Managing an account in Google Ads can be a time-consuming job, I don't have to tell you that. But do you also notice that you are often performing the same actions? If your answer is "yes," then automated rules in Google Ads can certainly help you. 

The term "automated rules" actually says exactly what it is. They allow you to automatically make changes to your Google Ads account based on settings and conditions. It works on the "if-then" principle. If X is satisfied, then Y is executed.

You can find the Automated rules under Tools and Settings> Bulk actions> Rules. It is always good to check these when taking over a new account, as these rules may be inadvertently making changes to an account and are sometimes missed by new account advertisers.

Are automated rules still used in 2021?

Automated rules have lost a bit of popularity in recent years with the rise of Smart bidding and Smart Campaigns. Automated rules used to be a great way to manage manual bidding when running hundreds of keywords across a campaign. There were few other ways to keep the bids updated over time as manually going through the campaigns took up too much time. Bidding rules, such as “reduce keyword bid XX % IF Impressions > significant AND CPA exceeds XX”, were very popular. 

Smart bidding now took over the bulk of the work in terms of setting bids, over 75% of Google Ads advertisers are making use of automated bidding, which freed the hands of many advertisers to focus on other areas of attention in their accounts. Most of which, do not require as much daily work as managing keywords bids. Automated rules lost popularity as there was no longer as much need for daily optimizations. 

However, the following automated rules are still proven to be very useful.

Turn ads on and off at specific times

Is a one-off temporary promotion planned soon? This automated rule ensures that you can plan your campaigns and advertisements far ahead and they are only switched on and off when you want them to. One common way advertisers use this is for events such as Christmas campaigns, Black Friday etc.

You can also use automated rules to switch campaigns and/or advertisements on and off regularly, for example, every weekend. One experiment that is often interesting is to make an incrementality test for branded terms. This can be done by having brand terms activated on even days of the month and deactivated on uneven days. At the end of the month, the sales may be compared between even and odd weekdays.

Increase CPC bids for (top) first page

While CPC bidding is not as straightforward as it used to be in the time of manual bidding, the height of the bids still correlates with traffic volumes. Let’s say we are using target-ROAS bidding, our ideal ROAS may be 500%. However, we may be fine with a ROAS of 350% as well in case it is needed. We can set automated rules to decrease the tROAS goal in case the traffic volume falls below a certain threshold. 

Keep Smart Campaigns in check

One difficulty when using Smart Campaigns, is that the changes made into the account are essentially a “black box”. There are no notifications when key changes are made and in cases where “Smart Bidding” makes changes to the bids, these changes can’t be found back in the Change History report. As its not possible to see which changes are made and how they affected the campaign in the long run, it’s difficult to know what factors to pay attention to when reviewing account performance.

Automated rules can help here. A common practise is to keep check on developments in the campaign based on the change in statistics and to set up email notifications in case things are going the wrong way. Some examples:

  • Notification when a campaign stopped delivering
  • When CPA is tapering off when no changes have been made
  • When there are unusual fluctuations in traffic
  • When ads have been rejected

Maintain limits within advertising budgets

One of the core challenges of Google Ads is budget management. While many advertising channels allow the option of setting a monthly budget, Google Ads campaigns are typically making use of a daily budget. As search traffic may strongly fluctuate per day, Google decided to grant themselves leniency and allows themselves to overspend on a daily budget 2x. 

David Konigsberg found out the hard way that Google may not honor even the 2x daily limit in case the payment model is set to “pay for conversions”. In his case, he added a micro-conversion but forgot to change the CPA-price. An automated rule with a warning notification for overspending may have alerted him earlier to the problem.

Even without making “mistakes”, it is a challenge to balance a budget while managing daily budgets while your focus is on optimizing for cost-efficiency.

The eLama solution

While the Automated rules in Google ads offer many opportunities to improve and manage campaigns, the standard solution has opportunities to be improved that we are currently working on in eLama. Not only will it be possible to increase the speed and efficiency of managing accounts, but the proposed rules will also help to significantly increase the performance of the campaigns, going further than the solutions that are provided out-of-the-box. The regular Smart rules are often complicated to set up and advertisers are scared to trust their automated rules to make changes for them in the accounts. The eLama solution aims to make automated rules effortless and easy to use.


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