Somewhat controversial opinion, but I do believe that Google's push towards "automating" more aspects of the Google Ads platform is good for some advertisers, namely smaller ones with more limited budgets (and particularly advertisers in industries/verticals where - for lack of a better way of explaining - it is easy for AI and algorithm to understand what the advertiser is trying to sell and how customers are looking for it).
For advertisers with larger budgets and/or more complex requirements in terms of campaign setup, management and optimisation, I think it's going to be tough for Google to replace the knowledge, capabilities and insights of a dedicated specialist or agency, of which there are many excellent options. There is more to lose, and potentially a lot less to gain (in terms of cutting management spend and giving Google more ad budget instead ... which is really why Google is pushing the automation aspect so hard)
However, in recent weeks I've come across several lower budget accounts where the advertiser is spending 50-100% of their ad spend again on management.
The most egregious, however, was a business spending $1500 per month on "optimisation and reporting" and $500 on ad spend going to Google. That has to be the most extreme ratio of ad spend to management fee I've ever seen (I'm sure somebody can top it though ... drop a comment if you can).
In other words, for every dollar this advertiser was giving to Google to actually show their ads - for a simple, clear and small list of keywords - they were paying three dollars to a company to manage this.
Some of the work that was being done in these accounts was actually really good in terms of what the client was getting management-wise ... it's not that the agency/freelancer wasn't looking after the account at all, but the fundamental issue is that in all instances the advertisers would (based on initial calculations) be better off letting Google take more control - perhaps on an already-established structure that has good bones to it - and then actually paying for more advertising as campaigns were very budget limited, or there were other opportunities missed due to a lack of ad spend budget.
Take the $500 spend/$1500 management business, for example. Their campaign (there is only one) is heavily limited by budget. It's not a complex campaign, there's minimal risk for things to go too awry in terms of letting Google use its algorithms to manage the ads a bit more, and considering just how limited the campaign is by budget the advertiser would almost certainly generate more leads/sales/profit from this approach.
The secret to taking this approach is to have somebody waiting in the wings who can independently check on what Google is doing and jump in to solve problems if/when they arise (a bit like a pilot takes over the controls on a plane if there's an emergency or the autopilot plays up).
That's where I come in ... so get hold of me to learn more!