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paid search automation

It is said that time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters. This stands true even when it comes to paid search management and optimization.

In that regard, relying on manual control is sometimes not very helpful as it either leads to errors or is simply too time-consuming. When we figure out smart ways of automating work, we can finish more in less time and with higher accuracy.

Let me list out some of the ways in which we have been automating paid search management both successfully and effectively.

 

Automated Rules

 

Most paid search platforms now allow you to set up automated rules. Some are basic like those that allow you to activate/pause ads, keywords and campaigns. Others even help you automatically change bid strategy and budgets based on conditions you set. For instance, you could set an automated rule to move keywords automatically to a “Target CPA”-based bid strategy based on performance. Or you could shift keywords to a “Position”-based bid strategy if the average position is greater than the required one.

 

Scripts

 

When it comes to the use of scripts, unfortunately, only AdWords allows you to set those up. This feature is not yet available on Bing. The developers’ page of AdWords provides the technical details on creating and implementing scripts. There are some sample scripts available, too. However, if you have a technical resource with JavaScript knowledge, you could customize your script, as well. These could help you run basic checks like those for 404 errors with landing pages, finding queries mapping incorrectly to keywords, tracking quality score changes and more. What also helps is that you can set these up on a recurring frequency, so monthly optimization tasks can be run without you having to spare time to run these checks.

 

Custom Formulas

 

Again, this is a feature that quite a few platforms provide. The secret lies in knowing how to use it. The most basic custom formulas could be used to calculate weighted conversions based on what’s important to a client. For instance, if you are tracking multiple touchpoints on a website ranging from those who sign up for a newsletter to those who create an account, you could assign weights based on importance. If, based on client conversations, you realize that 20 percent of those who sign up for a newsletter end up creating an account, you could create a “Total Conversions” column that assigns a 20-percent weightage to the conversion point. That way, you can measure the true value of paid search better. You could even use advanced custom formulas that help notify/send alerts based on performance. For instance, The Search Agency uses a formula that measures ROAS changes over a 7-day period compared to 30-day averages. If there is a drop in the ROAS based on the criteria we set (e.g. more than 25 percent), it sends an alert. This can be done for any metric like impressions, clicks, CPA, transactions and more.

 

Ad Customizers/Sales Countdowns

 

AdWords has done an impressive job in terms of allowing you to customize ads based on feeds or sale date. Let’s say you’re a real estate company offering different price ranges based on geo. Now, instead of creating customized ads for every geo and highlighting the price range, you can upload a feed in “Business Data” section of AdWords that pulls in the right price range based on the geo. All you need to do is create ads with the right syntax and upload an updated feed sheet regularly. Needless to say, the time savings are huge. Similarly, if you had to set up ads that show the number of days remaining for a sale to end, you wouldn’t want to do that daily. Sales countdown ads allow you to do just that, creating ads on their own based on the details you initially provide.

countdown sales ad

 

Web Queries/Macros

 

Each platform today provides tools to create automated reports. Some, like DoubleClick, help you create web queries that, when inserted into Excel, pull refreshed data. This has saved us hours of work in terms of running manual reports for daily, weekly and monthly account summaries. DoubleClick also has a feature called Executive Reports that allows you to create customized reports with beautiful graphs and charts. Again, all you need to do is create one template and then run it based on requirement. It pulls in the latest data on each run and feeds it automatically into graphs and charts. In cases where platforms don’t have these features available, having a resource with VisualBasic skills helps a lot. This resource could help create advanced reports with macros that automate these reports for you. We use one that does a thorough check on the account’s health and outputs reports segmented by device, brand/non-brand, day parting, geo analysis, etc. Imagine running these individually on each of your accounts!

The benefits of these automated tools/features cannot be emphasized enough. Using these are essential to stay on top of the game when it comes to smart account management.

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