WhatConverts
Avatar photo Alex Thompson
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Jun 8, 2023

Artificial intelligence—love it or hate it, it’s here. And it’s on track to shake up all-things-marketing for a long, long time.

Last month’s Google Marketing Live (GML) is proof positive of that.

From AI chat-assisted ad setup to the full gamut of AI-generated ad assets (including copy and images), nearly every major announcement involved artificial intelligence in one way or another.

And if there was any question about it before, it’s clear now that we’re smack dab in the middle of a shift towards full-blown Google Ads automation.

Scared? Don’t be.

This change has been brewing for a while now. And the shift can deliver serious benefits to the marketers who know how to take advantage of it.

And that’s exactly what we’re talking about today.

We’re covering:

  • Major AI and Google Ads automation announcements from GML
  • How the AI and automation shift will affect marketers
  • Four ways you can stay ahead of the game and thrive in the face of the change

ChatGPT says this is where we should get into the article, so we’d better get started.

Major Google Ads Automation & AI Announcements at GML 2023

As you’ve probably noticed, the push towards automation from Google Ads is nothing new.

As Google themselves points out:

“Google has been a pioneer in AI development for over a decade, and AI has been foundational to the Google Ads Business.”

And over the past few years, that push has become even more evident thanks to major Google Ads automation features like Google Ads Automated Bidding, Dynamic and Responsive Search Ads, and Automated Ad Extensions.

This year during Google Ads’ annual product showcase event, it unveiled a few new features that leaned even harder into AI’s role in marketing.

Here are the three main takeaways.

AI-Generated Copy & Image Assets Within Performance Max

Perhaps the most impressive feature announced at GML was the ability to task Google’s AI with creating not just original copy, but fully unique images within Performance Max campaigns.

On the copy side, all you need to do is point Google AI to your site. Then, answer a few branding questions like:

  • Where will people go when they click your ad?
  • What products or services are you advertising?
  • What makes your products or services unique?
  • What is your brand’s personality?

After that, Google will automatically generate headlines, descriptions, and other ad copy assets that you can edit or tweak with follow-up suggestions for the system.

Image generation within Google Ads is equally easy.

Google showed off a simple prompt box where users could describe images they’d like to see on their ads, hit enter, and voila! You've got AI-generated images to choose from.

The example entered in the showcase was “ingredients used for pet food, like fish, chicken, raw meat and vegetables on a stylish slab-style play in studio lighting.” And just like that, four distinct images matching that description were automatically generated and available to choose from.

You can then fine-tune those images by telling the system to remove a detail, add a set piece, alter a background, etc.

And in minutes, you have fully original, professional-grade ad images and copy at your fingertips.

Complete Ad Creation Within AI Chat

The explosion of ChatGPT heralded a new era of AI chat. And soon, marketers will be able to use Google AI to create entire ad campaigns from scratch via a chat interface.

All it takes is responding to a prompt for your preferred landing page.

And with that info alone, Google will generate:

  • Keywords
  • Headlines
  • Descriptions
  • Images
  • Assets

You’ll still have quite a bit of control here with the ability to edit, add, remove, and even enter clarifications to further finetune what the AI chat puts out.

But even still, it’s a big step towards an easier, quicker ad creation process.

AI-Powered Google Ads Assets that Target Queries

In the past, savvy marketers could use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) to boost ad relevancy. DKI allowed you to automatically plug into existing ads niche keywords that were based on the triggering search term.

So instead of “Buy Our Chocolate,” ad copy could shift to “Buy Our White Chocolate,” “Buy Our Dark Chocolate,” etc. based on the search keyword (“white chocolate,” “dark chocolate”).

Neat trick for getting your ad to pop.

But with the upcoming addition of AI, Google has essentially created an evolved form of DKI that generates entire ad assets based on search context.

For instance, a user might search for “skin care for dry sensitive skin.” Using AI, Google Ads can generate an entirely new headline for your ads that’s highly aligned with this query. Something like, “Soothe Your Dry, Sensitive Skin.”

The feature will pull info from your landing page and existing ad sets to create the ad material, dubbed automatically created assets (ACA) by Google.

With this feature, you are effectively able to create, launch, and optimize highly targeted ads without lifting a finger.

What the Google Ads Automation & AI Shift Means for Marketers

So, what does this all mean for marketers like you?

