Using Adwords Rules to Automate Keywords

Adwords can be outrageously time consuming for business owners. Learning the difference between CPC, CTR, how to set up conversion tracking, digging through data to find actionable trends — it’s a job in and of itself. That’s why when there’s a way to make your life with Adwords easier, take advantage of it.

Luckily, the folks at Google give us a few ways to take some of the leg work out of Adwords. I’m a big fan of Adwords scripts and I’ve written about them before, but I haven’t spent much time digging into Automated Rules.

In the last few weeks I have been working on streamlining my automation and building a more uniform strategy on this side of Adwords. Like I said, I’ve used scripts in the past, but I honestly have never put much of a focus on automation — the legal search market ebbs and flows, and I previously thought rules might be restrictive to the ads. However, I’ve really come around to Adwords Rules in recent weeks.

I won’t be covering how to set up rules here — Google’s help center has all the answers here, here, and here.

Like anything else, I suggest trying before you buy, so test out a few rules (make sure to use the preview feature to see how your rules will react) and see if they deliver the desired effect.

How do I decide what Adwords Rules to use?

Rules are actually very simple and I’ll explain my strategy in plain English. I should note that the numbers I’ve used below are an example and it’s very important to take your account’s historical stats before implementing rules. I should also mention that I put lots of time and effort into keyword research — if you’re not starting from a strong set of keywords, you won’t get good results.

First, at the beginning of each month I want all of my keywords enabled. It’s like a reset each month.  When it comes to legal search, keywords come and go in terms of popularity — I very rarely actually delete a keyword anymore. I realize that enabling a wave of keywords at once could cause issues, but I’ve also built in some rules to try and prevent anything from getting out of control.

Second, I want to pause anything with an average position lower than 8, and anything that’s received 1000 impressions and no clicks. I find that very few keywords actually meet these qualifications, but if they do it’s unlikely that a click would result in a conversion. I’d like this done once a week.

Third, any keywords that we aren’t showing for due to low bids get raised to the first page bid once a week. For this rule, it’s also important to set a maximum allowable bid.

Finally, conversions. The previous rules are nice, but it’s nothing if we aren’t limiting keywords based on ROI. We obviously need to give keywords a little bit of budget to spend before determining whether or not they will deliver conversions. So, I’d like to pause anything that doesn’t convert within $80 of spend paused, and anything that has a conversion price of more than $100.  I tend to give new keywords the benefit of the doubt, but I also need a rule that catches anything before it gets out of hand. I want the $80 limit to be checked every day and the $100 limit to be checked once a week.

Here’s what that looks like in Adwords –

Screenshot 2016-09-07 14.51.12
** I realize the last rule says $130 cv but it’s actually $100 **

I’ve done these rules across the entire account in this example, but you can segment it down should you want to do things with more precision. Obviously the potential of Adwords rules is much, much greater than what you see here. There are also a few things that can’t be covered by Rules (there doesn’t seem to be a way to reset bids to the ad group level — something I like to do with moderate frequency).

I’ll cover more about Adwords Rules, Automations & Adwords Scripts in particular in my next post. If you’re interested in finding out more about Adwords, please sign up for a free consult here or send me an email (toby at