1. SEM results
  2. Input for the PPC automation
  3. Quantitative output
  4. Practical examples of SEM results, input & output in action

Automation in search engine marketing (SEM) is growing and developing. What started out as basic bid rules has touched almost every facet of an account and campaign.

Bids, yes … and ads, targeting, and more.

To be honest, automation scares some advertisers because they feel like they are losing control or not being able to see all the details behind the scenes.

These feelings are entirely valid and should not be dismissed. We all want to understand and trust the tools we use!

One way to build confidence in automation and use these tools safely is to focus on input, output, and outcomes.

More in a nutshell, to focus on using automation consciously and intentionally and tailoring the desired results to the automation capabilities.

The combination of intent with powerful automation and intelligent human input results in the secret sauce that drives growth for you and your campaigns.


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SEM results

One of the first times I heard the word results, used in business, came from a nonprofit client I had years ago. It was part of how they measured success.

Yes, they had obvious KPIs at the campaign performance level and wanted to increase lead generation.

The ultimate goal, however, was the results – how did the services of this nonprofit actually help the people who came through the proverbial door?

It wasn't a quantity game, it was a quality game.

Since then, I've learned that results are widespread in nonprofits, healthcare, and many other industries. I believe it is a word and definition that we should adopt in the world of SEM.

Goals and KPIs are great and necessary for success in marketing, but they are not the whole picture. What are some of the less tangible, but arguably more important, results that you are working towards when you choose to use automation in your campaigns?


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Maybe you need to save time (bid strategies, scheduled Google imports, scripts) or scale your business efficiently (intelligent campaigns, automatically applied ad recommendations)?

Perhaps you've set yourself the task of expanding your ad strategy to be more inclusive and create a deep connection with your target audience (RSA)?

Or do you want to build the best Dang Keyword Research Engine to Increase Your Search Reach (DSA)?

Regardless of the result you want, here's what you can do if you know beforehand what you want to achieve:

  • Adapt your results to the automation functions.
  • Do the job of preparing quality submissions.
  • Clearly define which expense equals success.

Input for the PPC automation

Throughout my career, I've heard one consistent topic about automation: you will get out of it, what you can or want.

What could your input look like?

  • Sufficient time frame and data.
  • Strong landing page copy.
  • Effective ad messaging.
  • Clear goals and KPIs.

In other words, remember to prepare a meal for your family. They want lasagna but are only ready to cook and use spaghetti pasta and cheese whiz for 20 minutes.

You might get lucky and end up with a strange and delicious meal … but let's face it, you're likely to have a lukewarm, disgusting mess on your hands.

Dang. Now I want real lasagna! Or cheese whiz. Sometimes we just want what we want.

Keep going…

Quantitative output

So your input was of high quality. You can set it and forget about it now, right?

Not correct!

Automation is about efficiency, but that doesn't mean you have to let go of the steering wheel. In order to be able to make optimal use of the automation functions, great curiosity, iterative tests and a dash of patience are required.

If results are qualitative goals, then the output in that context is quantitative – time, performance, lessons learned.

Has the performance developed up, down or flat?

Does automation improve efficiency and save me time or does it act as a blocker and waste of time?


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We all need to do post-mortem SWOTs or even mid-stream analysis to understand what went well, what didn't, and what needs to be changed in the future.

Practical examples of SEM results, input & output in action

It is one thing to think and speak abstractly and another thing to do the job.

How do you put the outcome, input & output concept into practice?

Here are some examples:

Google import

  • Result: Save time managing campaigns for Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising.
  • Entrance: Set up Google Import, schedule recurring imports, and set up email notifications.
  • Output: New keywords, ads, and campaigns in Google are automatically added to Microsoft Advertising. X time is saved every week, month, quarter, and so on.

Clever Campaigns

  • Result: Grow my online business with minimal time and ongoing administrative time impact so I can focus on managing my business.
  • Entrance: Fill in your business and billing information, set your advertising goal and basic ad copy in minutes.
  • Output: Automation drives high quality traffic to your website and produces clear, understandable results when needed.


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Recommendations for auto-applied ads

  • Result: Stay up to date with new ad formats and optimize ad copy with minimal impact on my time.
  • Entrance: Check the ad recommendations in the user interface or email notifications to approve recommended ad additions or revisions.
  • Output: High quality ads, improved campaign performance (checking KPIs such as click rate, conversion rate, etc.) and time in minutes versus hours.

Responsive search ads

  • Result: Provide search ads that are not only inclusive, but also reveal which value-based messages are really resonating with my target audience.
  • Entrance: Identify the words and phrases from the nine feelings of inclusion (celebration, zest for life, hope, relaxation, relief, security, trust, acceptance, clarity) or the three metaphors for inclusion (connection, openness, balance) that you want to test and create RSAs testing these words and phrases in the 15 headline slots and four body copy slots.
  • Output: Asset performance reports can help you identify the combinations of headings and text that are performing best. Create new ads to test these topics further and transfer these messages to other areas of your marketing efforts.

Automation is a powerful tool at our disposal, and success comes when we intentionally connect and enforce this power.

Understanding your desired outcomes in using automation, performing work to provide quality inputs, and reviewing outputs to make decisions is the particular sauce we should all be working towards.

Have fun cooking … I mean automate!

More resources:


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Selected image source: Microsoft advertising. Used with permission.


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