Published: 06 February 2017
After half a year of Google pushing businesses to redraft their ads to fit the better-performing Expanded format, last week saw Google roll out a test program – ‘Added by Adwords’ – that writes entire Ad Groups automatically, essentially saying "fine, we'll do it for you".
Drawing on text from your landing page content, the function aims to create a library of ad copy choices automatically, adding them to your rotational test-bed. As usual, the ad with the best performance rates is given preference in impression share.
Sounds great right? Well maybe.
While Added by Adwords does generate ad copy without any further input from you, the supposed time-saving benefits of such a tool don’t quite add up.First of all, let's be clear – ad copy needs approval, no matter who is writing it. Unless you are 100% comfortable with Google generating your ads, you’re going to need to spend time checking to make sure your messaging is on point. Secondly (and this is a biggie), more often than not… it is in fact not going to be on point. Not even close, actually.I tried out the tool for myself to give it a fair chance, and see what sort of copy it would come up with for our Sitecore-based campaign. Take a look at the two ads below and see if you can suss which one is automated, and which one is written by us.
I don’t think its too hard to figure out that the top ad is produced by Added by Adwords, and the bottom ad is one of our own ads, though not our top performer – I did want to make this a fair test, after all!
Lets break down my issues with this automated ad copy, first by taking a look at our actual landing page, and then each section of the ad.
Our landing page reads:
sagittarius & sitecore
Sitecore is the worlds most powerful customer management tool, allowing you to turn digital strangers in delighted customers, enabling richer personalised online experiences.
As an experienced and certified Sitecore solutions partner we will guide your business through every step of the process, providing expert advice at every stage of your Sitecore journey.
Whether you are new to Sitecore or looking for a partner to provide solutions to your existing development, we are expertly positioned to provide you with the expertise required to deliver real ROI from your Sitecore platform.
‘sagittarius & sitecore’
Our branding uses lowercase font throughout, and this includes headers on our website. It doesn’t seem that Google picked up on this, and so the headline appears a little amateur. The messaging itself is also a little generic and is not likely to grab attention.
‘experience and certified’
This is a bit odd. The text on our landing page reads “experienced and certified”, and Google seems to have forgotten the ‘d’ in ‘experienced’. Perhaps this is Google’s attempt at re-jigging the grammar to appear correctly in the headline? Either way, something odd has happened. Secondly, we have an ad that reads ‘experienced and certified’, and it doesn’t perform very well anyway as it’s not very exciting.
‘Sitecore is the worlds most powerful customer management tool’
That’s great. How about we talk about us as well though? The headline does say ‘sagittarius & sitecore’ after all. Whats ‘sagittarius’? Anyone looking at this ad hasn’t been told yet.
Path 1 & 2
Yeah, we get it.
Added by Adwords gave us 4 shiny new auto-generated ads to play with, and they were all variants on this theme. In fairness, they might have performed well, but I paused them nearly-immediately, because I felt that they just didn’t do our brand justice. There are some things that are not worth sacrificing for a CTR increase.
This is a pilot program and has not been rolled out to everyone just yet, and it’s clear some bugs need to be ironed out, but I’m not particularly enthused from these initial results. As stated earlier, the time you save is mitigated by the time spent checking (and editing) the ad copy yourself. I’m willing to give a second chance to Added by Adwords, but I hope to see some big improvements.
Larry Kim might think this is the future of PPC, but for now, its still Sci-Fi.
Have you had any success with Added by Adwords? Let me know by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org