When it comes to PPC management, I’m perplexed by how little there is out there about Adwords Scripts. There are few people talking about them, fewer people writing scripts, and even fewer sharing. I’m flabbergasted by the lack of information out there; a problem which the team at Gryffin Media hopes to remedy.
Using Adwords Scripts can COMPLETELY change how you run and optimize your adwords campaigns. Most people either settle for poor management, or choose to pay expensive tools to help keep their campaigns performing. With adwords scripts, you can set up a scalable, affordable system for adwords management that doesn’t require ongoing monthly payments.
What can you do with Adwords Scripts?
In this article we’ll share our PPC campaign management approach which relies almost exclusively on Adwords Scripts, from A – Z.
Upload new Ad Groups / Keywords / Ads
Instead of creating ads directly on Google or via the Adwords Editor, you can completely bypass this step by creating new ad groups, keywords and ads through a spreadsheet.
Think of the beauty of copying and pasting across rows in a single spreadsheet; think of the time saved not having to go from one ad group to another, hoping your setup is correct and you don’t forget to set things up correctly on Editor. In minutes, not days, you can have new accounts, campaigns, or ad groups up and running.
Daily Account Maintenance: Keyword Manager
Okay, you have an active account, now what do you need to do on a daily basis to keep your account optimized? Remember that you don’t get much statistical significance looking at data from day to day, but there are a few tasks that you can perform on a daily basis.
At Gryffin, we use a script called Keyword Manager where we can determine certain rules, and export the data from these rules into a spreadsheet.
Some of the rules we use on a daily basis are:
Low Average Position
We look for keywords that are performing below our target position. For example, if we want our keywords to be at position 4 or better, we look for anything that has an average position of 4 or worse.
Low Quality Score
What keywords have a Quality Score (QS) of 4 or less? These get pulled up on the spreadsheet so we can choose what to do: pause them, move to a new ad group, optimize the ads, or optimize the landing pages.
What keywords have a spend greater than X dollars? What are your most expensive keywords, and are they converting? Do they have the estimated CPA? If not, you can choose to pause those keywords, bid to lower positions, or optimize.
Here’s what this script may look like:
And here’s the output:
Using the metrics on this sheet, we can make certain decisions which can be implemented from the sheet, such as:
- Increase/decrease bids
- Pause/Enable keywords
- Move to a new ad group
- Create a new ad
- Apply a new label (to be used for bidding scripts)
By performing this analysis on a daily basis, you can make sure you are not wasting money, that your keywords are at your avg target position, and that your quality scores aren’t sliding leading to an increase in cost.
Weekly Account Maintenance: Keyword Manager, Search Query Manager, & Performance Reports
After you have enough data to make more cohesive decisions, you can perform a more in-depth analysis on a weekly basis.
Search Query Manager
This script exports the latest search queries into a spreadsheet for you to decide if you want to add the keyword as an exact match in the same ad group, a different ad group, or as a negative.
In many cases, people choose to add the root term, not the exact term, as a campaign negative. This scripts allows you to manage search queries effectively.
For people who like the Alpha/Beta account structure strategy, this scripts makes the process simple and effortless. You can quickly/easily move keywords to an Alpha Campaign, and from the same sheet, add the exact match as a negative in beta. Think of the amount of time saved for sites with lots of keywords!
You can also use this to add negative exclusions across ad groups or campaigns.
Now that you have statistical significance, you can write more in-depth rules for the data export component. Here are a few that we are currently using:
Every account and sometimes every campaign will have different rules based on the parameters of the data. Some have a CPA less than 5, while others, like the one above, has a CPA that’s often greater than $150 / lead.
This may be one of the most difficult, time consuming parts – writing effective rules that pull up enough data to make a difference, without pulling in an overwhelming amount of information.
Once all of these rules have exported into your spreadsheet, then you can go through the data to decide what to do:
- Change the label (more on this later)
- Increase/Decrease Bid
- Move to a new Ad Group/Campaign
Why update biddings on a daily basis when you can use scripts to do it for you? Once you have statistical significance on a keyword and understand the value of that term, you can set bidding rules so the system can help keep your ads where you want them showing.
For example, if you have an ad that has high CTR and high conversions after a whole month, you can then choose to label that keyword: Bid to Position 1
Once you apply the labels, the bidding script can look for keywords with specific labels during a specified interval, and then read the parameters of those labels. For example, the parameters may be that, if you’re not ranking #1 and the target position is #1, then increase the bid by 10% until you sustain that #1 position. You can have the script run as often as once every hour.
Here are a few examples of some simple rules:
As you start labeling keywords and using bidding scripts, it’s not long before there are conflicting labels working at once, and things start getting complicated.
You can have a script export all of the data at the campaign, ad group, keyword, and ad level with all of the labels applied for each account.
From the same spreadsheet, you can add or remove labels, so at the end, you have an overarching view of what’s being labeled, how, and an easy way to delete unwanted labels.
This will help ensure the campaign is still highly focused.
Weekly & Monthly Performance Report
Finally, you can use scripts to export metrics into a spreadsheet so you can evaluate the performance of your account, with a column for percent change.
This script allows you to pull in data as a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly summary. Through this you can have an overview of your primary KPI’s, such as cost, conversions, CTR, etc.
Using the same script, you can also evaluate the performance of your ads, campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Here’s what the ad report looks like:
Here is some of the data that you can evaluate:
- Campaign Performance Summary: What are the best performing campaigns? What is the average position of these campaigns? Which ones are spending the most, with the most/least conversions? Look at the metrics to determine which ones need to be worked on.
- Adgroup Performance Summary: What ad groups needs attention? Which ones cost a lot but have low conversions? Which ones don’t cost much but have high conversions? Investigate % changes.
- Ad Performance Report: What ads are performing best/worst? Which should be paused? Which require a new ad to be tested?
By the time you review all of these elements, you’ll know which campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads are performing well and poorly, and you’ll have the data necessary for additional optimizations.
Adwords Scripts are Incredibly Powerful
Now you have some ideas about ways you can use Adwords scripts for PPC optimization. What about you – what is your Adwords wish list? What do you struggle with the most? Do you think Adwords Scripts can make your campaign management more efficient?