Four digital media leaders share how automation has helped them provide better results and value for clients. “[Automation] allows us to do what we do best,” says Amy Yu, managing director and global partner at Labelium, “which is to be strategic, to be creative, and to really understand our client’s business.”
Learn how she and her fellow paid search experts get the most from automation by overcoming skepticism, adopting a test-and-learn mindset, and creating new revenue streams.
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Amy Yu: If I could automate.
Jeremy Hull: One thing in my life.
Navah Hopkins: I would automate.
Patrick Gilbert: Oh, man.
Yu: Hands down.
Hull: Dealing with my automobile
Gilbert: Choosing what to eat for dinner.
Yu: Domestic robots.
Hopkins: I wish I could automate how my brain works.
Yu: [laughs with gusto]
[Jazzy drum solo underscores speakers throughout]
Gilbert: The opportunity to do great work and provide value to clients is now greater than it has ever been. Automation gives us the opportunity to do real marketing.
I hated it. I hated automation when I first started doing it. I wanted it to fail. I wanted to prove that my manual bidding strategy was better. The minute that it would fail, I would call the client, and be like, “Oh, look, we did it again.” And then eventually, it didn’t fail.
Hull: I’ve seen a study that shows that the average person creates 1.7 megabytes of data every single second of their lives. All of that data requires automation to identify those opportunities, to parse through that data and even understand it, and then to activate against it. So, as marketers, all of that is exciting.
Yu: It allows us to do what we do best, which is to be strategic, to be creative, and to really understand our client’s business.
Gilbert: Yeah. I mean, if you’re not spending all day, every day looking at a search-term report and adding negative keywords and trying to figure out “how am I going to improve performance this minute,” it allows you to take a step back and see the broader picture.
Hopkins: Everyone owes themselves at least one trust fall into automation. If you don’t, what you end up doing is: you will lose your competitive advantage against all of us that are starting to adopt, and you’ll ultimately get left behind.
Hull: There’s a tendency to sell automation is as magical. The truth is, automation has limits. You’ve got to test and identify those limits and figure out how they work.
Hull: In order for automation to work properly, it’s not enough to just optimize search campaigns, raising bids up and down, or changing ad copy. It’s like you have to think about the site experience. You have to think about whether or not the content is relevant. Deeper and more foundational work that, I think, is a huge change from what advertisers are used to.
Hopkins: You can’t innovate without automation. I’ve always preached having at least 20% of your time set aside for a wild and crazy idea time. It’s basically sitting in a room with your colleagues and brainstorming. And now that automation takes care of so much, we can actually achieve so much more with that wild and crazy idea time.
Gilbert: Automation was the key piece that turned all this for us. It just opened doors in a way for our business to turn around and have new revenue streams, be able to retain clients for longer, and upsell clients, and grow clients. Automation was the turning point for our business.
Hull: What we’ve seen automation be able to do for us is accelerate performance for clients, obviously, but also free up our team’s time to be able to identify the next opportunities. The less time we have to spend babysitting our current campaigns, the more time we have to dig into new ways to optimize and expand them. If you’re bringing new opportunities to a client, that’s always a good thing. Because if you’re not, you can guarantee someone else is going to be talking to them about that.
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