How To Optimize Your Campaigns with AdWords Scripts

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Advertising
How To Optimize Your Campaigns with AdWords Scripts

There are many techniques that marketers use to optimize their AdWords accounts. Some choose a very manual approach using AdWords Editor to make bulk changes, some use 3rd Party bidding tools that use an algorithm to help achieve a desired goal, and some use both. In this post, I will offer an alternative route and show you how AdWords scripts can help make some really important optimizations that will take your campaigns to the next level.

The Dilemma

3rd Party Tools

The biggest problem I found with 3rd party tools is that they only show data from the past day and rely heavily on historical data.  This information is useful, but when increasing and decreasing bids based on conversion data, I prefer to also account for same day data. Having both helps ensure I’m making the right decision at the right time. Another issue is cost, because big enterprise tools are expensive and typically require a contractual obligation.

Manual Optimizations

The problem with manual optimizations is that they are time consuming, daunting when  working with large campaigns, and typically surface level optimizations (changing bids, re-writing ad copy, changing match types, etc.). While these optimizations are 100% necessary, I believe this process can be more efficient.

Wind up robots
Source: flickr.com/photos/51940189@N04

Enter AdWords Scripts

First, lets take a minute to understand what scripts are and what they can do. Scripts let you automate actions in your AdWords account by using JavaScript code. While scripts aren’t new by any means, they are often overlooked due to their complexity. Don’t panic, though–while they are crazy to look at if you are not a Software Engineer, theres plenty of code already created. All you need to do is change a few things in the script to tailor them to your account. What’s more, the pre-made scripts do a good job of telling you what to replace and how to implement the script. There are two great resources for discovering new scripts. You can check out, freeadwordsscripts.com, a terrific blog dedicated to sharing new scripts, and Google’s own developer documentation.

Why You Should Use Scripts

Scripts take a lot of the manual work out of simple optimizations and incorporate some pretty advanced optimizations to take your campaigns to the next level. Scripts can be created to run advanced reports, set up advanced bidding changes, customize ads and set-up alerts.

My Top 5 Favorite Scripts

  1. Bid to Position – For many advertisers, there is a sweet spot when it comes to position where they can get an optimal cost/conversion & desired conversion volume. This script is designed to increase bids for keywords below the optimal position and decrease bids for keywords above the optimal position, so long as the CTR is above 1%.
    Note: this script only works with accounts with 50,000 or less keywords. If you have an account with over 50,000 keywords, this script can still be implemented. However, only 50,000 bids will be increased and 50,000 will be decreased.
  1. Flexible Budgets – This script is great because it will dynamically change your budget each day until you reach a desired goal. When I was running campaigns, one of my biggest pain points was managing spend– especially in instances where clients wanted to spend an increased amount over a certain period, say during the holidays.  Depending on the industry, this isn’t always easy. With a flexible budget script, however, it makes it much easier to pace and manage spend.
  2. Sales Countdown – Probably my favorite of them all. The countdown script is designed to dynamically change your ad text to match the time left during a sale. As marketers, we always talk about creating urgency in ad text. This script is a great way to do that without creating a ton of ads and flipping them on and off, or setting up a bunch of rules to do it for you.
  3. Link Checker – There is nothing worse to a campaign manager than a broken URL; it creates a very poor experience, and takes some credibility from your business. Broken URL’s do happen for reason’s out of our control (a client makes a change to their site, server outages, etc.). This script will help prevent these potential errors, saving you hours clicking each URL to make sure they direct to the right pages.
  4. Bid By Weather – What a cool concept. For many advertises weather can have a big impact on business, this script is designed to adjust bids based on the weather. For example, if you are an electrician, you may want to increase bids during inclimate weather where power outages are more likely to occur.

Implementing Scripts

Initially, I was a little hesitant to create scripts that would affect my campaign performance. So I eased in by using the reporting scripts. These are simply used to push out reports to a ‘Drive’ document. So if you are new to scripts, I’d start here.

Note: Some scripts will require a separate spreadsheet to be created with inventory or other information in order for them to work. It will then call from that spreadsheet to run the script. For reporting, scripts often just need a place to spit the data out.

To implement a reporting script, do the following:

1. Scripts are located in the ‘Bulk operations’ section of AdWords

2. Click +Script to add a new script

3. When you create a new script, you’ll need to ‘Authorize’ Google to have access to your account. This permission allows them to pull data and make changes from the JavaScript code.

adwords script example authorization

4. Enter or paste your script in Google’s script builder . Then, you can preview it to ensure that you’ve created it properly. The logs will tell you if there are any errors and where they are located.

adwords script example log details

5. Once your script is checked and ready to go, you can schedule it to run once, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.

adwords script schedule

Takeaways

There are a lot of great optimization tools, some of which are very pricey and some which are more advanced than others. I’m a firm believer in automating tedious processes and spending my time deep in the analytical parts of the optimization instead. Scripts are a great way to shift your focus from maintenance, to more rewarding tasks, like the deeper analysis and optimization of your accounts. So give scripts a try; they may be just what you need to make your optimizations more efficient and get the results you’ve been craving.

Have other tips about scripts? Share them in the comments below.

Kent Pearce

Kent is a Customer Success Manager at AdStage. He possesses extensive knowledge of the PPC landscape, having executed over 1,000 paid media campaigns. Previously, Kent was the team lead for G/O Digital’s Premier Paid Media division, where he managed a book of business of over $500,000/month, spanning large regional and Fortune 500 companies. Kent graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Marketing.

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