How to set up automated rules in Google Ads

When running contextual advertising campaigns, you need to constantly keep your finger on the pulse: monitor the effectiveness of ads, adjust bids in time, disable or enable impressions, etc. Doing all this manually is long, painful and inefficient. If you have hundreds of ad groups in your campaign, you can easily skip a few dozen non-converting ones and continue to spend your budget on them.

In Google Ads, the problem is solved by setting up automated rules. With their help, you can track important changes and perform regular actions on autopilot. We show examples of practical problems that can be solved with the help of rules, and give instructions for setting them up.

What are automated rules for and how to create them

You can create rules for automated ad management in your Google Ads account. To do this, you need to set criteria upon reaching which adjustments will be made in campaigns.

You can go to the general section with rules as follows: Tools and settings → Bulk actions → Rules.

To create a rule, you need to click on the plus icon and select the object for which it should be applied. Rules can be created at the campaign, ad group, keyword, and more levels. (total levels 12).

Select the desired level. After clicking on it, the rule creation interface will open. Here you need to specify the conditions under which the rule will be triggered, as well as the action to be taken when triggered. Depending on which account object you are creating the rule for (campaign, keywords, etc.), the settings here may differ.

For example, when creating rules at the campaign level, you need to specify:

  • The action to be taken when the specified conditions are reached is to enable or pause campaigns, adjust the budget, send a notification by mail.

  • Where the rule should apply. You can select all campaigns, only active ones, or manually select individual campaigns for which the rule is relevant.

  • Condition. Here you can directly configure the condition under which the rule should work. As a condition, the values ​​of various metrics are used (CTR, number of conversions, conversion rate, share of impressions in the visible part of the screen, etc.).

  • How often the rule is executed. Let’s say you entered “every day at 19:00, using data from the previous day”. Every day at 19:00, the system will check the value of the metrics that you specified in the “Condition” field. If the indicators meet the specified condition, the rule will work and the system will perform the desired action (for example, stop the campaign).

  • Setting up email notifications. Here you can set up notifications about important events – for example, when the CTR of ads increases or the budget is spent.

After creating the rule, save the changes. It will appear in the general list.

You can also add auto rules on the Campaigns, Ad groups, or Keywords pages.

To do this, on the right above the table, you need to open the “Advanced” menu (the icon with three dots) and select the “Create automated rule” item:

Practical application of auto-rules in Google Ads

1. Disable campaigns when reaching the target number of clicks per day

Let’s say you need to receive a certain number of clicks every day (for example, 100). But the budget is limited, so after receiving hundreds of clicks, it is advisable to pause the campaign until the end of the day to avoid overspending.

In order not to track the number of clicks manually, let’s create auto-rules that will do this automatically at a specified time and automatically pause / enable the campaign.

To do this, we need to create three rules:

  1. Checking the number of clicks at 14:00 (peak time).
  2. Additional check of the number of clicks at 17:00. This check is needed in case the campaign did not receive enough clicks at 14:00.
  3. The third rule will include all suspended campaigns for the next day.

The first rule settings will look like this:

Scheduled rules can run with a delay of up to 1 hour. Therefore, it is possible that you set the campaign to pause at 14:00, but in fact it continues to work until 15:00. This must be taken into account when planning changes.

We configure the second rule with exactly the same parameters, only in the item “Frequency of the action” we indicate “17:00”.

Rule #3 (which should include paused campaigns) is configured with the following parameters:

After saving the rules will be available in the general list:

If your campaign has peak traffic activity at a different time (for example, from 16:00 to 19:00), set the rule execution time in accordance with this data.

Also, sometimes additional validation rules may be needed (for example, if traffic usually peaks at lunchtime, but sometimes there are surges in the evening).

2. Quickly Disable Ad Sets That Advertise Certain Products

If you have a wide range of products advertised at the same time, you can quickly turn off ads for certain products using an autorule. For example, if these products are currently out of stock or you do not want to spend your budget on them.

For example, let’s create a rule at the ad group level and set up disabling ad groups whose names mention candlesticks.

