How Do I Automate Ads? | Google Smart Ads & Facebook Automated Ads | BFO

November 05, 2019

10 Minute Read

Advances in machine learning and AI made automated ad creation a reality. Facebook, Google, and Bing have introduced it into their platforms. One question we are often asked is, “Should we use it?”

Frankly, it depends. In this article, we’ll look at what ad automation is, how it currently works, and what to consider when deciding if you should use it or not.

What are Automated Ads?

Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Bing Ads offer automated ad creation, a feature which leverages machine learning and AI to build and serve ads with a minimal amount of content input during setup. The main goal of automated ads is to get your audience to take action.

How Do Automated Ads Work?

Each platform does it differently. Effectively, choose some targeting criteria, input some information and voila! you’ve got an ad.

Facebook Automated Ads

Facebook leverages pre-existing website content, especially graphics and images. Setup is fairly simple. Tell Facebook your goals, add some ad copy, your destination URL (landing page) and the audience you want to target and you’re up and running.

To track response, you do need to have the Facebook pixel implemented on your site.


Google offers automated ad creation for both display ads and smart ads.

Steps to make Googles Display Ads

Google’s Display Ads apply dynamic ad building to create unique ads specifically aimed at your audience. It’s a straightforward process where you choose your goal (ie., sales), identify the URL, and then it’s pretty much fill-in-the-blanks.

1. Name the campaign and choose the locations where you want to target 

2. Select the languages for the campaign.

You’ll then choose your bidding preferences. Options presented here will depend on your campaign goals. Setting “Sales” as your goal will present “conversions” options. If your campaign however is to build awareness, you would alternatively see “clicks” as an option for your bids.

3. Populate your budget.

On the image below, you’ll see below budget are several additional fields. These are advanced options.

While it’s not necessary to use any of them, the more details you can add to your campaign, the better. The more you can target your audience, the better the return you’ll get on your spend.

4. Choose your audience

Here again, the more targeted the audience, the more likely your ads will connect and engage.

You can – and should – add demographic data for better targeting.

5. Create your ad

For this step, you’ll need to upload images, add up to five headlines and type in 5 descriptions. Since Google’s going to dynamically create the ads, we typically recommend these fields be content already present and in use on your website or in other ads.

With all fields completed, your ad is ready to go!

Google Smart Ads

Google’s Smart Ads serve the ads on SERPs, maps and across the internet, using audience response to optimize and better serve ads to drive response. Setting these up is simple.

Choose where the ads should show, define your business category and specific products you’re promoting. Then, enter two headlines, a description and you’re ready to go!

Bing Ads also offers automated ad creation, with a similar fill-in-the-blanks setup.

Advanced Ad Automation

In addition to the quick ad setup, there are advanced ad automation features more technically inclined marketers can use to increase ad impact.

  • Dynamic Keyword Insertion allows the search engine to populate specific keywords into the ad copy based on the user search query. For example, let’s say you have a spa business. Using keyword insertion would allow you to use general ad copy which could then add in “manicure” for users searching for manicures or “pedicure” for those searching for that service. This feature is best used in general ads.
  • IF functions can be particularly powerful when used for CTAs, specifically for targeting device types such as calls for mobile devices or personal assistants.
  • Timers add urgency to an ad. They require a little setup, but once created, Google takes care of the rest of the work. (bullet point these)

Should You Use Automated Ads?

There are several elements of automated ad creation that should be considered before jumping in:

These ads are designed for search engines to optimize for you. As such, they produce the best results the longer they run as the search engines can learn from user response.

Automated ads work based on your website or web page content rather than based on selected keywords. A well-optimized website is vital for the best success.

You may need to have pixels and other necessary tags installed to ensure accurate tracking between platform and website. (bullet point all of these)

It’s also worth noting that we believe a manually created ad can outperform automated ads. Since the creative and marketing teams know the audience, the ads should produce right from launch. This is a big advantage of manually created ads.

Another advantage is that a marketing team can respond more quickly to changes in the trends and the market. However, none of this is to say you shouldn’t use automated ads. Manual ads require creative and marketing expertise to understand the market, manage the ads, keywords, budgets, and other elements. Automated ads eliminate this hands-on effort.

So, should you use automated ads?

Our opinion is automated ads can be a great tool when used in the right situation.

Curtiss Gulash - Director, Paid Media

Curtiss Gulash

When Curtiss is not being a Brewmeister, brewing amazing craft beers at Big Cat Brewing Company, in Cedar, Michigan, he is BFO’s Paid Media Team Lead with a specialty in marketing automotive brands. Curtiss is known for his super-human energy and loves taking a project from start to completion. He understands the world of digital media through and through and manages to juggle multiple curveballs, be a terrific team player, and a super coach to his staff.