The dictionary says that Enlightened Despotism is:

The form of authoritarian government practiced by different kings in the second half of the 18th century, inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment, and currently also known as Enlightened Absolutism.

If you remember, it is the famous "Everything for the people, but without the people".

Doesn't it sound familiar? Doesn't it seem to you that Google is doing something similar with their systems? Have none of you received a call from your Google Account Manager lately asking you to switch to Smart-Shopping? Why are they so keen for us to use their automatic, totally opaque systems? Why since August 11 Google does not allow advertising with keywords that include the terms "Google Ads" or "Google Adwords"? All for our supposed benefit, but without us knowing what is going on? All so that we pass our accounts to their automated systems? Despotism?

As I was telling you before, if you haven't yet received a call from a Google Account Manager to jump into their automated campaigns, you will shortly. It's important to be aware of what this change entails and how it may affect you.

DSA

If you want to automate your campaigns and attract users, but, for whatever reason, you have not been able to include all the possible keywords, Google gives us a hand by providing us with its (semi-automatic) DSA solution that, a priori, solves this situation.

The campaign is generated based on the contents of your website and not on the keywords you have chosen, and both the title of the ad and the destination URL are created automatically.

What to consider before taking the plunge:

  • If your website does not have the necessary depth or is not well developed technically, Google Ads DSA may have trouble creating your campaigns. This means that either the SEO part is well worked, or you will have problems.
  • To make sure you are not wasting your money, you should constantly and thoroughly monitor the search terms that trigger your DSA campaign for possible negativization. If you don't do this, Google can misinterpret that a search term is relevant to a lot of information common to your entire website, such as navigation menus, contact information, FAQ section... and this will only bring you problems that can range from a decrease in CTR, to empty clicks that increase spending without bringing you any benefit.

  • You leave the message, the wording of your ad, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in Google's hands. This will result in a message that may not be aligned with the sales and communication strategy of your company.

The positive points we see in DSA are the following:

  • It allows you to start a Search campaign with search terms and ad copy without having to spend a lot of time on it. It also allows you to identify search segments and niches that will help you better manage your Google Ads account.

  • If you already have a traditional campaign already active, you can think about activating DSA as long as you put all your current keywords in negative in the DSA campaign. This way you force the system to discover new keywords and make sure it is generating additional traffic.

  • If your product inventory changes regularly and you don't have time to develop new ads.

  • By activating DSA Google will tell you which are the most relevant URLs on your website to convert into landings.

Smart-Shopping

What about Smart-Shopping?

It is very important that you do not forget that to start a Smart-Shopping campaign you must have previously paused the standard Shopping and Remarketing campaigns, because Smart-Shopping prevails over the standard Shopping and Remarketing campaigns of the same account.

And since they require a minimum of 20 conversions in the last 45 days in all Shopping campaigns, and a Remarketing list of at least 100 active users associated with your account, it is complicated to compare. A bit advantageous, isn't it?

In addition, the use of Smart-Shopping involves some risks that you should consider before deciding to take the leap:

  • It is possible that your Smart-Shopping ads will be seen in normal and usual Shopping places, but also in others that may not be the most appropriate such as Display, YouTube or Gmail. And you will never know, because Google does not allow you to see it, in which networks they are being shown, nor in what percentage, nor in terms of absolute impressions.

  • Unlike standard campaigns, in Smart-Shopping there is no possibility of incorporating negative keywords.

  • With Smart-Shopping you will never know which keywords add or subtract in your campaigns, so you will not be able to reuse the ones that convert better in other campaigns.

It is easy to start a Smart-Shopping campaign. Google makes sure that you don't have to spend a lot of time on it and guarantees that you appear in all the networks, but:

  • It does not allow you to use negative keywords.

  • It does not inform you which keywords convert better.

  • It does not allow you to adjust bids.

  • It does not allow you to "granulate" the data in the analytics.

From now on Google is your guide and you are its blind man. It is so kind that it takes you by the hand blindfolded, but, the question is, does it take you where you want to go, or where it is in its best interest? How do you know for sure that the campaign has been successful? Isn't it strange that Google works for your benefit instead of its own?

With each of its latest moves Google is becoming more and more of a "Walled Garden".

A "Walled Garden" is a closed ecosystem in which all operations are controlled by the operator of the ecosystem itself.

Add to this the fact that in this case the operator, i.e. Google, is the only one who really knows how your products are sold, since you, as a seller, have no choice but to accept losing control of all this information when activating DSA or Smart-Shopping campaigns.

When there is total and absolute transparency, decisions are always easier. But in this new automated and opaque landscape, it is important that brands have clearly defined objectives and have a trusted team, whether in-house, agency or service, that understands what combination of each channel best achieves your goals and how to maximize the return from each.

In summary, as automation makes it seem that every day platforms become more accessible to small businesses, we must be very careful and be aware that to get the most out of these features we must have experts to help us configure and optimize technically given the lack of visibility and flexibility that threatens us. Lest the "all for the people, but without the people" only be again and in commercial terms, a new era of absolutism, in this case digital.

As usual, thank you for reading me and if you don't agree with anything I have said, take advantage of the comments to start a debate.

It could be interesting! ;)

AL