Managing Google ads account can be a tedious job especially if you are managing hundreds of campaigns with thousand of Ad Groups and tens of thousands of keywords. Manually monitoring each campaign, set of ad groups and keywords can become a daunting task. That’s why automated rules come very handy in managing the campaigns semi-automatically.
How to Create Automation Rules in Google Ads
- Login to your Google Ads Account and click on the Setting Tool Button at the top right
- Click on Rules under Bulk Actions
- It will bring you to a new interface in new google ads. Create a new automation rule by clicking on the “+” sign.
As you can see above, you can create an automation rule based on different parameters of google ads.
Deciding Automation Rules for Your Ads
Well, on most of the blogs or websites, you will see a lot of automation rules written. It also makes things confusing as in what automation rules are right for you and what are not rights. That’s why we have come here with some small analysis steps that will help you decide what automation rules to apply and what to not.
Google Ads Report Analysis
Follow the steps below to do Google Ads report analysis. These analytical steps will help you determine what google ads targeting parameters are affecting your campaign performance and how to write automation rules to control them.
- Click on Reports at the top and select just Reports as shown below
- Click on Custom Report and select your report type
- As you can see below, in the left hand top search area search for Day of week, cost per conversion, and conversion value per cost and drag them to row and columns area as shown
- Change the date range. I am doing all time here but you are free to select your date range. I can see from the below graph that on weekends, my campaigns or overall account performance is very very low. That’s why, I am going to write a rule to decrease the budget on weekends and again increase on weekdays.
1. Automation rules for Budget Control on different days
Based on the insight below, when I write my automation rule, I will also include the time of the day on weekends when budget should decrease and time of the day on weekdays when the budget should increase back to normal.
Automation rule to increase budget/ bring back to normal on weekdays
Note on Automation rule
Please note that under the frequency, I have used the data from the “previous week”. From the above example, the campaign budget increase by some percentage on Monday morning and decreased on Friday evening by some percentage.
My Budget today on Sunday: $100
Expected Budget for weekends: $80
Decrease by: 20%
Expected/ Normal Budget on Weekdays: $100
Increase by: 25% not
So, remember to equalize the budget if you are writing an automation rule. Let’s see what happens when you decrease by 20% and then increase by 20%, instead of 25%
Weekend budget: $80
Weekday Budget: $96
Next Weekend budget: $76.8
Next Weekday Budget: 92.16 and so on…( So, a wrong rule can ruin your budget control)
What if you wrote both of the rules on Sunday and made it live?
In that case, the automation rule of increasing the budget will first start on Monday and let us say increase your budget by 25% So, from Monday on wards your budget becomes $125 instead of $100 and on Friday, the weekend budget becomes again $100 while you wanted $80. So you also need to be careful in which rule triggers first.
2. Automation Rules for pausing Non-Performing Ad Groups
Currently, I have like thousands of Ad Groups running altogether and It will be very time consuming for me to check the performance of each Ad Group. So, based on what my data says, here is my rule:
- Pause the ad group which either spend a certain amount with no conversion in certain days. Or, you can also select to
- Pause the ad group which received a certain number of clicks with no conversion in certain days.
I prefer the second rule because CPC can fluctuate. Also, the conversion rate depends on clicks, not on cost. Here is how it looks like. I have considered 70 clicks with no conversion in the past 90 days. My current bidding strategy is Target CPA because my campaigns are optimized and 70 clicks are the ceiling range of getting a conversion or crossing my Target CPA bid with enough room.
3. Pause Low Performing Keywords with high cost per conversion
Currently, I have around 66000 keywords running in one of my accounts. It will be very difficult for me to analyze keywords’ performance manually and change the bid or pause them. So, I have written an automation rule to pause all the low performing keywords which have very high cost per conversion. Defining a high cost per conversion for a keyword will be depends on an account performance.
How do I prefer to find low performing keywords?
- See if you have account seasonality. My account spends more in the last and first quarter of any year.
- Which bidding strategy you are using. I am using Target CPA. In target CPA, some conversions or initial conversions do come costly, later, google tries to normalize it. So, making your decision to pause the keywords based on initial 2-3 conversions might not be a good idea. I will rather prefer for 5-7 conversions and see if Google is trying to optimize them.
- If you are using ECPC, then instead of pausing the low performing keywords, it might be a better idea to decreased their max CPC bid and see if the cost per conversion has gone down.
Here is a screenshot of some of the keywords from my account which have conversions more than 4:
Here you can observe that overall, my account cost per conversions is around $100 and some of the keywords are really expensive. In that case, I am going to pause these keywords which are really costly. I like to keep keywords with conversion cost within 30% more of the account average. In this case, I will like to keywords with cost per conversion within $130. You should also check for conversion value/ cost. Some keywords might give costly conversions but they also bring in more values.
