The most wonderful time of the year is approaching, fast, and if I’m guessing correctly, you’d rather be opening presents/yet another bottle of wine instead of opening your AdWords account, right? Well fear not, because Impression has some tips for you that will keep your time spent with egg-nog to a maximum, helping you make the most of Google’s automatic maintenance features; from the basics to the… less basic.

Automated Bidding Strategies

Let’s start simple. Google has automated bid strategies you can set (and I’d recommend doing this in the old version of AdWords, just so you can do more than one campaign at once – you can get on to the old AdWords from the spanner in the top right of the screen). Load up your Adwords account, choose a campaign you want to automate (from just one to all), hit the “bid strategy” drop-down and then change. You’ll see a number of options, from maximising clicks to where on the page your ad appears.

We’d recommend either target CPA or target ROAS, depending on whether you’re after leads or selling goods. Just type in how much you want to pay for said lead or how much you want to make from said product and you’re good to go, AdWords will automate bidding to hit those targets. Easy.

Automated Rules

Moving on; we can also set automated rules, and these can get pretty cool (well, relative to the rest of paid advertising). You can set up everything you can think of to be automated, from targets to be hit to daily changes you want to make. Same as automated bids, select the campaigns you want but then hit the “automate” drop-down.

Here, there’s an option to change/pause budget when certain conditions are met (so you don’t spend too much budget when you’re busy watching Elf yet again), amongst other options. Automated bids can get pretty creative too. Say you want to adjust bids to increase visibility on successful ads, but don’t want to spend too much for a lead, then you can layer various rules, meaning that almost any target you’re trying to hit can be possible if you just believe.

Scheduling Changes

Perhaps more useful though, especially if you have previous data on how well your product/service performs over this period, is to set rules that are triggered on certain dates. Take the example below for December 2016; conversions here drop off big-time around the 22nd December, too late for Christmas delivery, and pick up again just after Christmas.

What AdWords lets you do is to schedule bid adjustments on dates. What we’ve done for this account, is labelled all Ad Groups except the Branded one (we recommend to always ensure visibility for this, as searches for this are higher intent), and set a schedule for Ad Groups with the label to have a bid reduction of 70% on the drop off date, and increase again after Christmas. Now, this year, cost will stay more in line with sales.

Now what if you’ve got new product lines or promotions starting after Christmas or the early hours of New Years Day, you’re going to have to make sure they go live correctly right? AdWords has got you covered. If you upload your ads now (paused), Automated Rules gives you the option to set them live whenever you wish. (Automate > Create Rule For Ads, Pause/Enable Ads When….)

If they’re just new promotions, then the new AdWords User Interface has a new type of ad extension you can create: Promotion Extensions. Just click on Ads & Extensions, then the + icon and you’ll see it at the bottom. You can enter all the details of the promotion here and set dates that it runs from, meaning that you don’t have to do anything when the time comes round, which is wonderful. If you have a burning desire to schedule other ad extensions, you can find the dates section, when creating or editing an extension, under “Advanced Options.”

And that’s all for Christmas automation, if you want to see if your changes do work, you can select the option for email alerts upon creation of the rules, for that extra bit of peace of mind.

Using Scripts to tell you when something’s gone very, very wrong

Finally, for those willing to go the extra mile for extra security, it might be worth installing an Anomaly Detector Script. Impression use one to detect whenever a particular metric is doing particularly badly that day, which is useful, especially when making changes to see if anything hasn’t gone quite according to plan. Google have their own simplified version and a step by step guide: https://developers.google.com/adwords/scripts/docs/solutions/account-anomaly-detector, which will help tide you over till you’ve caught up on every Christmas special this year.

 

Now, go make those automated rules and close your laptop, because rumour has it Danny DeVito’s “Deck the Halls” is now on Netflix. Happy Holidays.

 

Greg Holland