Auto-Apply Recommendations in Google Ads

Online advertising helps you target your ads to the profile of customers you want and filter out those who don’t. If you advertise with Google Ads or plan to do so, you should know how to use the Recommendations tab by Google.

The recommendations tab is an entire section dedicated to helping you improve your performance. Each recommendation provides customized suggestions to help you increase your campaign’s performance.

However, it’s important to note that not all recommendations are suitable for all businesses. Each business has a unique goal, strategy, and user journey. Therefore, it’s essential to carefully review and evaluate the recommendations in the context of your specific business case before implementing them.

This article outlines our agency’s best practices of dos and don’ts in activating Google’s recommendations.

Types of Recommendations and How They Work

The Recommendations page analyzes your account’s performance history, campaign settings, and Google trends to generate automatic suggestions for your active campaigns. Recommendations typically fall into several categories:

  1. Repairs are recommendations related to the settings of your accounts, campaigns, and ads.
  2. Bidding and Budgets usually suggest increasing your daily budget or changing your bidding strategy.
  3. Keywords and targeting suggest modifying the targeting of a specific ad group, adding new keywords or modifying existing ones, and changing their match type.
  4. Ads and Assets indicate a need to rewrite your ads or add extensions to help improve your ad performance. You could optimize headlines, descriptions and landing pages and add images or videos.
  5. Measurement provides recommendations and changes related to measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of your campaigns. Suggestions include settings to track conversions (Conversion actions), automated bidding strategies (Smart Bidding), Google Analytics configuration, and other aspects of performance analysis.

Applying Recommendations Automatically

Auto-Apply recommendations are a feature that automatically applies recommendations from the Recommendation tab to your advertising campaigns without your manual approval. Google suggests optimization suggestions based on your campaign settings and performance and will only auto-apply your pre-set recommendations.

While auto-apply recommendations save time from manual work, the disadvantages are that they only sometimes work according to your business goals and, at times, require more manual control.

Below is a list of AARs we don’t suggest activating:

  1. Add responsive search ads & Improve your responsive search ads allows Google to generate new ads or change existing ones, including adding new headlines or descriptions. Even though Google uses semantic search to understand search queries, we can only partially rely on it to build grammar structures and spell words correctly in Bulgarian.
  2. Remove redundant keywords removes keywords Google considers inappropriate. For instance, identical words or phrases may appear in multiple match types (e.g., both in broad and exact match). Activating this recommendation may not be the best option for your account, as the platform doesn’t always consider your business specifics or strategy.
  3. Add new keywords & Add broad match keywords. These are two settings where Google adds new keywords or upgrades existing ones to broad match. Recently, Google’s been recommending upgrading to broad match types as it helps identify related queries. Once again, this option should be considered only in your business context. Regardless of the keywords match types that you use, ensure keyword selection is well controlled. Otherwise, you’ll be spending your budget on irrelevant search queries. 
  4. Expand search campaigns to display network suggests expanding your campaigns’ visibility to Google’s display network, using unspent Search budgets. Search and Display typically serve different advertising goals, campaign characteristics and audience types. We strongly advise creating separate Search and Display campaigns with their own budgets and settings.
  5. Change Bidding provides suggestions related to modifying your bidding strategy. Some of them are relatively safe to activate, but generally, changing the bidding strategy is a significant strategic step for your account that you should be able to manually control in the context of your business. 

Monitoring Performance with Auto-Apply Recommendations

If you decide to activate any of the automatic settings, click the Campaigns icon in your Google Ads account. In the top right corner, click Auto-apply, which will take you to a separate menu where you can review the settings you want to implement.

Another option for activation is within the Recommendations tab, where you can select any of the suggestions from the list and choose “Apply” or “Apply all”.

After activation, it’s essential to check the automatic changes applied periodically. You can do so from the menu on the left, navigate to “Change history,” use the “Auto applied” filter, and inspect all the changes made for the selected period.

Follow Accella Digital’s YouTube channel for more information on Auto-Apply recommendations:

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Just like all other features, Auto-Apply Recommendations are not inherently good or bad. Depending on your account goal and expected business results, you have the flexibility to determine what’s right for you, but make sure you monitor any changes Google makes closely.