AdWords Automated Rules and Labels

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “AdWords Automated Rules and Labels.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What are the most common rules that you setup in AdWords?

  • Target Ad Positions, Managing Margins, Managing Costs…you want my actual rules? – Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
    • Maybe not for margins, but for the standard metrics (clicks, avg position, etc). – Matt Umbro
      • Yup, I use em as alerts on conditions as well. Good call. – Heather Cooan
  • I setup rules similar to filters…ie: send email when a keyword has seen 50 clicks and 0 conversions over the last 60 days. – Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
  • 1 conversion or more in the last 30 days to carry on the consideration to live! (by keyword). – Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
  • Pausing KWs for low CTR and no conv., raising bids on KWs falling below first page/certain ad pos., and on KWs that convert. – Ariana Wolf (@ArianaWolf)
  • Increase bid by 15% if Cost / conv. (1-per-click) < 20.00 and Avg. position worse than 4. – Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
  • Total cost at or above x with x conversions over the last week on new expansions or on CPA. – Heather Cooan
  • Setting up conditional bid increase/decreases based on time of day. – Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
  • Daily Rule to Reduce Top Position Bids: Decrease bid by $0.01 if Avg. position better than 2 (using data from previous day). – Jonathan Levey
  • We set up rules and bid policies in Kenshoo. Two good ones: 0 impression and 0 conversion keywords past 60 days. – Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
    • Good for taking the excess baggage out of the campaign. – Matt Umbro
  • I have rules to bid up/down if the ad slips in (or out) of a specific ad position, and rules to not exceed budget. – Christine Eitel (@ECEitel)

Q2: Do you tend to allow Google to make automated changes when creating rules or do you have an email sent? Why?

  • Both. Depends on the severity of the change for me. Also depends on the size of the account, budget, history. If it’s a new or volitile acct, no way…email please! – Heather Cooan
  • I enable email notifications only if there are changes or errors. – Jonathan Levey
  • Had it always email at first, but it’s too much email so I’ve cut back on alerts. You can always check to see what it did. – Ariana Wolf
  • Previewing rules usually catches potential errors, but I only enable email if there are changes/errors or else I’d be swamped. – Gil Hong
  • Never let the system make changes. I prefer to review the data & make final determination myself. – Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
  • Usually reviewing changes. Good to know what changes are happening. – Jeremy Brown
  • I tend to enable email notifications only. – George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
  • If it’s increase/decrease bids it’s automatic, but everything else is e-mail. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
  • I have emails sent. I like to know exactly what’s happening. – John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
  • We always set up email notifications when auto rules run, regardless of changes. We need a paper trail & I don’t trust blindly. – Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
  • I have an email sent. Sometime a change in rule is a sign to look at the account rather than a self-fix. – Christine Eitel

Q3: How important is it to utilize (and rely on) AdWords rules? Why?

  • Not at all for me. But as I get larger accts, I’m starting to consider them. – Theresa Zook
  • Not super important but it can save time. Especially if you don’t have a third party tool. – Heather Cooan
  • For small-mid accounts they’re extremely useful, while larger accounts would benefit more from paid 3rd party platforms. – Gil Hong
  • I think it’s important to utilize rules for simple tasks, but always double check if you’re having it make changes. – Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
  • Rules are super important on very large accts. They help manage time efficiently & allow more time for thinking & strategy. – Ariana Wolf
  • I think AdWords rules are important, but I don’t rely on them 100% of the time. – Jonathan Levey
  • Simple tools compared to what’s out there in better 3rd party management platforms like Kenshoo. – Jeremy Brown
  • Not necessarily essential, but they certainly save time that could be used elsewhere. – George Gilmer
  • Automation in PPC is helpful as long as it behaves the way you would expect. Gotta be cautious and conservative though. – Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
  • Auto rules are a huge time saver with enabling/pausing ads during promos and handling daily grunt work. – Andrew Miller
  • And can we talk “assisted conversions”? Automation tools can’t cope with multi-source conversions. – Theresa Zook
  • I like to use automate everything then just check in every few months. What’s the worst that could happen?! – Noah Brooks
  • Wish there was a way to add labels to keywords/ads/ad groups when you had an automated rule run, though. Would be insanely helpful. – Ariana Wolf
  • Tip: Auto Rules can hurt in small volume accounts, make sure to run at a time span with enough data. – Heather Cooan
  • We use auto rules to enable action, but GA notifications are good for multi-channel notifications. – Andrew Miller
  • I would die without them. Of course, we are always optimizing for less dependence on rules, but they are a nice safety net. – Christine Eitel

Q4: How do you use labels (not to be confused with “AdWords_Labels”)

