Creating Dynamic Ads with Scripts

By Jacob Fairclough | @RealSecretJake | Senior Account Analyst at Hanapin Marketing

Consistent ad testing is one of the best practices in paid search. As account managers we are always trying to get that extra edge. What if that is not enough though and you want to update your ads even more frequently to include relevant and timely information? This is where dynamic ads come into play.

Today we are going to cover how a little knowledge of scripts can help you achieve that. Once relegated to the sorcery of the API, scripts now allow users to access these variables without the overhead.  This also means we can change ads easily without having to pre-build many spreadsheets and upload them when necessary.

Parameters allow each ad to maintain the same ID code. This means rather than pausing and replacing ads, AdWords considers this ad to be the same one. Therefore you can collect data on an ad rather than have it broken out across multiple ads.

How to Start

In order to start creating parametrized ads, you need to have the necessary parameters inserted into the specified ads. This is very similar to the way that Bing uses parameters.

You will need to include include two values {param1: default text} and {param2: default text} inserting the default ad text after the colon. These are the two locations in which the dynamic information will be inserted.

Using Google’s example from the ad parameters documentation helps illustrate the process.

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In order to parametrize ads, the parameters need to be set for the keyword, ad group and index of the parameter (1 or 2). Only numbers and currency symbols can be inserted as parameters. As a result dynamic ads will be best used when you have specific data to highlight wether it be quantities, times, or pricing.

As with any ad, the length of the ad copy must fall within the character limits and the ads must be shown on the Google search network. All simple to follow and if any of these fail, the default values will be shown.

Case 1: Countdown to Sale

This script is most applicable to advertisers running timed promotions. As the holidays approach, market competition heats up as buyers flock to the web and start making purchases.

This makes ad copy vital in catching consumers who are shopping around and searching for where to buy. You can highlight the days left until free shipping, in store promotions, the number of days left until the actual holiday, etc.

The example script inserts dynamic time variables into the ads. How long do searchers have to take advantage of free shipping or how long do they have until the holiday? These reminders keep consumers aware that they have a limited time deal available or in a second case, to remember that a holiday is soon approaching.

Compared to the other examples, the code here is easier to read. What the example does is take a specified end date. It then performs the calculations, subtracting the current time from the end date, to arrive at the difference between two dates. This is a great starter for getting comfortable with using scripts and parameters.

Case 2: Inserting Statistics into Your Ads

I’m including two examples for this case. One from Google and one from FreeAdwordsScripts.com. Both offer similar functionality and provide great examples from which you can work and learn. Keep in mind you will need to do a bit of work on your end to connect it to your own data feed, whatever it may be.

The idea here is to create a set of parametrized ads and use an external data feed to pull in the necessary information. This could be pricing, volumes, inventory left, etc. The two examples given pull crime statistics and earth quake data.

By pulling the data from another source and using a script, you effectively maintain your dynamic ads without any work on your end. Once you set it up, everything is automated. This is great for advertisers with limited stock as you can show users how many of a product are left as well as pause ads when the inventory is depleted.

Case 3: Bid By Weather

This script is more of a bonus in that is modifies the the bids to influence which ads are shown but does not have to use parameters.

One of the first scripts that Google had on their scripts development site was the bid by weather. The script connects to a data feed for weather conditions of a given area.

Google’s use case revolves around a service and attraction that is weather dependent; this could be an amusement park, a golf course, or some sort of vacation activity. All of these probably receive more traffic on days with good conditions since not many people enjoy roller coasters in the rain. There are many ways in which you could take this idea and apply it to your account. It may not be ground breaking but it is at least fun to think about.

Closing

We covered quite a bit of material at a high level. While this is a great tool, it takes an investment of time and resources to learn how to harness the powers of scripts. There are many tutorials out there to guide you on the way. For those of you using scripts, how have you been utilizing parameters in ads? What is your most creative use case?