AdWords Automated Rules: Help or Hindrance?

Have you used Automated Rules on your AdWords account? How useful has Automated Rules been for you?

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Automated rules were launched back in February 2011 by Google and are a feature that allows advertisers to automate some processes such as pausing ad copy, altering CPC bids or changing daily budgets campaigns.

Nearly two years ago I wrote a post about AdWords automated rules and how to use them, since then we have had mixed results when using them for clients.

Over the years these rules have been extremely useful for pausing and activating ad copy and campaigns. For example, if a client is running a sale between certain dates and the offer ends at midnight on a Sunday then you can set up an automated rule to pause those ads at midnight on that date. You simply tell Google to pause ads that have ad text that contains “50% off” or a phrase that only appears in the ads that you need pausing and set the frequency to “One time” and the date and time that you require.

Another way that we have used automated rules is to increase CPC bids for top performing terms, this can be done in many ways and we’ve had mixed success with it.

The mixed success stems from the capabilities of the tool, because we have set up rules to increase or decrease CPC bids based on the conversion rates or cost per conversion of keywords, but Google only allows you to set one frequency option, which I feel hinders the results.

So for instance, to potentially increase the number of conversions for particular terms you may want to try and increase the position and CTR . To do so you could increase the bids of keywords that have an average position of less than three and a conversion rate of XX%.

However you will probably want to take the average conversion rate or cost per conversion over the past week or past month to base the calculation on a sufficient level of data, but that then means you are limited to this date range. It may be that the position has improved from the average at the time of setting up the rule and the CPC bids are actually sufficient to hit the top positions but Google will continue to increase your bids anyway until the rule is modified or removed.

You can set a maximum bid so Google cannot increase your bids higher than your chosen limit, which helps prevent advertisers from spending more than they wish to pay per click, but then you might as well just set the maximum CPC bid as that maximum and do the process manually.

For some extremely large PPC accounts I can see that automated rules have their uses and for pausing and activating offer based ads and campaigns they are extremely useful, but the cynic in me worries that when it comes to increasing CPC bids automated rules are just another way for Google to increase advertiser’s bids and overall spend, and ultimately make more money.

But what do you think?

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