You should also note that when you create rules based on conversions, we recommend that you use long time ranges (such as previous seven days or previous 30 days) to properly capture your conversions. Conversions may take up to 30 days. I am using 90 days of previous data because I get slow conversions but running the rule every week. You can also write similar rules to pause ads as well.
You can also combine this rule with spend on a keyword. Since, most of my campaigns are Target CPA and keywords optimized, a majority of campaign budget goes to right keywords. However, this might not be the same case for you account as well. So, you should consider cost as well.
Another thing to note is that this rule could also result in eventually leaving an ad Group with no enabled keywords. So, make sure that you write a custom rule in Google ads editor to highlight such situations. Or, if you have a better way of handling it, please let me know in the comments below.
4. Automation Rule to Raise bids to ensure ads show on the first page
Some advertisers want to ensure that their ads are always at least on the first page. You can use automated rules to raise the bids of your keywords to the recommended first page bid, and run this rule on a daily basis. However, be sure to specify a maximum bid, and also add a requirement that the keyword status is “Below first page bid” so that you’re only changing bids of keywords that aren’t already showing on the first page.
In addition, you might want to only raise bids for keywords that have a good Quality Score (for example, Quality Score >= 6), so as not to bid up keywords that need to be optimized. This rule might apply more to ECPC & maximize conversions. In my case, I have just selected an Ad Group, but you can apply this rule across campaigns or even whole account as well.
5. Higher Bid/ Budget During certain Hours of the Day
I have created another report of conversion rate by hours of a day and I can see that during certain time in the day, my conversion rate is really good and also cost per conversion is low. So, I want to increase my bid during those hours.
In my case, conversion rate is really good from 6 in the morning until one in the afternoon. So, I am going to raise my bid during those hours. You can raise bid of all the keywords if your bidding strategy is manual cpc, ECPC or maximize conversions. I am running Target CPA so in order to increase the bid, I will rather increase my budget. I usually like to keep the ratio of campaign budget to target CPA bid as 3:1.
For example, if the Target CPA of a Campaign is around $50, then I will give at least a budget of $150 to that campaign. In this case, if I increase the bid on hourly basis, Google ad platform algorithm might go in learning mode. So, instead of that I will rather increase my budget during the peak hours.
You can set up two daily rules to increase your bids between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM every evening. The first rule would increase your bid by 25% at approximately 6:00 PM and the second rule would decrease the bid by 20% at approximately 10:00 PM, thus bringing it back to the original value ($1 increased by 25% is $1.25, $1.25 decreased by 20% is $1 again).
Here’s a handy way to calculate increase and decrease %. Given an increase of x %, the corresponding decrease d % to get back to the original value follows this formula: d = (100 * x) / (100 + x). In the above example, x = 25. Then d = (100 * 25) / (100 + 25) = 20.
Automation Rules Best practices
Be cautious with daily rules that increase or decrease bids
Daily bidding rules that operate on an entire account should be set up carefully. If the rule is set up to run daily, it generally makes sense to use data from “previous day”. Make small changes to your bids (e.g. 5% increases/decreases) and observe performance closely over time before considering larger changes.
Exclude specific keywords from a rule
Sometimes you want to apply a rule to all keywords, except for certain keywords that you want to manage manually. You can do this by excluding those keywords using “Conditions.” For example, suppose you want to schedule a rule to raise CPC bids of all keywords in a campaign except those that contain the words “rustic wedding.” Go to Keywords for that campaign, and when you create the rule, make sure to set up a requirement that the keyword text does not contain “rustic wedding.”
Have Custom rules ready
Automation rules which especially play around pausing non-performing campaigns, ad groups and keywords might result in weird situation. So, here are the situation for which your should have custom rules in Google Ads Editor so that can monitor these awkward situations.
- Active campaign with no active ad group
- Active ad group with no active ad
- Active ad group with no active keyword
These three conditions saved me a lot of work of individually checking on campaigns and ad groups. Because these pausing rules eventually paused entire ad group in an active during low season and same for an ad group. So, make sure you have these rules ready.
Exclude Branded and New Campaigns from these rules
I like to exclude branded campaigns and new campaigns from these rules because both of them use manual CPC as bidding strategy and I like to monitor them closely before making any decision towards optimization. You can also consider competitor’s based campaign in excluding them from these rules.
The same rule also applies to new keywords or ad groups which you have recently added in any new or existing campaigns. Try to give those newly added parameters some time before automating them by rule. If you need some discussion about automation rule, do let me know your thoughts in the comment below.