4 AdWords Automated Rules To Try

By , Senior Account Manager, Community


I’m not the biggest proponent of PPC automation, but I do acknowledge the value it can provide. Used correctly, automation works as your sidekick in fine-tuning your campaigns. Automated rules, scripts, and third party tools should be used in addition to your normal everyday management.


Today I want to review the AdWords automated rules available to advertisers. In particular, I’m going to share four rules that have become commonplace in my accounts. Before sharing these rules, I’ll emphasize that thresholds will be different in all accounts. For example, I might pause keywords in my account that haven’t converted in the last 60 days and have received at least 45 clicks. For you, these thresholds may be different depending on your account-specific intangibles. It’s important to understand why you are running the rule, and to adjust thresholds accordingly.


Rule 1 – Increase CPC Bids


This rule reviews all your enabled keywords and increases bids whenever certain requirements are met. The goal of this rule is to gain additional exposure for converting keywords that are under cost per conversion goal.


The example below showcases a rule that runs weekly, increasing CPC bids by 25% on keywords with CPAs below $10.


Image of AdWords automated rule


With this rule, we’re telling Google to increase bids for terms under cost per conversion goal that are lower than third position. The position threshold is set so keywords already in positions one through three don’t receive higher bids (where they would potentially spend more and increase cost per conversion).


We’re also setting a threshold for the max bid. In other words, no matter how well the keyword is performing, we never want to bid above $2 because at that cost we lose profitability. As a final note, the brand campaign is not included in this rule. Due to the importance that branded campaign conversions and revenue have on the overall account, I want to ensure that I make all bid changes manually.


Rule 2 – Pause Ineffective Keywords


The purpose of this rule is to review and pause non-converting keywords. The timeframe used in the example below is sixty days. I believe this threshold to be a generous window to determine whether or not a keyword is performing.


Image of AdWords automated rule










You’ll notice that this rule also makes use of impression assisted conversions. We want to ensure that we aren’t pausing keywords that are helping out in the overall conversion process. I don’t include click assisted conversions because for the most part, every click assisted will have at least one impression assisted conversion. With this rule, we’re isolating keywords that are doing very little to help last click and assisted conversions, and then we’re pausing them.


Rule 3 – Receive Emails for Assisted Clicks


This rule contains similarities with the ineffective keyword rule, but looks at assisted clicks. We’re trying to determine if ineffective last click conversion keywords are at least helping assist other terms.


Image of AdWords automated rule










Note that this rule sends an email rather than automatically making a change. I see this rule as providing potentially valuable information. You don’t necessarily need to make changes based upon this rule, but the info provides clarity regarding the entire conversion process. I’ve used assisted clicks in the example above, but this rule may utilize any Search Funnels.


Rule 4 – Receive Emails for Ineffective Ads


This rule is the same as the ineffective keyword rule, with two differences. The first difference is that instead of keywords, we’re looking at ads.


Image of AdWords automated rule










The second difference is that this rule emails you instead of making the changes. You should always have at least two ads running in every ad group, but unfortunately this sentiment isn’t always practiced. With Google sending an email, you can review each ad group and pause accordingly. And if there is only one ad, write another!




The rules I’ve laid out are a good start for automating aspects of your account. You can go more in depth with these rules, but remember that automation is meant to help; not replace the human touch. Be willing to explore automation while ensuring that it doesn’t replace your efforts.


What are some rules that you setup in your accounts? Leave your comments below!


Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Google+ Email Print More

11 thoughts on “4 AdWords Automated Rules To Try

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi Matthias, thanks for reading. The click volume will vary by account, but the more important point is to ensure that the rule is pausing the most ineffective keywords. We want to ensure that we’re pausing the keywords with little or no last click and assist conversions.

  1. bastienSR

    Interesting post because I am a bit cautious with PPC campaign automation. I always found difficult to come back on a campaign where keywords or ads have automatically changed, even if I was the one who wrote the scripts which made these changes.

    It takes me at least the same time – but I think more – to see and analyse these changes. After having tried it, I prefer to decide which changes to make by analysing the account on my daily work. If the account is driving a lot of traffic, I surely need to monitor it more than a smaller account with less traffic, but this client will pay me more to do that than a “smaller” client. That’s the way I work as a PPC freelance.

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi bastienSR, fair points. You can also set these rules as filters and make the changes manually. This way might be a good alternative to Google making the changes for you.

  2. David Rothwell

    Good post Matt.

    I use this method on lower volume campaigns, but I use the all-time date range, running weekly, and at least 100 clicks (1% conversion rate for an ecommerce sale).

    I also take account of all assists, like impression assists, not just click assisted conversion, just to be on the safe side.

    (In 2006 I inadvertently trashed a campaign by deleting (you could not pause keywords back then) all keywords with no conversions – WTF? It took me 4 years to figure out …)

    For higher volume, you would want to be using Flexible Bidding strategies and Optimize for Conversion ad rotation anyway.

    Automation is your friend …

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi David, thanks for reading and for your feedback. Automation is certainly an ally when used correctly.

    1. Matthew Umbro

      Hi Ben,

      You certainly can use click assisted conversions. It really depends on how granular you want to go with your keywords’ effectiveness. In rule #3, I’ve determined that keywords with more than 1 assisted click are OK. Thanks for reading!

  3. Zach Shearer

    I think Google needs to implement a gallery similar to those they have for Google Analytics dashboards so we can share our automation setups.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *