In late April Google will start offering (forcing) a new tool letting artificial intelligence generate ads in your AdWords account. The really fun part; once these ad recommendations appear, you’ll have 14 days to dismiss them before they become active by default. So, look forward to seeing text ads generated by an AI’s best guess at improving your campaigns.
Granting that Google will build these new ads using information from existing ads, landing pages, site descriptions, and other relevant data it is likely the ad will be at least somewhat on target. However, the sophistication of the AI does not diminish the concern many ad managers (including our team) feel about Google automatically creating and launching ads with no human oversight.
Adwords Already Uses AI for Keyword Suggestions
AI generated lists of suggested keywords are a long time feature of Adwords. Many advertisers are accustomed to seeing notifications pop up suggesting you add a fairly huge number of mostly irrelevant keywords to your campaigns with a single click. These suggested keywords generated by AI often miss the mark, turning the time-consuming task of keyword research into a high-speed, money burning exercise. Admittedly this tool has become smarter over the years but is still a great way to quickly target a completely irrelevant audience.
At least suggested keywords require manual approval. By default with this new feature, ad managers will need to disarm the unknown AdBomb cooked up by the AdWords AI, or it could be explosive. Remember that could be good or bad, we have no idea what will happen. Not knowing how the AI comes to its conclusions, or what it’s track record is gives me pause. Also, Google isn’t paying for any poor choices made by it’s AI, so the AdBomb joke is starting to sound better (or worse) the more I think about it.
Although it may feel like Google is springing this on the public out of nowhere, this program has been in testing since January of 2017 in one form or another. In its earliest stages, the program was called “Ads Added by AdWords,” — these ads were created by humans. The study was trying to prove if additional ads could help ad groups in the majority of circumstances. Once the answer was a resounding yes, the team had to scale the program via machine learning. This lead to the program to its fully automated state that it is in today. How smart the machine has become is now the question to be answered.
How to Disable the AdBomb
Although accounts will default to automatically launching the ads every 14 days; it is possible to opt out of this feature in account settings in both the standard AdWords and from a manager account (this will opt out for all managed accounts).
Jon Norwood is a Managing Director of Push ROI.