The ultimate guide to Google Ads (AdWords) automation
Although Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is notorious for high conversion rates, there’s a problem: it needs you to hold its hand. You have to spend hours every week checking keyword performance, adding negative keywords, adjusting bids and more.
Aren’t you tired of doing all that work?
Two ways you can automate this day-to-day management is by using Google’s built-in automated rules tool or by writing custom scripts for Google Ads. In this guide we’ll give you several of the most common out-of-the-box scripts and automated rules, but if you want anything more advanced and custom tailored to your campaigns, you would need to hire a developer to write, test, and tweak a custom script to make it work.
If working with scripts is intimidating and hiring a developer seems to come with its own managerial overhead you don’t want to deal with, you can instead use an automation tool, like Revealbot, that provides an easy-to-use yet powerful automated rule constructor without writing a single line of code.
Google’s built-in automated rules and the creation of 3rd party automated rules software (like Revealbot) has enabled more businesses to use and invest in Google Ads automation. If your competition hasn’t already begun automating, they will soon.
Let’s dive into the basics of Google Ads automation and how you can make automation work for your own PPC campaigns—zero technical knowledge required.
What is Google Ads (Adwords) automation?
PPC automation essentially uses conditional statements to perform an action on your behalf. For example, instead of obsessively checking your bids every few hours, you can use an automated rule to check for conditions and whenever those conditions are met, it can adjust the bid accordingly.
There are three primary ways to set up Google Ads automation: Google’s built-in basic automated rules, custom scripts, or using a 3rd party software tool for advanced automated rules.
Google’s built-in automated rules can be set up directly in Google Ads, but has certain capability limitations and suffers from a poor user interface (UI) for managing them. However, for very basic needs, many advertisers find it helpful.
Basically, Google Ads scripts and automated rules are like writing your own algorithm. But don’t let that scare you away! This guide will show you how to set up and use Google Ads automation with and without code to save you time and make your campaigns more successful.
Capabilities of Google Ads built-in automation features
Plenty of advertisers use Google Ads’ built-in automation features, but with mixed success. That’s because these automations, like Smart Bidding, are designed for the masses. They’re crowd-pleasing automations that apply to thousands of advertisers. Plus, Google is in the business of making money. It’s not as incentivized to reduce costs as much as you are.
The lack of transparency, capabilities, control, and trust are the main reasons why advertisers avoid using Google’s built-in automation features. Google uses machine learning algorithms which are black-box probability machines that advertisers have no control of.
Google is notorious for making changes to the Google Ads platform without advertisers’ consent, which has frustrated advertisers as these changes affect their campaign performance for the worst. This has resulted in advertisers losing trust with Google, who are viewed as prioritizing ad revenue over customer ROI.
Advertisers would rather have complete control of their campaigns by creating their own automations that work exactly how they want and expect.
How automating Google ads can grow your business
Using automation in your Google Ads PPC strategy has several benefits: saving time on manual campaign management, reducing costs, and increasing ROI. It works 24/7 and takes action faster than a human can.
Instead, you can focus on things that move the needle: keyword research, ad copy testing, landing page optimization, and more. With Google AdWords automated rules, you have the power to create near fully automated campaigns without giving yourself a migraine.
Save time on campaign management
Just like how a machine is more efficient than a human in terms of mechanical tasks, Google Ads automation will outperform any advertiser in terms of day-to-day operations of Google Ads.
This is because after you set up a script or automated rule with its conditions, the rule will take action (also called firing) as soon as those conditions are met.
Spend over $100 on a keyword with no conversions? Immediate pause. Cheap conversions today? Immediate budget increase.
Whether you have ten or 10,000 keywords, automation can manage them all. For us advertisers, it means more efficient budget allocation, more revenue for our businesses, and higher ROI.
“Any action like changing budget and bid, pausing and unpausing items, duplicating ads and ad sets – should be automated if your or your team does it regularly.”
Think about how you manage your Google Ads campaigns today. What metrics do you look for in your campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords to make a decision? You can set that criteria as a condition to execute an action with a script or automated rule.
If you are using Revealbot, you can set an automated rule’s action to be any of the following based on what you’re having your rule apply to:
The first rule most advertisers make is to pause keywords with zero or very low conversions with high spend (more examples to follow)
Scale PPC campaigns quickly and profitably
When you automate your PPC campaigns, you can automatically scale your best performing campaigns for more conversions in less time at a more efficient return on ad spend (ROAS).
For now, just know that bringing automation to your Google Ads can go beyond just daily maintenance to help you significantly scale your campaigns.
