High Adoption Of Google Ads Automation, Marketers Unhappy With Recommendations

PPCsurvey.com has just released a new global report on the state of PPC for 2022. It includes feedback from over 500 PPC experts from around the world.

The results reflect search marketers’ biggest concerns, top priorities, spend data, automation insights, and a wealth of information on the most pressing paid search trends.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest discoveries.

High adoption rate of automations in Google Ads. Two revealing measures of the survey:

  • 97% of respondents use responsive search ads.
  • 95% have smart auctions (tCPA) in place.

More surprisingly, 78% of respondents used the recommendations applied automatically.

Adoption of Google Ads Automations

Gone are the days when advertisers were able to compete without embracing automation.

Automation adoption is high, but marketer satisfaction is mixed. The least satisfying automation, according to respondents, was automatically applied recommendations.

  • 83% of respondents said they were not satisfied with the Auto-Applied Recommendations feature.

Another surprise came from one of Google’s biggest pushes of late: the Recommendations tab. Sentiment on the recommendations was negative at 63%, according to PPCsurvey.com.

Why so negative? The main complaints about the feature include “the ‘one size fits all’ approach and the obvious push for smart bidding, wide matching and budget increases”.

Satisfaction with Google Ads Automations

Respondents were more satisfied with other automation measures.

  • 51% of search marketers said they were satisfied with scripts.
  • 48% said they were satisfied with tROAS Smart Bidding.
  • 47% of respondents were satisfied with tCPA smart bidding.

The most pressing priorities for PPC specialists. What are their customers’ top priorities? New concerns have arisen this year.

  • Priority #1: Improve goal setting beyond traditional metrics (e.g., conversions, revenue). This includes margin-aware price, including new versus traditional customers, and lifetime value (LTV), with 62% of respondents saying this was a top priority.
  • Priority #2: Tracking improvements, including cookieless concerns, GA4, and server-side tagging, came in second at 56%.
CPAP Specialist Short-Term Priorities

Unsatisfactory scores for Optiscore. Google now requires Google Partners to maintain an Optiscore of 70%, PPCsurvey.com reviewed satisfaction levels for measurement. Respondents could rate from 1 to 10 and the results were transformed into a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge the number of participants who would recommend.

Only 15% of respondents value a high Optiscore and 41% of respondents value a high Optiscore as a detractor in an account.

Rate the Google optimization score

Using the NPS methodology, this would give a high Optiscore an overall negative NPS of -26, which is a very unpleasant score.

  • You can download the full report (PDF) here. It includes more information, including global annual ad spend, ad platform adoption, time-consuming activities, top challenges for agencies, and more.

Why we care. While adoption of automation is high, satisfaction is mixed. Highlights included smart bidding and scripting, but recommendations drove dissatisfaction numbers.

Additionally, practitioners are not fans of having a high Optiscore, with more seeing this as a detractor than a positive. If you rely on these scores and use these metrics as a barometer of account health, you’re going against the collective thinking of the PPC experts who participated in this survey.

Finally, advertisers are looking for better performance tracking. People are looking outside of simple conversions and more meaningful performance data while showcasing the best tracking options as advertising platforms and analytics platforms change.


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