AdWords Automated Rules & Scripts - User Beware

January 18, 2016
I’ve never been much of a gamer but I would considered managing an AdWords campaign pretty close to that. You have a life-force (daily budget), a series of challenges (bidding, ad content, etc) and enemies to battle (competitors). The game changes minute by minute and you have to stay on top of things.
One of the ways to stay on top of things is to monitor the account daily, making changes to each keyword's bid and every ad's text but that might not be beneficial to your mental health. Another way to do that is use some automated features within the AdWords platform. I’m talking about Scripts and Automated Rules
Watching AdWords is a bit like watching the Stock Market. Both fluctuate depending on the market (price of keywords + amount of searches per day). Google, in their infinite wisdom to give marketers an always evolving platform, introduced Scripts and Automated Rules to great fanfare within the AdWords marketing community. These two new additions allowed us to fine tweak accounts and spend our client’s money wisely.

What Are AdWords Scripts and Automated Rules? 

Scripts use Javascript programming to 'automate common procedures or interact with external data - for one to many accounts.’ With this addition to the AdWords platform we can monitor and change an almost infinite amount of information. At Blue Sky Marketing we work with a lot of home builders and master planned communities. There’s a lot to think about when it comes to setting up and optimizing their accounts: keyword bids, quality of keywords, what time of day people are searching for your business, the list goes on and on. Scripts allow us to automate things like this but they also give us a way to bypass certain AdWords limitations.
Where scripts allow us the ability to create any kind of thing we need to help make our campaigns better, Automated Rules are Google creations that allow allow us to choose from a preset array of settings. They are limited to what Google has created. Still effective and an all around great tool for us marketers.

The Perils of AdWords Scripts and Automated Rules

Any time you give up control of something you’re at the mercy of who or what you’ve given the power to. In the world of Automated Rules you need to make sure that what you want to happen will happen. Automated Rules are great at shedding underperforming keywords and ads but it can also shut down your account almost immediately if you don’t set things up correctly.
One particular rule we employ is to make sure that the keywords we have in a campaign are bidding to the first page. First page bid means that when someone searches for a term and our bid is above the minimum amount to get on the first page then our ad will show. If it is below the first page bid then our ad won’t show on the first page. If you’re even a mild internet user you know that the first page is where you want to be. You also know that the top of the first page is where you really want to be. 
Automatically bidding on terms can have an adverse affect though. It can inflate your daily costs and strangle your budget. For instance, if your budget is $50 a day and your top terms cost you $5 a bid to be in the top position you’re going to spend your budget in 10 clicks. Not every keyword bid costs the same and not every term should be in the top position. We have some rules in place that reward the best keywords in a campaign. Thankfully Automated Rules allow us the ability to find these terms and change their bid accordingly. It takes some tweaking to get things right so before you do anything make sure you understand the rule and what kind of affect it will have on your account.

Some AdWords Scripts to Try:

Hour by Hour Heat Map
One of the challenges for a campaign is knowing what time of day brings you in the best traffic. You can find these reports in Analytics but being the visual person that I am I love this script from Brainlabs. Once installed it looks at your account over a set amount of time and averages out the traffic and scores it. The data is stored in a Google doc that is broken down, by tabs, into impressions, clicks, conversions and so on. Once you run the script you can then adjust your budget based on this data.
24/7 Bidding Schedule
AdWords allows you to change the amount we bid at certain times of the day. Unfortunately they only allow us to do that 6 times a day. So that means we can’t set a bid for each hour of the day. Well, technically they say we can’t but with Scripts we can. This script, also from Brainlabs, goes around that rule and allows us to change our bids for each hour of the day, every day of the week.

Use AdWords Scripts With Caution 

Some scripts can do more harm than good if you’re not paying attention. For instance, there’s a script that will pause keywords with zero impressions. If you run that daily you may end up pausing most, if not all of your keywords. Another problematic script is one that allows us to pause any ad or term with a high Bounce Rate. One person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. If a person searches a term and doesn’t get what they want the BR will be high. Fast forward a day and another person might find that term useful. If the script was running then the term/ad would have been paused, depending on how you set it up.

Some Automated Rules to Try:

Raise bids to first page CPC (cost per click)
Just as it sounds this will raise the bids on any keyword or keywords you select in your campaign to the first page bid. This is the lowest cost to get on the first page. Depending on the popularity of the search it could either be in the 2nd or 3rd position at the top of the page or on the side of page in the bottom position. Be careful with this one. As I mentioned earlier this can inflate your daily spend on certain terms. You can choose to have this run once, daily, weekly or monthly. If you’re marketing a highly sought after product like shoes and your budget is huge you may want to set it to daily. If your product or service isn’t as popular you may try weekly. I wouldn’t suggest monthly unless you’re the only business doing what you’re doing. If that’s the case you have no competitors and don’t need AdWords :)
Raise bids to top of page CPC when CTR (click-through-rate) is greater than X% and BR (bounce rate) is less than X%
This one is where we reward our top performing keywords. The CTR is determined by how many clicks to impressions a keyword or term receives. The more clicks to lower impressions means a higher CTR. BR is what is used to describe people that have clicked on your ad, landed on your page and left almost immediately. This is usually because the page you sent them to doesn’t answer their needs. If your CTR is high and your BR is low that means that the keyword and landing page combination meets needs of the searcher and keeps them on your site longer. Finding these terms take a little investigating on your own. With Automated Rules we can set parameters to do the legwork for us.
Test out some AdWords Scripts and Automated Rules on your accounts but make sure you do the necessary research before activating them. Before you get started with Automated Rules get acquainted with them and then look at your account to see where they might be beneficial.

AdWords Scripts & Automated Rules Resources

Automated Rules


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And if all of this sounds daunting, contact Blue Sky Marketing and let us take care of you and your AdWords account. 

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