Whenever I talk to people about PPC and what I do, I’m always quick to mention the paradoxical nature of the job. It requires you to be “patiently urgent” – always balancing your immediate deadlines for implementing new ads/keywords or making changes to meet your performance goals… then waiting to watch the results of your work come in, and determining your next steps once you have enough data. More often than not, this leads to an obsessive-compulsive drive to watch your account like a hawk.

That’ll drive you crazy if you do it long enough. That’s why I’ve been making use of a few easy tricks that streamline and automate the account-watching process. Consider this an intervention, because we’re here to help.

1. Set up email alerts from the AdWords interface.

This one is simple enough, but one you might have forgotten to make use of – especially if you use an MCC to control all of your access rights. One of my ongoing problems always relates to ad policy and disapprovals, so I’ve set myself up to receive email alerts every time it happens. I can review the policy issues across multiple accounts, determine the severity, and come up with a course of action in mere minutes – all without having to dive in to the AdWords interface.

You can do the same thing with Billing Alerts, Reports, and many other options from the “Notifications Settings” tab in “My Account”.

AdWords notification settings.
Roughly half of these would be classified as spam. I’ll let you determine which is which.

While some of the above options are a little spammy, others can be critical, automated tips that will save you some time.

2. Set up email alerts and reports with AdWords Scripts.

Now this is more fun. We’ve held a lot of discussions here on PPC Hero regarding the usefulness of AdWords Scripts, and this post is no different. You can create custom alerts that will send you an email for, well, just about anything.

In the above example, Google has provided us with a script that will perform an hourly check letting you know if your Clicks, Impressions, or Cost metrics are falling outside the historical range for the account. As someone who would manually check accounts on the hour every hour for that exact same thing, this seems like a godsend.

Google's Account Anomaly Detector script in action.
The wonders of automation.

But that’s not all you can manage with AdWords Scripts – in addition to email alerts warning you when things have gone awry, it can also help to streamline one of the more mundane aspects of PPC account maintenance: the morning check-in.

You can create a daily performance report that will update every morning with chosen account metrics, saving you even more time. Here’s an example of a custom scripts-generated spreadsheet Jake put together to pull daily performance stats from multiple accounts, saving our poor Client Manager hours of reporting time every week:

A scripts-generated Daily Report.
A quick-and-dirty scripts-generated Daily Report focusing on our primary KPIs.

3. Use labels to quickly examine new account additions and ad tests.

I’m always curious as to how my newest account additions are performing. However, pulling all of that data together can be fairly time consuming, even with the judicious application of pivot tables.

To that end, one of the simple tricks brought to us by Carrie Albright is to label everything. Label your account like you think someone’s going to steal it. Label it as though you’ve got anterograde amnesia. That way, whenever you get the itch to check on your latest round of ad testing, results are a mere click away:

Ad testing sorted by label.
Just hit “filter”, and then filter by label to select your desired ads.

So if you’re making a host of new account additions, consider labels as a solution to speed up your analysis.

4. Use third party tools to save time.

There are a whole host of platforms out there that can help condense or automate the processes behind monitoring an account. Some focus more on reporting and alerts, others on preventative action – making sure you’re on top of any potential issues before they become a problem.

We’ve actually introduced a few tools with that same intent in mind – the Quality Score Monitor is an entirely automated method to track your Quality Score over time, quickly allowing you be proactive about relevance issues before you get hit with the dreaded “rarely shown due to low quality score” designation. Similarly, Ad Guardian helps prevent against wasted spend by checking on your website. If your site goes down, your ads are paused until it goes back up. Very simple, and entirely automated.

That being said, there are plenty of other time-saving tips out there to help you watch your account, so look around and share them below in the comments. Hopefully, one or two of these tips will give you some time back and keep you from going PPC-crazy. Thanks for reading!