Do you want to convert your PPC auto recommendations to apply without your intervention?

Would you like all your keywords to be converted to a broad match, including even the loose synonyms that you do not want? Well, that day has arrived – and you don’t even need to agree to it. If your ad campaign has started to falter lately, it may be because of a change that Google has recently made. Google has made this change in a way that most advertisers and agencies are not aware of it. We’ve been impacted by it for about a month, and just recently discovered what’s happening over the past 24 hours. I should add, this post reflects what we know as of July 20, 2021. It’s time-sensitive information so I will be updating on this topic as it plays out.

Here’s what Google Ads is doing currently: without any opt-in, even in highly optimized campaigns that receive daily attention from SEM pros and agencies — Google has chosen to automatically convert phrase and exact match keywords in search campaigns to BROAD MATCH, and even to introduce unwanted loose synonyms as broad match keywords! This can negatively affect certain search campaigns. If you manage campaigns you know there are two things that Google’s “artificial intelligence” recommendations constantly plead for: “change your keywords to broad match” and “increase your ad spend”. That is what is recommended most frequently, but it’s rarely in the advertiser’s best interests.

Recently, they have taken the first of these two Google PPC auto recommendations a step further: they just do it themselves, without asking your permission. This can be invoked by automation without advertisers being aware. There is no reference to it in the campaign settings. You have to go to a different address, the new “Auto Apply Recommendations Control Center” if you can get access, and hopefully, Google has granted you permission to disable this. Google states that not everyone is granted access: this. Google states that not everyone is granted access:

Auto Apply Recommendations Control Center

We are not sure whether advertisers, or just Google Partners have access to this dashboard.

auto apply recommendations

Google claims this is only being used on accounts where this is appropriate. That may be their view but as one example, we have a highly optimized campaign that we’ve carefully built for attorneys who advertise estate planning services. Over a ten-day period ending yesterday, Google had automatically converted all 34 phrase and exact match keywords to BROAD match! We started getting complaints from the law firm that their phone was ringing with nonsensical calls unrelated to the services they provide.

We have seen other campaigns coming in as potential new clients, where the advertiser states the campaigns have “stopped working” and they don’t know why.

I’d like to call on Google to make all advertisers aware of this and to require an opt-in before you enable this for your advertisers and agency partners.

Fellow agencies and PPC pros, feel free to comment or contact us if you can add more.