  • Easier Ad Creation & Optimization – On the one hand, certain aspects of your job are going to become easier. Bid management, ad creation, continual optimization—these will all be handled by AI. At first just for basic campaigns, but advanced ones will follow soon. It also means clients may be tempted to tackle ad creation and management on their own.
  • Fewer Manual Tasks, More Strategy – With the grunt work off your plate, the role of marketers will shift more towards abstract elements like strategy and analysis. Resource management will play a bigger role, as will originality.
  • Less Control for Marketers – More automation always comes with less control. And for most marketers, that’s a hard pill to swallow. However, Google is far from being the end-all be-all of data-informed marketing strategy. And the tools you control and surround yourself with outside of Google will determine what sets you apart from the competition.
  • Bigger Emphasis on Data Interpretation – As tracking becomes more robust and marketing data more plentiful, marketers will still have a role to play in interpreting that data and forming creative strategies around it.

4 Ways to Stay Ahead of AI as a Marketer

With big AI shifts on the horizon (and more to come), marketers need to make some changes if they want to stay ahead of the curve.

Here are four ways you can leverage AI to not just stay afloat, but thrive in this changing industry.

1. Shift Your Skillset

How do you stand out in a marketing world full of AI-generated ads and content?

Creativity.

While AI can handle the time-intensive parts of your job, the ability to make highly creative and highly engaging marketing assets is going to be what sets you apart in the years to come.

But originality for the sake of originality alone won’t work. It also needs to actually resonate with your audience.

So returning to the fundamentals (like understanding your audience) will also be key.

Last but not least, AI’s constant optimization of your ads will free up plenty of time for you to focus on data-driven analysis and strategy.

However, the problem here is Google is a bit of a black box (and likely to be even more guarded as AI takes the reins).

That’s why you need to have robust lead-tracking tools outside of Google Ads. That way, you can dig down into the data you need to make more informed strategic decisions.

2. Don’t Take Your Hand Off the Wheel Just Yet

There’s a lot that Google Ads automation and AI can do right now. But there’s also a lot that it can’t.

So be sure you’re doing your research to understand both its capabilities and limitations.

For instance:

  • Be wary of using features like automated bidding with smaller accounts. Left unchecked, these automation features can make relatively small changes with big effects. And that can eat up budgets very quickly. Instead, automation tends to work better with bigger accounts that use larger data sets.
  • Don’t blindly accept AI suggestions. Systems built on AI can perpetuate biases, spit out misleading information, and even outright lie about well-documented facts (called “hallucinations” within the industry). So be sure you’re taking AI suggestions with a grain of salt.
  • Keep your data clean. The output of an AI system is only as good as the data input. In other words, if you feed crappy data to your Google Ads, you’re going to get crappy results. So be sure that the data you’re feeding in is relevant, of high quality, and targeted to your proper audience.

3. Work With AI, Not Against It

Instead of pushing back against the inevitable—AI in Google Ads is happening, and Google Ads still produces the best leads for PPC marketers—make the mindset shift to work with AI instead.

You can do that by surrounding yourself with the tools needed to make AI-powered Google Ads work even better. Tools that can capture data, qualify leads, and send that data back to Google.

For instance, WhatConverts Lead Intelligence lets you automatically identify, qualify, and send lead data as conversion actions to Google Ads based on rules you set.

So if you’re a dentist with leads that:

  • Are interested in a procedure for crowns based on pages you’ve interacted with
  • Called and inquired about making an appointment
  • Have a quotable value of over $3,000

You can send only those leads as conversion actions to a specific campaign.

And when you combine the right rules with our Google Ads integration, you can essentially train Google’s AI to optimize for only the most relevant, quality, and likely-to-buy leads.

Goodbye hassle of conversion tracking with Analytics and Tag Manager. Hello continuous Ads optimization on autopilot.

4. Double Down on the “Human” Parts of Being a Marketer

Finally, step back and let AI be what it was designed to be—a tool.

Learn how to use it, keep an eye on its development, and let it handle all the heavy lifting with data crunching and automated bid management.

But don’t think that it’s in a position to take away your job.

Instead, take advantage of the freed-up resources and double down on the “human” parts of being a marketer:

  • Make real, person-to-person connections with your clients
  • Take the time to read between the lines in conversations
  • Dive deep into better understanding your target audience
  • Think creatively to find novel solutions and develop unique strategies
  • Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry to spot (and capitalize on) emerging trends

In the end, there’s a lot of things AI still can’t do. And the better you are at those things, the better you’ll fare in the years to come.

Wrapping Up

Advances in Google Ads automation and AI aren’t slowing down.

And this year’s Google Marketing Live presented several new features that actually show that it’s speeding up.

But if you can shift your strategy as a marketer and leverage those advances (rather than fight against them), you can learn to thrive alongside AI.

Give yourself the data-driven edge and start your 14-day free trial with WhatConverts today!

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Avatar photo
Alex Thompson

Alex Thompson is a professional copywriter and content writer with a passion for turning complex ideas into digestible, educational content that keeps readers engaged. He specializes in content marketing, SEO, and B2B marketing.

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