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The Google ads agency is dead - if it doesn't change completely

In his guest article, author Stefan Vetter, founder of the agency Wordspiel, outlines five critical effects of automation on Google ads agencies - as well as on all companies that use Google ads.

Automation through machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) changes all aspects of Google Ads. As a Google Premium Partner and one of the few "Google Managed Agencies" in Switzerland, we get a first-hand glimpse of this development in wordplay. In this article, I outline five critical effects of automation on Google ads agencies - and on all companies that use Google ads. Google ads agencies that don't change could be gone in a few years.

Why advertising is automated

Today there are already tasks that a machine can solve better than a human being: clearly defined problems with sufficient available data. These can be complex games such as chess or go, in which humans already have no chance against algorithms. Or the playout of advertising to the right target group.

What will therefore become extinct in the future is the classic "Google Ads craft", i.e. the manual, detailed optimization of campaigns.

What the machine won't be able to do in the short and medium term are strategic and creative tasks. People still have an advantage here.

I see the following five effects for Google ads agencies:

Impact 1: The agency becomes an autopilot pilot

A large part of the performance of a Google Ads agency has been the manual optimization of a Google Ads account. This optimization will remain part of the performance, but it will change levels and take less time.

Optimization has taken place as a "craft". This includes routine tasks such as manually adjusting bids for specific keywords or analyzing performance by day of the week and time.

In the future, agencies and Google Ads advisors will take on the role of "pilots in autopilots". Their task will be to compare the company's goals with the campaign results and take corrective action if necessary. In future, the details will be handled by an algorithm.

Advertisers who use automation will have an advantage in the competition for the most valuable visitors.

Impact 2: Consulting and strategy become core competencies

The future added value of a Google ads agency will largely lie with consulting in the future. How can a company achieve its goals with Google's automation technology? This requires a greater understanding of the overarching goals than has been the case to date. Therefore, the required consulting competence in the area of (marketing) strategy will increase.

A recent study by Marketing Land confirms this. The most important future soft skills of an agency are "strategy" and "strong customer communication":

Impact 3: Data quality in Analytics & Co is critical

The handling of data is also becoming increasingly important. The AI only optimizes as well as the quality of the data it learns from. Agencies must therefore help companies to collect the right data, put it in the right form and feed it to the (Google Ads) machine. This means that an analytics setup must measure, classify and make accessible all success-relevant interactions.

Our senior consultant Christian Ebernickel formulates this task aptly with his motto: "The right data at the right time in the right place".

Impact 4: Attribution modeling instead of simple reporting

The more marketing channels and advertising formats are available, the longer and more complex the customer journey becomes. At the same time, there is increasing pressure on agencies and platforms to prove the success of a campaign in figures.

This is why attribution modeling is becoming increasingly important: how much of the overall success of an Omnichannel campaign does Google Ads have? This requires a higher level of technical understanding on the part of the agency than before.

Impact 5: Larger service portfolio

Many of the tasks that Google ads agencies will perform in the future are channel-independent. These include alignment with corporate goals, reliable tracking and clean attribution.

On the other hand, the operational effort and technical knowledge required to optimize the Google Ads channel will decrease. This means that an agency with the same human resources could add additional services to its portfolio.

Bottom Line

The time required for the manual optimization of campaigns will be massively reduced by automation. This creates space (and demand) for more strategic consulting, better data management and more reliable attribution.

And according to Google, the massive changes will not come sometime, but "in the near future" according to the above diagram.

I therefore see 2019 as a fateful year for Google ads agencies. Those agencies that use the opportunities of automation for their clients have good prospects for the future. However, this requires far-reaching changes in the services and competencies offered. Google ads agencies that don't change could not exist in a few years, as mentioned earlier.

This blog was translated from the following article:

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