Using AdWords Scripts Like A Boss
We’ve warned you of the potential dangers of using Automatic Bidding, but I know the yearning for a hands-off approach to managing your account cannot be squelched so quickly. I mean who wouldn’t want a way to tell AdWords to adjust your bids based on specific metrics of account performance or alert you to poor performing elements in your account? So, we give you AdWords Scripts!
AdWords Scripts are powerful lines of code that essentially speak to your AdWords account to edit almost any element within your account, create new ones, and even automate AdWords reports for you. The scripts go far beyond automated rules, in that they can make changes to your account based on multiple parameters and can even use external data to customize your AdWords.
So you might be wondering “What can I have my magical scripts do?” and “What are the possibilities?” Well, dear reader, the number of possibilities veer toward infinitude, but I’ll give you a few examples of some very awesome things AdWords Scripts can do to help you optimize your account like a boss.
Andy Samberg would use AdWords Scripts like a Boss
Using AdWords Scripts To Bid By Rules
First up, advertisers can use scripts to adjust their bids by certain parameters. For instance you can use a script to perform the following: increase bids 15% for all keywords that have more than 10 conversions and a CTR higher than 3%, but don’t raise the bid more than $2.50 in ad group X within campaign Y. This kind of optimization would take forever to accomplish manually – not to mention how excruciatingly tedious it would be. But using Google Spreadsheets, this can be done in no time. Below is what the spreadsheet would look like for this type of bidding by rules using AdWords Scripts.
The columns, arguments, and actions can be changed. More columns and parameters can also be added, so there are an endless number of combinations! A multi-bidder script will use the information in the spreadsheet to adjust your bids based on the “argument” and desired “actions.” Some more ideas on how to use this:
- Set bids for all keywords that have a Quality Score lower than 3, CPA higher than $30, and average position of 6 or higher to the first page bid estimate.
- Increase bids by 5% for restrictive match types (phrase and exact) for keywords that have an average CPC of $4 or higher within a certain campaign.
Bidding By Weather Using AdWords Scripts
I often dream about the day when I can adjust my bids according the state of the atmosphere. 30% chance that it’s already raining? Bid up 10%! Feeling like you’re in the seventh circle of Inferno? Bid down 20%! Now there’s no need for my idle dreaming since bidding by weather has become a reality through the OpenWeatherMap API in AdWords. Your scripts can import external weather information from this API and use that as parameters in your bidding rules. Everybody stop – and appreciate the boss-ness of this.
Stop in the name of AdWords Scripts, brought to you by the gang of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
This could be a useful addition to your account if you provide certain products or services that could be affected by the real time weather in certain locations. If you run a water park, for example, you might want to run certain campaigns more aggressively on warmer days and perhaps even offer deals for that specific day (or bid down on rainy days). Additionally, a cab service might want to increase its bids for click-to-call mobile campaigns on days when the weather is inclement. More people might be looking to get a cab home instead of taking public transit when it’s storming outside, so if you can bid more aggressively for that top spot on mobile, it’s possible you could get more conversions.
Perhaps this is just the first step towards editing AdWords Scripts with external data. What could be next? Importing high-volume search trends? Stock market numbers? Sporting game results? Who knows! But so far, optimizing your bids based on the weather outside is a boss idea.
Check out this post from PPC Hero to find out details on how to set this up using Google Spreadsheets.
Inputting Dynamic Values In Ad Text With AdWords Scripts
How much more can we harp on the importance of great ad copy? Displaying an ad that speaks to the user’s search query will make you appear more relevant unless you do it really really wrong. That’s why dynamic keyword insertion is really useful! But now you can go beyond DKI and use AdWords Scripts to get insanely specific. I’m talking about down to the price, quantity, and model of each of your products. All brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Ad Customizers.
Say the prices of your doughnuts change daily and you want to advertise that day’s current price. Instead of going into your ads every day to update this information (and subsequently losing the historical data associated with that old ad), you can use a script that will pull information from a spreadsheet to automatically update your ad copy. The spreadsheet can contain price changes, quantity, product details, and more – so your ad can show real up-to-date stats without the hassle of manually editing your ad. Ad Customizers can be super helpful for advertisers that have a lot of changing quantities and prices or who have a lot of variety of product.
As you can see above, this doughnut shop changes its prices based on some limited time offers. Changes like these could be tediously executed in your AdWords account, or you can create a script and a corresponding spreadsheet like these to update your ad copy wicked fast. You can also use a countdown feature in your ad text to detail the time remaining on limited sales.
Oh no! Only 53 pink frosted doughnuts left? You better step up your game before this doughnut shop runs out of the best doughnut flavor ever.
Using AdWords Scripts to Create Reports
Scripts aren’t only for editing your account, they can produce really useful (not to mention automated) reports on your account performance. These types of reporting scripts will scan your account data and create a Google Spreadsheet with the metrics that you choose. Here are a couple ideas of what kind of reports you can create:
- A report that will look at the performance of keywords in your account and alert you (via email!) of any underperforming keywords – say a CTR < 2%.
- Track the Quality Score at different levels of your account. Learn more here.
- Track drastic performance differences in your account over time. Here you can find areas in your account that start to perform differently than they have in the past. For instance, this report will alert you to a campaign that is spending 50% more than it historically does.
- This script can check the landing pages of your ads and make sure that the destination pages are not broken links or don’t route to out-of-stock pages. If you have a lot of ads and your stock quantity or your website changes frequently, this could take the pain out of changing all the destination URLs.
Caveats to Be Aware Of While Using AdWords Scripts
You thought there weren’t going to be any catches? That you can just code forever and ever to your heart’s content? I’d hate to be the heartbreaker here, but there are some limitations to the AdWords Scripts that you should know.
Each script can only act upon a maximum of 250,000 entities. So if you have half a million keywords that you want your script to change the match type on, you’d have to create at least two scripts. A single script is allowed to run uninterrupted for 30 minutes, after which the script will be cancelled, though all the changes the script made within that time period will be applied. Check the best practices for some shortcuts to make your scripts more concise and run smoothly.
The more you know about AdWords Scripts, the better!
Google won’t let you run your entire account through AdWords Scripts but that’s okay! Good account management requires vigilance and active monitoring of its performance. Like I said already, these scripts are powerful. A mistake like an extra zero in the column for increasing bids could increase your bids by 100% instead of the recommended 10%. So just keep your eye on your account if you are using these scripts, but otherwise, spice up your life AdWords account today.
Great resources for scripts and help:
Also, check out Larry's post on how to learn to code for free.
About the Author
Rebeka Alvarez-Heck is a Customer Success Associate at WordStream. She seeks to combine her love of Linguistics with the PPC world. Next to paid search, her favorite things include the board game Clue, Nepal black tea, and Turkish coffee.