Are PPC Management Companies Becoming Dinosaurs?

Buddy of mine forwarded me an email from a website touting the power of automation in the PPC world.

The subject line of his email…

… “Are you irrelevant?”

Basically asking the question… are people who manage PPC campaigns for a living (which I rarely do for others these days BTW) becoming dinosaurs?

So, how ‘bout it? Is the wave of automation causing a mass extinction event among PPC agencies and specialists?

Yes and no.

First, the 3rd party software automation solutions for PPC campaigns out there range from okay to outright dangerous. They’re only as good as the intelligence (or lack thereof) that goes into the programming… and the strategy behind that intelligence.

That said, the machine learning that Google is using now has become WAY more effective at producing great results in Google Ads campaigns…

… Better than most PPC managers are capable of (including myself).

BUT, there are two issues working in favor of (at least some) PPC experts.

1. You need a lot of data (particularly conversion data) to really make Google’s machine learning work well. And that’s something that small businesses/organizations with small budgets typically don’t have.

(It’s kind of ironic, but smaller campaigns can actually be the harder, more time intensive ones to manage the right way now.)

2. You need a lot of PATIENCE to let the machine learning “learn” and get to the point where it’s working really well. This can take 2-3 months. And those 2-3 months can be REALLY painful.

Most clients will not have the stomach to wait it out to get the awesome results at the end of the rainbow. They want their awesome results and they want them NOW!

I’ll add something else here…

… Google’s machine learning is really good. Bing’s is okay. Then that’s about it right now.

But there are a TON of other paid ad platforms out there that you can use to drive traffic, conversions and sales.

And you need someone who’s on their game to know which ones make sense for your biz and to manage them for you.

So, at the end of the day, for the typical small biz, the world of automation and machine learning can only do so much… at least for now.

All this said, I saw the wave of automation coming years ago. It was part of the reason I pulled away from being the “PPC guy” to starting my own businesses and doing more direct marketing consulting.

What will never change though is that the key to a highly profitable PPC campaign depends heavily on the strategy behind it. Which is what I always focused on and suggest you do the same.

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Adam K
Adam K

Adam has been fascinated with online marketing, particularly PPC, since 2004 and opened his own PPC management company in 2006. Over the years he's written extensively about Google AdWords and online marketing on his own sites as well as partnered with/written for Perry Marshall, Ryan Deiss of and Neil Patel.