This is the third post in a series on getting the most out of the Google AdWords left nav . We’ve done several similar posts in recent months designed to help advertisers better understand all of the features and functionality available to them within the AdWords interface. The first post in this series focused on the Google AdWords shared library , the second post walked through the Google AdWords reports within the AdWords left navigation , and this post will center around how to make use of the Automated Rules section of the AdWords left nav.
Google AdWords Automated Rules Management
Similarly to the AdWords reporting suite within the left navigation, the primary function of the automated rules section of the left navigation isn’t creating rules. Creating a new rule is easiest when done from within the default campaign interface. For instance I might want to create a rule to alter keyword bids depending on performance:
From there you can create very specific rules, such as increasing bids on keywords with high Quality Scores: 
This particular rule could actually be very problematic, but we’ll revisit the types of automated rules you might create and some potential pitfalls with said rules later on in the post. For now we’ll just note that once you’ve created automated rules within AdWords, you can then start to manage your automated rules:
The two key things you can do from this screen are:
- Edit, Activate, Pause & Delete Automated Rules – You can turn down or up percentages or Max CPC rules or you can turn off your automated rules from this interface.
- Monitor Automated Rule Logs – This is likely the most important component of the interface – you can quickly look at the times the rules have run as well as the actual impact of the changes made by the rules. If running an automated rule has had unintended consequences, you can undo the changes made.
This is key because you may need to unravel some of your automated rules if you’re not careful when creating them.
Potential Problems with AdWords Automated Rules
It’s important to check your automated rule logs, because there are a lot of possible pitfalls with handing control over to Google when it comes to making changes within your account. For instance, with the rule above, if we’re simply raising bids on any keyword with a good Quality Score, we might increase bids on a term that converts inefficiently (even with a Quality Score of 8 or better, the term we’re targeting may not map well to our landing page – this rule then is exacerbating a problem we have with synergy between ad copy, keyword, and landing page/offer).
Similarly, depending on the metrics you’re using, an automated rule may cause you to:
- Pause a keyword that’s performing well, cutting off a profitable sales/lead channel
- Pause or lower bids on a keyword that hasn’t performed well lately, but has been valuable historically, depending on the date range you select
- Increase budget on a campaign that has been working well without lowering that budget back after poor performance
By carefully considering and crafting your rules you can avoid many of these issues, but it’s still important to monitor the changes that your automated rules are actually executing within your campaigns so that you can put out any fires and make the most out of AdWords automation.
About the Author
Tom Demers  is co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM LLC , a boutique search marketing agency offering search marketing consulting services  including pay-per-click account management, a comprehensive SEO audit , content marketing services , and a variety of link building  packages such as guest posts  or blogging strategy .