Is Google creating a generation of Slacker Search Specialists?

man in red shirt pointing to heading of the blog

Recent developments in Google Ads see the company pushing businesses more towards their AI ad campaigns (also called Performance Max campaigns, P-Max for short). Using machine-learning algorithms, Google promises better results for your ad campaigns without having to worry about manual optimisation.

In practice, this means you give Google all of your ad assets (and credit-card details) and they decide where it is spent, who gets to see your ads and determine what a successful click is.

As a search and social agency that provides this service for many businesses, where does that leave us? Will Search Specialists of the future just be there to upload images and write a few lines of copy?

First, we need to ask a few questions.

Can AI-driven ads be successful?

The short answer is yes, but there’s more to it.

In ecommerce, conversions, which are the key signals the AI looks for, are transactional, so using AI to do a lot of the data crunching to find more people who may also buy your products is helpful.

But for service businesses, which we primarily work with, conversions aren’t transactional and are often just form completions or downloads. They are technically leads, which are followed up on by salespeople offline and you may not see any transactional benefit for weeks, possibly months depending on your business.

In these cases, the AI can often misjudge what is successful and waste budget going after an audience that is providing no return. With manual optimisation and communication with the client, we can determine what the campaign should focus on and what should be ignored.

At the moment though, P-Max campaigns are a black box, with very little reporting on where the budget is being spent and on who, with few levers for adjustment.

Why Slacker Search Specialists?

The P-Max campaigns can be sold as minimal effort and there may be some specialists out there jumping for joy because of the reduced administration which means they can squeeze more clients into their portfolio.

The ultimate Slacker Search Specialist!

The misunderstanding here though is that there is less admin needed. In fact, it’s just a different type of admin. If anything, because of the black box nature of the AI campaigns, we need to work harder to understand how to get the best out of it and feed the AI with the right signals that produce results.

Why do I need a specialist if Google does everything for me?

As alluded to above, there are cases where, as a business if you’ve got the time to upload a few images and video and write a bit of text then you can just plug and play with a Performance Max campaign, and you won’t need anyone else’s help.

However, this is what we do.  We aren’t just going to sit back and let Google do everything because we know it isn’t perfect.

A more collaborative approach to conversions

With the advent of these AI-driven ads, the age of finding a few keywords and bidding for them is in the rear-view mirror and will soon be out of view.  This means another area that will require increased effort on our part is to work with you to identify and segment your audiences.

This is important, because the Performance Max campaigns now rely on Audience Signals which are behaviour based not keyword based. Now you may not even know who your audience is or you may have very detailed personas for the type of person who is interested in your product or service.

Either way, this information is becoming more vital to make this type of advertising campaign a success. If you have a well-managed CRM this will also be an advantage and a specialist should work with you to get the most out of it and get closed deals fed into the campaign to increase its effectiveness.

Caution! Slacker Search Specialists Ahead!

Now you know what to look out for don’t be caught out by people promising you fantastic results for little effort.

We’re here to save your time!

And, because we work with a wide range of client ad campaigns every day, we can share lessons learned and improve results for everyone, even as Google rolls out new features that seem intent on spending more and more money with them, whilst losing more and more control over how it is spent.


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