Automate Your AdWords Management with Automated Rules, Part 1

by Joseph Kerschbaum

Director of Client Services, Clix Marketing

With recent articles covering Google AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) and Conversion Funnels, I’ve been writing about new features available to advertisers in Google AdWords lately. Keeping with this theme, let’s thoroughly explore a powerful new feature in AdWords: Automated Rules.

Automated Rules lets you schedule automatic adjustments to your AdWords account based on criteria that you specify. You can set automated rules at a few levels within your campaign:

  • Campaign level
  • Ad group level
  • Keyword level
  • Ad text level

This new feature is extremely powerful because it can automate your campaign optimization, which will save you time and improve your campaign’s results.

However, with great power comes great responsibility (as they say in the Spider-Man comics) and increased opportunity to make mistakes and hinder your performance. If not set up properly, you won’t get the most out of the new feature — or worse.

Therefore, we will focus first on campaign level changes in this article (follow up articles will review other ways to use automated rules). Here’s a screenshot of where you can find Automated Rules in the AdWords interface:

AdWords Automated Rules

Here’s a screenshot of the rule creation screen within AdWords. You have three campaign level automated rule options available.

Change Daily Budget Rule Creation

Change Daily Budget

This rule will automatically increase or decrease your daily campaign budgets. When a campaign hits the criteria that you establish as your rule, action will be taken to adjust your daily budget.

  • Example: I’m telling AdWords to increase my daily budget by 25 percent if my cost per conversion is less than $10. However, I have a maximum budget of $2,000 so AdWords shouldn’t spend more than my limit. This rule will use data from the same day to determine if my budget should be extended for the day.

AdWords Change Daily Budget

Pause Campaigns

This rule will automatically pause your campaigns. When the performance of your campaign hits the criteria of your rule, automated action will take place.

  • Example: Here I’m telling AdWords to pause my campaign if my CPA is over $20 and I’ve spent more than $1,000. Keep in mind that if Google pauses a campaign, it won’t automatically reactivate at a later time.

Pause Campaigns

Enable Campaigns

This rule tells AdWords to active a campaign when it hits a certain criteria. This is rule slightly convoluted because if a campaign is paused, hence needing to be enabled automatically, how will it accumulate the stats required to take action? This rule is more useful when used in conjuncture with other rules.

  • Example: You may set a rule to pause most of your campaigns over the weekend due to low click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates; this way you are focusing the strongest elements of your account. However, on Mondays you may want to reactive the best performing campaigns. In the image below you can see we’re telling AdWords on Monday morning to look back over the previous 14 days and activate any campaign with a CTR higher than 3 percent.

Enable Campaigns

A Few More Tips on Automated Rules

These are just a few examples of what you can do with each of these campaign level rules.

Whenever you’re setting automated rules you should hit the “Preview campaigns bellow.” This will provide a preview of the actions that would take place right now if you activate this rule.

Always preview the changes to make sure everything is set up correctly and the right changes are being made.

Also, you can choose your e-mail notification preferences at the bottom of the rule creation screen. Automated e-mails can and should be generated every time one of your rules alters your account. The last thing you need is an automated rule that is set up incorrectly making erroneous changes to your AdWords account.

These campaign level rules are best suited for lowering and increasing your daily budgets, and pausing campaigns that may be underperforming. In my next article, we’ll review how to set up rules at the other levels of your account.

This article was originally posted January 21, 2011 on