Digital Advertising Update: Q1 2019

Repeat it with me now; Automation, Automation, Automation!

Back in 2014, in a small cafe in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Adam & I sat down over a coffee to discuss what Intentional might look like if we joined forces.

The conversation focussed on the arbitrage window in front of us where having the best technical operators would ensure are clients received optimal results vs other agency model or in house teams that would not be setup to invest the time in the manual adjustments we could be making.

Well that arbitrage window lasted a lot longer than we both anticipated. It was only truly towards the start of 2018, we begun seeing some traction in updates. But as we enter 2019, the message is clear from the digital advertising platforms > it’s all automation.

The good news for Intentional and our clients, was spotting this trend years ago. From the hundreds of ad account audits we’ve completed over the years, we’ve still yet to see another consider the key structural items to ensure the best success via automation.

The reality is that like anything ‘automated’ the best operators are those who understand the mechanics behind the scenes. As while the scenario may be presented as simply press go and magic happens.

Automation right now takes a lot more work than simply set and forget.

However, we’ve found like anyone starting on a new account. The hardest part is those first 3 months. And so many agencies / operators get freaked out handing over control to a machine, add to this the decline of results and they quickly grab the wheel again.

With that all in mind, 3 key updates for Q1 2019 that are advancing the shift to automation.


Facebook Announcing mandatory Campaign Budget Optimisation from September 2019

This is going to require an entire new way of thinking about the structure of Facebook & Instagram campaigns. We’re already seeing that this works perfectly for Awareness and Reach & Frequency buys, however at the Conversion end of the funnel, requires a lot more thinking and tweaking.


Google Ads Responsive Search Ads out of beta

See point 3 above, if you or your agency were still holding onto believing that A/B split tests were real. Now is the official time to stop it, stop it, stop it.

We originally rolled out this Beta for clients thinking along the same lines as how we do ETAs. However, this truly is a game changer. It’s no longer about testing 1 feature vs another. But instead stepping back and putting together ad copy themes for each industry / client. The results therefore being to talk to a specific themes results, rather than lying to yourself or client that the reason 1 specific granular ad copy performed better than another was including the url in the Headline 2 (& not the 100+ other signals outside of copy)


Google Ads Smart Shopping

I could keep going with Responsive Display Ads, Dynamic Facebook Ads etc.

However, I wanted to close this update with talking about Smart Shopping that has existed for a little while now. However, like the 2 points above that are fresh, this one took us a bit of time to master. It paints a great illustration on the requirement to not simply to follow the steps and magic happens.

We’ve invested huge amounts of time to get our Shopping clients humming. And in this last 6 weeks have really seen these turning the corner.

The truth being that this specific placement is now more about your technical/feed capability than any need for marketing or advertising skill.

While I don’t see the other channels going down this purely technical skill requirement this year. It is the red flag to the opening story.


If Facebook & Google will manage your budgets, test against your audiences, rotate and find the winners of your ad copy or creative > what do we do?!


I’m really grateful that I begun at Intentional seeing this coming a long way off. It’s what allows us to drive our clients forward, not hold them back on manual as long as we can out of fear. There’s been many an article written, but if you can deal with a long read I recommend from Camels to Cars by Avinash

The closing of which presents the areas where professionally and personally you should be looking to move into tasks and roles that Humans will continue to be the dominant force at. Something Intentional have already positioned ourselves for and will continue to over 2019.

The reality is at this point in time,  the structure & management of nearly all ad accounts we audit & inherit are so far off giving them a chance at automation success, there’s going to be a lot of work involved in simply getting brands up to speed.

The scary & unknown part is the cost of delaying this shift, it used to take a few weeks to turn an ad account around, however that is starting to take a couple of months and the more savvy your competitors are the wider that gap will become.

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