Best Google Ads automated rules with examples
And if you want to use a drag-and-drop automated rule builder, then you're in the right place as I’ll walk you through exactly how to set up the most important rules and also how to customize them for your campaigns.
Pause underperforming keywords
Keywords are a tricky thing. Even with the best keyword research, you can still find yourself with different search intent than you’re looking for. Instead of wasting too much time and ad spend figuring out which keywords convert or not, you can set up an automated rule to automate this process.
Here’s what it looks like in Revealbot.
This automated rule pauses keywords that don’t meet a certain threshold of performance. Based on how you manage campaigns, this can be any key performance indicator (KPI) you want. In the example above, I set the rule to pause keywords that have spent over $120 in it’s last time and where the cost per conversion is greater than $40 in the last seven days.
If you want a script you can customize instead of an automated rule example, here’s some examples you can try:
- Pause keywords with a low Quality Score
- Pause keywords with zero impressions
- Pause keywords with a low click-through rate
Automate bid management
If you want the best ROAS with Google Ads, you need to manually manage your bids, which requires spending hours in Google Ads every day. Google wants you to think you don’t have to worry about this anymore by using “Smart Bidding,” but if you want to be in control, you’ll need to use automated rules.
With automated rules you can increase, decrease, and set bids. This helps you get more results without overspending your budget or time in Google Ads every hour of the day.
Here is, for instance, how to increase the bid of an ad group in Revealbot.
This automated rule will increase the current bid once per day by 20% if the current bid is below $5.50. Revealbot works with all the various Google Ad bidding strategies, including target CPA, default max CPC, and max CPM.
Then I can then schedule this rule to run at a specific time of the day. Let’s say I want to increase my bid by 20% during business hours starting at 8 AM in my ad account’s time zone. In this rule’s schedule setting, I can set a custom schedule like this:
Then you can duplicate this rule, change the action to decrease bids by 20%, and change the schedule to the end of the business day to say 5 PM.
You most likely already have some form of a bid management strategy. Automated rules enables you to automate the implementation of it without having to do it manually every day.
For more complex bid management strategies, check out these custom scripts you can copy and add to your account:
Increase and decrease campaign budget
To help you scale campaigns fast and profitably, you will want to use automated rules to increase the budget on campaigns that are performing well.
Whatever your KPI is for performance, use that as a condition. In this example, I’m going to use a combination of cost and cost per conversion.
This automated rule will increase the budget by 15% once a day if the campaign spent over $300 yesterday with at least one conversion at a cost per conversion of $40 or less. If this happened yesterday, I can increase the budget for today and schedule this rule to run once per day 12:15 AM.
It will also make sense to decrease budgets for campaigns that underperform. So I can set up another rule like this.
With these two automated rules, I’m increasing and decreasing the budget automatically based on the previous days performance. Again, this how you already manage your campaigns budgets. Turn what you look for in a campaign to conditions and set up automated rules to automate the entire process.
So you can feel comfortable, I highly recommend turning on notifications so you will always know how your automated rules and campaigns are running.
If you’re looking for an advanced script to modify to fit your needs, try one of these out:
Get notified about your campaign performance
No matter how many automated rules or scripts your using, you’re still going to want to keep tabs on how things are doing in your account, especially specific events that you may want to be notified about.
Fortunately, you can sleep better at night by setting up automated rules to alert you if your campaigns go off the rails.
Whether your campaigns suddenly begin under performing, or outrageously over-spending, you can use an automated rule to to alert you via email or Slack.
Here’s an example of conditions in Revealbot that when met I want to be notified about.
This automated rule will send me an alert if my ROAS today is less than one after spending at least $200. The possibilities of what you want to be alerted about are endless.
Remember, you can also adjust an individual rule’s settings to take an action and notify you when that action is fired. In the above example, this rule won’t do any action except notify me. You want to set up notification-only rules like this when it’s something that needs your attention that an automated rule action can’t do itself.
For more notification style automations, check out these custom scripts:
- Daily updates: This is a good script if you want a high-level overview of daily performance without logging into Google Ads.
- Account Anomaly Detector: This script from Google compares your campaign stats against historical stats. If anything looks off, it will send you an email.
- Check for disapproved ads: If you’re testing a lot of ad copy, you can use this script to make sure you always know when Google rejects your ad copy.
The great thing about Revealbot versus a custom script, is you can choose to be notified via Slack in a DM or to a channel. This can be great when you also want to get an alert for good performance and automatically share it with your team.
Automated rules for Google Ads help advertisers win big. With Google Ads automation, you can boost performance, slash advertising costs, scale campaigns, and save a lot of time. Instead of spending your time adjusting bids and keywords, devote yourself to actions that move the needle for your customer acquisition strategy.