  • Ad copy testing, and marking target campaigns for optimization. Low QS, High CPA, etc. Also to mark new expansions so I can easily filter and find them for check ups. – Heather Cooan
  • Managing time/event sensitive ads/keywords. – Gil Hong
  • To find stuff. So much stuff. Sort & filter FTW! – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Also use MCC level labels for each acct. manager so we can find our stuff and see what everyone has on their plate. – Heather Cooan
  • Variety of uses, but mostly for grouping like campaigns to see performance in aggregate. – Jeremy Brown
  • I use labels to separate campaigns/ad groups into different products/services that are in the same account. – Jonathan Levey
  • Project mgmt, e.g. reminders for why things are paused, etc. Marking KWs that convert, that are in SEO strategy, themes of KWs. – Ariana Wolf
  • Who could forget AdWords scripts?! – Elizabeth Marsten
  • Also KW match types to see aggregate performance differences. – Ariana Wolf
  • I actually use it for tracking QS for certain keywords. Kind of confusing to explain, but it works! – Noah Brooks
  • I use labels to describe why I paused a keyword, if I am running a specific landing page test, etc. – Christine Eitel
  • Should labels be necessary when multiple specialists are managing the same account? Why or why not?
    • Depends on the team and how they work. They help us quite a bit if someone not as familiar needs to jump in, help on an acct. – Ariana Wolf
    • Yes, this has helped a ton and I’ll be implementing Ariana’s project management idea for sure!
    • They can be extremely helpful for relaying info and context for an account… unless you like relaying 100 questions. – Gil Hong
  • Curious, does anyone create automated rules that run based on their labels? – Ariana Wolf

Q5: We talked about AdWords Scripting in March, but are you using them? Why or why not?

  • In the works to battle narrowing margins from EC’s! – Heather Cooan
  • Use the acct QS script, but noticed that once implemented across a bunch of accts, have to re-authorize over & over. Annoying. – Ariana Wolf
  • At my previous company, yea, but only because we had support from our programming devs. Currently, no. – Gil Hong
  • I’ve used the QS script, but sorry to say I haven’t really done much experimenting. – Matt Umbro
  • I have found AdWords scripts VERY useful. In fact, my latest script identifies Position 1 Bid Headroom. DM me to get it! – Jonathan Levey
  • Yes! We’re lucky enough to have a team member specializing in them and provides support. They provide QUICK, great insights. – Amanda West-Bookwalt (@Amanda_WestBook)
  • I tried out some QS Adwords Scripts but found no Key conclusions yet. – Thomas Langel (@reklame)
  • Accounts I have are too big for scripts that would actually be useful to me, but trying to get other people to use them on SMB’s. – Noah Brooks

Q6: Fundamentally, what do you believe the role of automation should be in PPC and how imoprtant is automation?

  • Two words…increased efficientcy. This should be firmly seated in support of us. – Heather Cooan
  • After account is stabilized, automated notifications of significant performance shifts in both short-term & long-term. – Theresa Zook
  • Personally I’d like to see it used to gain account insights & reduce reporting, but not making significant changes. – Noah Brooks
    • Yes, reporting must be automated. That’s the only way we survive! – Heather Cooan
  • Automation executes a set of changes that are defined by a set of rules. A big time saver for mundane tasks. – Gil Hong
  • Bid Automation is only Important for the Short Head Keywords (approx. 20% of the account). – Thomas Langel
  • To assist in bulk optimization tasks that the advertiser has determined need to take place. The advertiser is still master! – Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
  • I do have my worries about automation, but beginning on a small scale can help accounts. – Matt Umbro
    • Yes, an over reliance on it can lose the data driven decisions. Lose the data-diving, you eventually lose the account. – Kirk Williams
  • Good one! Automation is here to help us manage accounts, not manage an account by itself. Thinking still falls on us humans. – Ariana Wolf
  • Worries me to see people talk abt bid incr via automation. In my world, how I spend the client’s $ is not an unimportant task. – Theresa Zook
  • Campaign Automation (Ads and Keywords) is useless Tool-based. Excel does this Job perfectly. – Thomas Langel
  • Automation is valuable in bidding, KW research, & testing but humans will always be essential. – Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
  • Automation is there to help humans. There is no magic easy button to solve things. And that is no matter how much Google’s marketing says it takes 5 minutes. Giving them a CC # takes 5 min. – Jeremy Brown
  • I believe that PPC automation is fundamental because it can help with time-efficiency. – Jonathan Levey
  • It is a way to reduce micro managing of tedious task to free up time & focus on more pertinent areas. – Christine Eitel
  • Look at the Publicis/Omnimon. 2 giant agencies accelerating the end of their own era because marketers are adapting to tech. – Chris Haleua


More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Amanda West-Bookwalt (@Amanda_WestBook)
• Andrew Miller (@AndrewCMiller)
• Ariana Wolf (@ArianaWolf)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Chris Haleua (@chrishaleua)
• Christine Eitel (@ECEitel)
• Elizabeth Marsten (@ebkendo)
• George Gilmer (@GeorgeGilmer)
• Gil Hong (@ghong_ssm)
• Heather Cooan (@HeatherCooan)
• Jeremy Brown (@JBGuru)
• John Budzynski (@Budzynski)
• Jonathan Levey (@jlevey)
• Kirk Williams (@KECreate)
• Max Fink (@maxfink_SEM)
• Noah Brooks (@noahbrooks)
• Theresa Zook (@I_Marketer)
• Thomas Langel (@reklame)

Automating the Streamcaps Manually

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; WebRanking SEM Manager in Minneapolis, Minnesota, #PPCChat Streamcap Grabber, SEO Blog Author. Connect with me @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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