing, advertisers are wary of the changes – and for good reason as machine learning should not fully be entrusted to do the entirety of the job. Additionally, advertisers in today’s digital market would not be able to compete without AI. What we know and recommend is to adapt and test early, to leverage these features to a certain degree, but not completely as there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Here is a lookback on major automated features in Google Ads this past year.

1. Managing Auto-Apply Recommendations – Advertisers are met with the choice to opt-in to auto-apply optimizations within these three categories:

  1. Bidding & budgets
  2. Keywords & targeting
  3. Ads & extensions

This enables Google’s machine learning to work as another “set of eyes” and foresee key factors of user behavior to make decisions to ultimately drive the most traffic and enhance engagement metrics such as clicks and click-through rates. Human intervention would be needed here to evaluate if the additional volume is higher quality traffic or wasted spend.

2. Push For Performance Max – Performance Max, the latest version of Smart Shopping, made its debut this past year along with the announcement that Smart Shopping campaigns would be phased out. Performance Max is a new goal-based campaign type that will be eligible to run across all of Google’s advertising surfaces. Google Ads automation plays a heavy role in Performance Max campaigns as it determines bids and placements based on provided customer data, ad copy, images, and videos provided by the advertiser. As a result, the campaign has less oversight from advertisers and can even work unfavorably such as serving ads in irrelevant places. To achieve the most desirable results, we recommend advertisers put the heavy-lifting into the set up of the campaign while constantly testing different assets.

3. Automated Bidding Strategies – Automatic Bidding strategies are one of Google’s first big introductions in automated features which enables automation control on keyword level bidding and optimizing based on the specific goal set for the business. There are six types of automated bidding options in Google Ads:

  1. Maximize Clicks
  2. Target Impression Share
  3. Target CPA
  4. Target ROAS
  5. Maximize Conversions
  6. Maximize Conversion Value


We live in the era where automation and AI is prominent within the PPC landscape. However, learning to strike the right balance between maintaining necessary control and entrusting Google’s automation with your PPC accounts will be vital for your paid search strategy in 2023. ­