Pay-Per-Click Automation

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) hosts PPCChat with another great question set titled “PPC Automation.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: What is your take on when it makes sense to use automation and when it doesn’t? Why?

  • Scale and repeatability. If the process happens often and is well defined automation probably makes sense. – Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
  • I use automation for repeatable, assignable, non-subjective tasks. I.e., smart bidding rules, enabling/pausing labeled ads, etc. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Use automation for repetitive tasks – save your precious time for account strategy. – Matt Umbro
  • First know thy self. Automation happens best when it’s adapting to an understood model. It makes bad worse. – Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
  • When it’s a task that is repeatable, such as ad scheduling. – Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
  • Repetitious tasks like report pulls can easily be automated as well as date-sensitive efforts (sale ending). – Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
  • Don’t automate anything that would benefit from intuition. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
    • Or partially automate: automate report data pulls, but add insight & recos manually. – Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
  • Only automate when I understand the process manually and know WHY I’m doing the process that way. Save time & be more effective. – Duane Brown (@duanebrown)
  • Consider rule sets to reduce manual labor; maintain position; increase efficiency (CPC, hour of day). – Rachel King (@rachelking237)
  • I try to implement automation when I know my time could better be spent elsewhere. I acknowledge it’s somewhat subjective thinking. – Matt Umbro
  • Reports, pausing/activating, smaller tasks. – Andrew Taylor (@AFHammer)
  • Using it for repetitive and things that can be fairly time consuming. – Marina Obsivac (@MarinaObsivac)
  • I’ve found value in automating some reports for key data sets. Things that otherwise take time to generate. – Jason Dodge (@dodgejd)
  • I will automate certain things AFTER I have determined the no harm is done and I can use my time better on other campaigns. – Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)

Q2: What type of automation saves you the most time? Why?

  • Bid management, reporting, ad test analysis. – Melissa Mackey
  • Automated reports going out to the customers. Daily account alerts to me for budgets, disapproved ads etc. – Steve Seeley
  • Reporting is the big one – especially because you know you are always going to be doing it! – Matt Umbro
  • Pulling data. Bidding. – Robert Brady
  • The routine checks (links / low volume) that 9/10 times don’t show problems – but that one time. – Steve Hammer
  • Data pulls. Nice to have it emailed to you or pulled to a Google Sheet automatically for instant access. – Joe Martinez
  • Reporting/data collection is big. Also scheduled changes: maybe not the *most* time, but shifts *when* I need to do the work. – Kyle Crocker
  • Everything from Q1 – activating/pausing stuff, bids, reporting. Saves brain power. – Andrea Taylor
  • Automation is great for things that are time consuming, but simple to check, like links or something w/ hard date involved. – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Bid automation saves us the most time, we were spending ~50% of day on manual bids. I want 10% of teams time spent on bids. – Rachel King
  • Activating/pausing, ad changes, bids, URL checking. – Marina Obsivac
  • Reporting/data pulling, Bidding rules, ad scheduling. Bc they are the easiest to automate well that also save a bit of time. – Kirk Williams
  • Reporting or pulling of numbers. Sometimes bidding and URL building at times. – Duane Brown

Q3: What tool(s) do you use for automation and why (can be platforms, scripts, automated rules, etc)?

  • Varies between DS strategies/rules, platform automation, but largely scripts, as they can do so much so quickly! – Azeem Ahmad (@AzeemPPC)
  • Acquisiofor bid/budget mgmt. & reporting, AdAnalysis for ad testing, and scripts for clients not on Acquisio. – Melissa Mackey
  • Scripts, natch, plus reporting platforms and rules when I can. But yeah scripts. – Steve Hammer
  • Primarily rules and scripts – power and flexibility. – Kyle Crocker
  • WordStream fan for bid/budget management and benchmarking. – Jason Dodge
  • My Optimyzr love continues in a second Twitter chat. Great scripts for management, reporting, notifications, etc. – Joe Martinez
  • Free: Automated Rules, Scripts. Paid: Swydo (reporting), Steadybudget (budget tracking), Optmyzr (LOTS), Fiverr (KW research). – Kirk Williams
  • Optmyzr for a lot of things, semrush, custom scripts, private click bot network you know the usual. – Steve Seeley
  • Mostly automated rules, some scripts. Love that Bing Ads finally introduced automated rules too. – Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)
  • Mix – scripts mostly; Google automated rules for small accounts; 3rd party platform for large ones. Love Brainlabs scripts! – Rachel King
  • Rules & Scripts – easy to enable and disable if necessary. – Andrea Taylor
  • Scripts, excel/Google sheets and automated rules are my go to. – Duane Brown

