When to Auto-apply Google Advertisements Suggestions


Google Ads continuously integrates machine learning into daily account management. Within the last year the changes include:

Google recently introduced a feature to auto-apply its suggestions on the Recommendations tab, which offers 17 types of auto-applications in three categories:

  • Bids and budgets,
  • Keywords and targeting,
  • Ads and extensions.

In the example below, I’ve chosen to automatically apply three recommendations in the Keywords and Targeting category.

The Keywords & Targeting category has nine auto-apply options.

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Advertisers can view all of their automated applications, past and present, on the History tab, which includes the recommendation, category, total number of automated applications, automated applications over the last seven days, and last automated application, and credentials.

The following example shows a total of 80 automated applications for recommending removing redundant keywords. The change history report shows the specific keywords that have been removed.

Screenshot of the Google Ads interface with the tab

Advertisers can view all of their automated applications, past and present, from the History tab.

Automatically applied recommendations have different effects. For example, giving Google the leeway to remove redundant keywords doesn’t have nearly the same effect as automatically generating ads for dynamic searches.

3 categories

Bids and Budgets. In my experience, advertisers should stay away from Google’s bid and budget recommendations because they are too important to be automatically applied. For example, if you have a target cost-per-acquisition bid strategy that will lose click volume, Google will likely recommend increasing your CPA. This recommendation can result in more clicks, but it can also increase spending over the advertiser’s budget. Bid strategy recommendations cause too much volatility when applied automatically.

Keywords and targeting. However, keyword and targeting recommendations are helpful in cleaning up your account. The removal options remove non-compliant, redundant, and conflicting negative keywords. The “Implementation” options can be useful for adding positive and negative keywords, as well as phrase and broad-match options. Inevitably, however, Google automatically applies keywords that don’t make sense or are too broad. So be sure to read the change history report.

And I avoid two recommendations in the “Keywords and targeting” category:

  • Create dynamic search ads,
  • Use the targeting extension.

Both suggestions may make sense, but only at the discretion of the advertiser, not Google. Dynamic search ads require careful planning and research to find the right dynamic targets. The same applies to the advanced targeting in Google’s display network. If Google applies these recommendations automatically, the spend can increase significantly.

Ads and extensions. The final category of recommendations, “Ads and Extensions,” has only two components. The first is optimized ad rotation, which most campaigns should be using anyway. With this option, Google shows ads that are likely to get more clicks or conversions. If you’re using automated bid strategies, this option is unofficially disabled because the strategies will show the best ads to help you achieve your goal. The second recommendation is to add responsive search ads. Every ad group should have RSAs, although advertisers should implement certain messages, not Google’s.

For the ad copy, there is a recommendation to automatically apply suggestions at the account level. By default, Google enables advertisers for the “Automatically apply ad suggestions after 14 days” option. Make sure you click the check box to not automatically apply the suggestions so that the suggestions remain available on the Recommendations tab. However, they are not automatically applied after 14 days. Always check the ad copy, even if you manually accept Google’s recommendations. (Incidentally, Microsoft Advertising offers the option to automatically apply recommendations for ad copy. It is available at the account settings level and is disabled by default.)

Screenshot of the Google Ads interface showing how ad copy suggestions are automatically applied.

Advertisers should normally not automatically apply ad copy suggestions.

Check the change history report every few days if you are automatically applying Google’s recommendations. I’ve seen drastic changes in an account that don’t make sense.

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