4 AdWords Automated Rules To Try

By Matt Umbro | @Matt_Umbro | Associate Director of Search

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!

New Sessions. New Networking. An All New Experience.

When we get feedback on ways to make Hero Conf more relevant, more actionable, and more meaningful, we take it pretty seriously. It's our most powerful tool in creating an event we believe helps our industry thrive. And we've used that information to build our...