I do the PPC work here at Queryclick, and have been known to enjoy the odd bit of coding, so I was excited to see that Google are launching AdWords Scripts.
The AdWords Scripts functionality could best be introduced as inhabiting the halfway house between the 'automated rules' feature within the current interface, and the AdWords API functionality.
In short, it simplifies the process of programmatically controlling aspects of your AdWords account, providing a really customisable layer of automation to your toolbox.
As examples of uses Google suggests you could:
- Use external inventory data to either change bids or pause/unpause keywords,
- Output account statistics to a spreadsheet from which you can create reports and visualizations,
- Use stats trends over several weeks to change keyword or ad group bids.
So, tell me more about these 'scripts'...
Located within the 'Automation' tab on in the AdWords interface, they are centered around a scripting interface, into which you will input the code that drives your rules.
Auto-suggest: rather than having to remember each and every details of the available functions, start typing and the interface will read-ahead and present you with options,
Preview: Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn – having the safety net in the form of the preview functionality means you can happily 'refine' your rules without putting them live and giving yourself a PPC heart-attack (a term coined for events such as “Oh s*** I've overspent massively...er...oh wait, date range is set to 'All Time'...phew”).
One of the biggest assets is that these scripts can leverage other Google API services, such as Spreadsheet and UrlFetch, which means you can pull in key data from any external sources. The most obvious example of this is the use of inventory data for a retail site.
Why am I so excited about scripts?
My philosophy towards PPC is that making the right decisions at the right time is the most important thing for getting the best ROI – whereas automation is great, it's role should be to get the campaign manager the right info, or to make sure their time is being used efficiently, not to making all the decisions.
For me, the instant benefit of AdWords scripts is that they will allow a campaign manager to quickly and easily streamline their workflow.
Where to get started
First of all, this feature hasn't been rolled out as standard yet, so you will have to apply by filling in this application form.
Once you have access, there is some really useful documentation provided by Google, so it's just a case of rolling up your sleeves and working through it.
I particularly like that they have full examples to work through, taking you from concept to finished script, these include:
Bid by weather: Use an external API to manage bids based on weather conditions.
Keyword Performance reports: Output your campaign data into a Google spreadsheet.
Brilliant. Google have done a perfect job here...
Well, not quite. As far as I can see, there is still a manual process involved in telling the script to run. Ideally you could trigger the script to run at certain points (e.g. check the weather at 8 a.m. each morning in the example above).
Hopefully this will be something that is added before the full roll-out (*crosses fingers*)
Have you used AdWords scripts yet? Are you finding them useful or not so much?