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Auto-apply ads: review auto-applied recommendations before opting-in

Google has recently announced the launch of auto-applied recommendations, with Microsoft swiftly following suit with their auto-apply ad suggestions.

Google has stated that it is “rolling out the option to apply recommendations automatically” and over 17 recommendations can be applied automatically within Google Ads, which can help improve performance and save time. The recommendations fall under the following categories:

  • Bids and Budgets
  • Keywords and Targeting
  • Ads and Extensions

Where can I opt-in?

On the Recommendations page, click on the ‘auto apply’ icon in the top right corner to view what you can opt-in for. Note that these changes will be applied on an account level basis, and these can be turned on or off at any time.

Google will also show all the changes made in the History tab, so you can see when these recommendations have been applied:

Should I opt-in?

We have split up our recommendations, based on the categories mentioned:

Bids and Budgets

As Google has stated, the auto-applied recommendations can help save time, but from a bids and budgets recommendations point of view, we need to bear in mind potential cost implications, as these recommendations may not spend your budget in the best way.

Whilst saving time may seem appealing to some, you may want to save time in other areas which are a lower risk, compared to bids and budgets, as this will have one of the biggest impacts on your spend and performance. We would recommend being cautious about auto-applying bidding strategies as some strategies may go against your best practices or you may have tested them in the past and they have produced poor results. Google has ensured that the recommendations will not increase budgets but changes to your bids and bid strategies may pose the risk of campaigns spending at a quicker rate, resulting in campaigns being limited by budget if they aren’t reviewed frequently.

Keywords and Targeting

There are quite a few recommendations that fall under this category, which could be worth opting in for. Recommendations such as adding negative keywords will help decrease spend on irrelevant search terms, and suggestions such as removing blocking negatives and non-serving keywords are low-risk and helps to improve the hygiene of the account.

Despite other recommendations being more of a risk, such as adding search partners, new keywords and DSAs, these will help to increase the volume of traffic and potentially conversions. However, it is important to review these changes once implemented, to ensure you agree with them. If you feel the changes made are not appropriate and right for the account, and you are not comfortable with these being automated, then simply opt-out again.  

Ads and Extensions

The final two recommendations are around optimised ad rotation and adding Responsive Search Ads. We would recommend not to opt-in to these suggestions and continue running the account as you are. Having Responsive Search Ads in your account is highly recommended, but these should be done on a manual basis as opposed to automated. This is because it is important to consider the learnings from your Expanded Text Ads, as well as pushing any key messaging or USPs that is important to your account.


There is an ongoing battle around humans versus machines, and which performs better. We believe an amalgamation of the two is the perfect combination – machines can take into consideration millions of signals, whereas humans have the understanding of an account, a client’s needs and objectives, as well as market and industry insights. Therefore, when deciding whether to opt-in to any of the automated recommendations or not, we would suggest looking at each one individually and assessing the risk factor and potential gains from each, knowing what you know about the account.

If you do decide to go ahead and opt-in on any of the recommendations, we would suggest keeping an eye on your account, in terms of spend and performance on a daily basis. Do this as well as checking the changes in the ‘History’ tab, to ensure you are comfortable and happy with the applied changes. It is also important to ensure you are seeing a positive impact off the back of these implemented changes, and that you are achieving your overall goals and objectives.

Need more help?

If you need help determining your most effective strategy for auto-applied ads, your PPC activity in general, or support with setting up / running your campaigns, we can help. We offer a range of flexible PPC services, find out more here or get in touch to discuss your requirements.

About the author:

Bhavisha Panesar is the Head of PPC at CreativeRace, with 10 years of experience in PPC working across sectors such as retail, leisure, finance and property. She has worked on local and global brands including TK Maxx, Euro Car Parts, Topps Tiles, and Jabra.