Ashlyn Lujan
May 2, 2023

What is AAR?

The Pros and Cons of Auto Apply Recommendations

Auto Apply Recommendations or AAR is a Google Ads feature that was designed to help save time and improve campaign performance through automation. The recommendations are made through Google’s machine learning algorithms and are automatically applied if you opt into the feature.

AAR Suggestions

Google Ads has 35 AI-based suggestions that are broken down into three different categories: bids, ads and extensions, and keywords and targeting. Suggestions within each category can be selected or deselected based on the needs of the individual client or ad campaign. Therefore, you are able to easily customize your choices by turning on or off a bundle or individual recommendation.

It is important to carefully consider which automations to apply to a particular ad since not all of the AAR are suitable for every client or every situation. Furthermore, the campaign’s performance should continue to be closely monitored to ensure that the changes are having the desired effect.

Bidding and Budget Recommendations

There are pros and cons to using Google Ad’s auto-apply recommendations. As described above, not all of the recommendations will be relevant to every campaign. Additionally, Google may not take into account things like seasonality and the competitive landscape when making suggestions. 

Bidding and budgets are two areas where you might not want to have the automatic application of a recommendation since it could affect how the campaign performs. A poorly selected bid adjustment could negatively impact a campaign resulting in higher costs and lower returns. It is recommended that you maintain full control and oversight over these aspects of the campaign to ensure its success.

Google Search Partners and Broad Match Keywords

Two other recommendations that should be carefully considered before automatically applying are “expand your reach with Google search partners” and “broad match keywords.” 

Expanding your reach with Google search partners allows your ads to be displayed on websites and other platforms that are part of the Google Search Network. 

Broad match keywords will allow your ad to show for a wide range of search queries that may include variations, synonyms, or related keywords to your targeted keywords. While this can help reach a larger audience, it can also result in your ad showing for irrelevant or low-intent searches, which are not likely to result in a conversion.

The Safe Six

While there are several recommendations that you want to think twice before selecting, there are a few that are likely to help. 

The “Safe Six” for hygienic campaign optimizations include:

  • Use Optimized Ad Rotation - This feature automatically shows ads that are more likely to perform better based on their click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate.
  • Remove Redundant Keywords - This will suggest removing keywords that are similar or identical to other keywords in the campaign. Using this feature will help you narrow your focus to the keyword that is more likely to drive results.
  • Remove Non-Serving Keywords - This selection will make suggestions on keywords to  remove that have not received any impressions or clicks in over a year.
  • Remove Conflicting Negative Keywords - If selected, it will recommend the removal of negative keywords that may conflict with other keywords in the campaign. 
  • Upgrade Your Conversion Tracking with Data-Driven Attribution - This feature will suggest upgrading to Google's more advanced conversion tracking options. These options give more detailed and accurate data on ad performance and enable you to make more informed optimization decisions.
  • Add Audience Segments for Reporting - If selected, it will suggest adding audience segments to reporting to get a better understanding of the audience.

While many of Google Ad’s AAR features are useful, the six listed above are the most beneficial in terms of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Bottom Line

Auto Apply Recommendations can be helpful in many ways. By automating certain tasks, you can save time and money. However, relying too heavily on these options could cost you. You might end up giving up control and oversight over critical parts of your ad campaign. It can also lead to overspending or targeting the wrong audience. Therefore, AAR selections should be monitored closely to ensure that they are having the desired effect and delivering results.