Paid Search and the huMan vs. Machine Mayhem
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Paid Search and the huMan vs. Machine Mayhem

Is your provider leveraging technology and the advantages of automation while a human monitors all the dials, levers and adjustments necessary to prevent leaks and wasted spend?

By Lisa Gener, CRO of Dealer Alchemist

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It’s 2022 — we’ve survived the pandemic (sans zombies) and every flying car that Back to The Future promised is still … one chip short. We have robotic dogs and single passenger-sized drones — a real era of human vs. machine. It’s all here, this eon of change.  

In the car biz, it’s moving faster than ever. Digital retailing launched quicker than pulling grandma’s tablecloth out from under her best dishware. Manufacturers continue to mandate advertising initiatives (like candy in a van) and as dizzying as this binary swirl is, I’m armed with experience and our team of experts as I continue my mission to unmask automotive digital advertising practices.


Today, my dismemberment is focused on SEM, man vs. automation, the acronymic bunny and hat trick. The keyword, bid managing, landing page rocketing, amazon-idiosyncratic audience viewing, dynamic-dynamite exploding, Google factoring, car-selling-money-gun.

Hand-Crafted or Mass Made?

It is hard to watch, the dealer sold on “the best digital advertising strategy in the universe” when behind the curtain is a dying, hand-built keyword list (you’re probably not shocked that so many still exist). In-turn, there’s just as many templated, bid-management platforms that allow Google to allocate spend as needed. Google … the largest ad agency in the world … spending … on your account.


The critical setback of both strategies is mostly due to the hired guns that are not paying close attention. The trusted “experts” are running campaigns with automated reporting and not monitoring individual campaign performance or campaign behavior flow — while it’s happening. (Resulting in “hide-the-nut” reporting.) As far as the hired gun goes (and never one for excuses) maybe it’s not their fault … maybe they took the blue pill, woke up in their bed this morning and in a contest of “approved-only vendors,” they had to keep their head down, turned away, with their finger on the money gun.


Best of Both Worlds

The right answer to the huMan vs. Machine mayhem is ensuring your provider is leveraging technology and the advantages of automation while a human monitors all the dials, levers and adjustments necessary to prevent leaks and wasted spend. Technology has a huge advantage in dynamic ads and audience building, which can significantly outperform any dated methods. Tech provides a more personalized search experience for specific in-transit and in-stock inventory and, in our case, an increase for clients in new car pre-orders and a faster turn of used car inventory. The bottom line is: without human assistance, automation has too much variance.


How do we fix it? Gain empowerment in knowledge, ask questions on the ins and outs of who’s building, who’s monitoring and who’s spending where, inside of each campaign.

To help kick this off here’s some questions to ask your digital agency on your next hot date:

+ Is my paid search advertising still being hand-built by my agency (yes, even the Jetsons would agree that this includes keywords templated on an excel spreadsheet)?

+ Is my agency leveraging technology, automation or building dynamic ads?

+ Who’s monitoring my campaigns throughout the month and how often are they being adjusted for the best month-end outcome?

+ Is my agency relying on templated bid management tools, allowing Google to decide how much and where to spend (also known as, “spend more, do better” or “excuse me, is this your wallet on the floor”)?


+ How are my buyers really searching and where are they landing on my website … (OK, prove it!)?

+ Show me my Google Quality Score in Google Ads and tell me how you’re working to improve it.

In the huMan vs. Machine mayhem what the new car shortage has exposed the most in paid digital advertising is that almost all approved vendor-built ad programs (the masses) were not geared to pivot in favor of the client (our dealer-body) and the used car phenomena. So …

+ How are my used car campaigns built for the vehicles I currently have in inventory?

+ How are we prioritizing my aging inventory?

As with any offer of information I’m always here to answer any additional questions or have a look behind the curtain and help you analyze the current state-of-affairs for free. Please reach me at [email protected] for the best way we can help each other in this huMan vs. Machine Mayhem world of worlds.

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