Why Man will Always Beat the Machine
As the saying goes “they will replace us all”, but is that really true?
Can a machine really do the job of a PPC expert?
Over the years several leaps have been made that can automate many day to day PPC tasks; we use automation to generate reports. This makes sense as we run daily reports for all our PPC accounts to:
- See yesterday’s activity – has traffic spiked/dipped?
- Get a landscape of the account – are there days where traffic is more profitable etc.?
Other useful automation tools help us in our day-to-day management of our PPC accounts:
- Ad Scheduling – very useful for governing the days and hours when campaigns should run, increase/decrease aggression etc.
- Rules – Handy for many things such as running flash sale ads without having to manually enable or pause them (especially at the weekend when nobody is in the office)
We use these because they are very straightforward, routine tasks which can and should be automated.
The big question is, should you trust your account to be fully run by a machine? This is where, as PPC experts we would say “no” to the computer!
Here are a few key reasons why you shouldn’t:
An agency is run by people. People talk, communicate and bounce ideas off each other. Every client needs (and deserves) communication, whether it’s over the phone, by email, Skype etc.
Clients want to know what’s happening with their accounts. Wouldn’t you if you were in their position?
Sure, machines are interactive in many ways but they cannot look at a PPC account the way a human does. When we look at accounts we can look at the data creatively, not algorithmically. A machine cannot understand tone of voice, body language, hand gestures, facial expression – all of these whether they are good or not so good.
Have you tried using Alexa, Siri or Cortana? Note the emotionless responses you get – when they work…
A machine cannot discuss KPIs or new ideas. A human being understands the client, their needs or desires, and their personalities.
The emotional connection; we all greet one client differently from the other. A machine can’t do that.
We shake hands with our clients when we meet face to face.
Not a chance that a machine wins over a human here. This is why agencies employ people. A person can use experience and knowledge to come up with more creative ideas for so many elements of a PPC account:
- Ad copy
- Account structure
These are just a few examples of where humans excel over a machine every time! Let’s try this example; a client wants a sitelink to promote magnums of champagne over Christmas, with 20% off over the Christmas period. The machine would take the raw facts and create a sitelink a headline saying “20% Off Magnums”.
A human (in this case me – real life example) would say something like “Magnums, Go Big & Go Home” then I would get to the facts of the offer. A machine couldn’t come up with a headline promoting the extravagance of this offer. Customers are humans, and humans know how to make things appealing to humans. A machine can’t light up an ad or an ad extension.
As human PPC experts we have the ability to think sideways about the accounts we manage.
Any decent agency will have members of staff with different areas of knowledge and experience. The staff is the core of any agency’s business. If it isn’t then it really ought to be.
Team members bring creativity, the pooling of knowledge and experience. A few times, when I’ve come up with ideas on how to develop an account I’ve sounded it out with my colleagues to get feedback, whether positive or negative and ask for their ideas/alternatives on what I could do.
PPC isn’t just changing bids on ad groups or keywords. What’s in season, what’s new, what’s the next big thing? These are questions that a machine will never ask itself. As humans that’s what we do. We ask ourselves questions all the time and put ideas out to others. That’s how collective knowledge and experience works.
As an agency we are not “yes” people. If a client has an idea they would like to try out we would discuss it with them to gauge the potential benefits or even drawbacks of that idea. We might identify ways of refining the idea before putting into action. We talk to our clients and help them enhance/augment their ideas.
Hardly a day goes by when something in the world of PPC doesn’t change. It is one of the fastest moving industries in the world. In the six years I have been doing this I’ve seen PPC evolve from simply being keywords and ads to something far more dynamic (Expanded Text Ads, RLSA, Demographics, Enhanced CPC, Callout Extensions etc.).
As an agency we keep on top of the upcoming industry developments. Most of the time we read about it and get ready. Automated systems don’t think ahead like we do. We advise our clients of new beta technologies that we would propose testing on their accounts to enhance performance.
I’m not totally discounting the use of automation on client accounts. It has its share of uses, mainly to make our day-to-day running of our accounts much easier. Functions such as Enhanced CPC and ad scheduling work in the background for us.
Automation is useful for seasonal periods, for example, a number of clients tend to pause for a few days over the Christmas holiday. Automated rules can be used to pause and re-enable accounts without the need to be up bright and early on your days off to manually do this.
Automation is there to assist us, not to dictate or take over. The human element will always be at the forefront of PPC management.
Personally, intuition and knowledge are human qualities and that’s why will win every time.