Google Ads Holiday Planning: How to Use the Automate Feature

January 9, 2019

As the holidays come barreling in, the last thing you need to worry about is pushing yourself away from turkey and stuffing to turn off your clients’ campaigns. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to schedule your campaigns automatically: the Google Ads automated rules feature.

I used to eschew this feature, opting instead to set reminders in my calendar, but a recent client request for specific days and hours during the holidays prompted me to learn how Google’s campaign automation works.

You can use Automate for lots of things, such as turning a campaign off when your budget hits a certain amount, or to receive an email when events occur on your website. For our purposes here, though, we’re going to focus on one thing: how to pause and enable campaigns on particular days and at particular hours.

3 Steps to Using Google Ads Automation for the Holidays

This is an easy three-step process:

Step 1

Go to your Campaigns view in Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords), select the campaign(s) you want to automate, then choose Automate. From there go to “Pause campaigns when…” to create rules for pausing campaigns.

AdWords Automated Rules

Step 2

Go to the Frequency section, select “One time” in the drop-down, and choose 12 AM for the day you want the campaign to pause. In my example I’ve instructed Google Ads to pause this campaign on November 28 – and it will remain paused until I enable it again (more on this later). For the “using data from” field simply keep it set at “Same day.”

AdWords Create Automated Rule

Step 3

Lastly, you may want to assign a custom “Rule name” to your automation because it will help you identify your rules later on when you want to review them. You can see I named this rule Pause campaigns Nov 28 client XYX.

You can also select the option to receive an email when your rule actually takes effect or leave it set to email you only when a rule changes or if there’s an error in your rule, but that’s generally only going to come into play when you’re doing more sophisticated automations.

Hit “Save” and you’re done!

AdWords Holiday Planning Rules

One last step

Okay, not quite done. I mentioned the need to enable your soon-to-be-paused accounts after the desired paused period has elapsed. You can set this to happen automatically for you so you don’t forget in your post-holiday grogginess.

Simply follow step one above, but select “Enable campaigns when…”

Google AdWords Holiday Settings

As I’ve chosen to have my example campaign pause at midnight, November 28, it will stay paused until I turn it back on manually or set an automated rule to turn it on. In my case, I set it to enable on December 2 at midnight (see below), at which point the campaign’s regular settings will kick in.

Create Automated Rule in AdWords

That’s all you have to do to free up some holiday time. Here are some closing notes:

  • You can set the pause and enable rules for any time of the day, not just midnight. So, if you have a client who wants to only run until noon on the day before Thanksgiving, you can set it to pause at noon or whatever hour is desired.
  • If you want an overview of all the rules you set, go to “Manage rules” (below) and you’ll have an overview of all of your rules.
Automated Rules Menu

The Google Ads automation is easy to get the hang of, and it should free up some of your holiday time this year, especially if you have lots of accounts to manage. Got any other good AdWords holiday tips?

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