Q4: What automation that is currently NOT available would you like to see? Why?

  • Automated rules for product groups. – Kirk Williams
  • Bing Ads labels…. Go vote for it, people. – Brooke Townsend
  • URL updates – even as a passed parameter. – Steve Hammer
  • The ability to automatically refresh product groups with new products since the last upload. – Matt Umbro
  • I’d also like to see more automation available for Facebook Ads and/or a platform that allows you to manage. – Matt Umbro
  • I would also like Bing labels for sooo many reasons. – Andrea Taylor
  • Getting auction insight reports through scripts/api would be great. – Tamsin Mehew (@TamsinMehew)
  • Tools for monitoring and adjusting for C2C button visibility. I drive calls – lack of button visibility is a crisis. – Rachel King

Q5: What advice would you give for those who are hesitant to use scripts?

  • Sart small. Get comfortable. And of course attend one of my sessions on scripts. – Steve Hammer
  • Plenty of resources to copy and paste from! And good places to start learning Javascript like. – Timothy Jensen
  • Start small with a script to check if your URL is valid. Found on Google script dev site. Good script to play with. – Duane Brown
  • If you’re worried about it making changes, use preview mode or write potential changes to a Google Sheet for review. – Tamsin Mehew
  • Learn with basic ones first like reporting to get familiar with how they work. They try scripts that change your account. – Joe Martinez
  • My advice would be to get on the script train – there is more code involved in PPC by the day – is beneficial to learn! – Matt Umbro
  • I’m no script pro, but I say stick to stuff that doesn’t make real changes – just generates reports/stats – until comfortable. – Andrea Taylor
  • Use existing scripts, brush up on the education. – Jason Dodge
  • Copy/Paste. Preview 1st. Start with report script rather than “blow up account” 1. – Kirk Williams
  • Start with a free script that creates a report or simply pulls in data. Build up from there and never stop learning. – Steve Seeley
  • Use them for things you understand and start w/ the existing ones. – Marina Obsivac

Q6: For those who don’t use any sort of automation or little automation, why is this the case?

  • I’ll freely admit that I could probably use more automation…it’s really a matter of peace of mind. – Matt Umbro
  • For my accounts it is often when there isn’t a good process established. – Kyle Crocker
  • A few accounts do not use automation re: volatility from competitive movement and/or low impression vol. – Rachel King
  • A few rare accts are just so simple, they don’t need scripts. Or automation. – Melissa Mackey
  • I have a call only account that is strictly for lead gen, no scripts needed just on a schedule for office hours. – Steve Seeley
  • Like most things, I hate set it and forget it methods. – Jason Dodge
  • My CFO preaches to put your hands in “it” regularly. Don’t lose instinct/intuition by automating so no longer have to touch. – Rachel King
  • Sometimes limiting factors (spend or G Grants) can make it harder because you manage differently than w/out those things. – Julie Bacchini

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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)
• Andrew Taylor (@AFHammer)
• Azeem Ahmad (@AzeemPPC)
• Brooke Townsend (@btownsend13)
• Duane Brown (@duanebrown)
• Jason Dodge (@dodgejd)
• Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Kyle Crocker (@kacrocker)
• Marina Obsivac (@MarinaObsivac)
• Melissa Mackey (@Mel66)
• Rachel King (@rachelking237)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Steve Hammer (@armondhammer)
• Steve Seeley (@SteveSeeley)
• Tamsin Mehew (@TamsinMehew)
• Timothy Jensen (@timothyjjensen)

Streamcap Automation Manualization

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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