Here are the rule parameters:

3. We set up automatic launch of ads before the holiday and turn them off according to the schedule

In Google Ads, you can set the duration of the campaign (start and stop at a specific time). True, this feature is available only at the campaign level.

And with the help of autorules, you can run individual ads on a schedule.

This feature will come in handy if you have special offers for a certain holiday.

For example, let’s say we want to run gift ads by March 8th. We have 5 ads in different ad groups that contain the text “March 8” in the title. We want to show ads from 10:00 on March 1 to 18:00 on March 7.

To do this, we need two auto-rules:

1. Rule to run ads containing the phrase “March 8” on March 1 at 10:00.

2. A rule that will stop ads from showing. Create a rule with exactly the same settings, but change two parameters:

  • Rule type – Pause ads.
  • The frequency of the action is 1 time (March 7, 18:00).

4. Disable ads with bad CTR

A classic application of automated rules is to automatically stop ads with a bad CTR .

To set up the rule, you need to determine which CTR is bad for us. To do this, let’s take the average CTR for the campaign, and low (at which further ad display is economically unprofitable for us) will be considered equal to 25% of the average.

If the average CTR in a campaign is 11.8%, low is anything below 2.95%.

To automatically disable all ads with a low CTR, create the following rule:

  • Condition: Efficiency / CTR / <2.95%.
  • Frequency: 1 time (use the current date).

In the “using data for” section, select the period for which statistics on ads are accumulated.

You can also set the rule to run regularly. For example, so that it works once a week and disables all ads that have earned a low CTR in the last 7 days.

5. Disable non-converting broad match keywords

Broadly matched keywords allow you to get a lot of clicks, but sometimes the quality of such traffic is unsatisfactory – the budget is spent too quickly, and there are practically no conversions.

In order not to control this process manually, it makes sense to create an autorule that will disable keywords that received enough traffic, but no conversions.

We create a rule for keywords and set 3 conditions:

  1. Attributes / Match Type / Broad Match
  2. Conversions / Rates conversions /< 1%
  3. Efficiency / Clicks / > 1000

We set the rule execution frequency – weekly, the data analysis period – 30 days.

Note! If you use a conversion rate or number of conversions under automated rules, specify a period of at least 7 days in the analysis period setting. The longer the analysis period, the more accurate the data on the effectiveness of keywords and the campaign as a whole.

6. Track the number and cost of conversions for keywords and adjust bids

Not all keywords perform equally well. Some keywords can consistently bring conversions at a good price, while others can be completely non-converting, despite the fact that the budget is being “eaten up”.

Using autorules, you can implement the following strategy for working with keywords:

  • Raise your bid weekly for keywords that regularly bring cheap conversions.
  • reduce bids weekly for keywords with no conversions at all or they are expensive.

To implement the strategy, you need to create two automated rules at the keyword level.

Rule number 1 . We increase bids for keywords for which we regularly receive conversions within the target price.

Rule number 2 . We reduce rates by 20% for ineffective keywords (which received less than 5 conversions with a cost of $20 per conversion).

7. We raise rates for the time of maximum activity of the audience

The target audience is not always equally active. By looking at the Google Analytics temporal activity report, you can identify hours during which you’re getting more traffic than usual. At this time, it makes sense to raise rates for keywords that drive conversion traffic. Increasing rates will allow you not to miss target buyers during their maximum activity.

Using auto-rules, we can set up a bid increase at the beginning of the period of maximum user activity (for example, at 14:00). And then (also using an autorule) reduce the rate to the previous level at 17:00 (when user activity returns to normal values).

So, we create the first rule at the keyword level:

Bids will only increase for words that have had more than 5 conversions in the last month.

The second rule will return the original settings at 17:00. To return to the previous rates, the increased rates must be reduced by 20%.

8. Raise the stakes for engaged audiences

Another use case for auto-rules is automatic bid increase for audiences that are more engaged with your ads. For example, if you run a YouTube commercial, the engaged audience is the one in which the majority of users watch the entire video. It makes sense for this audience to show ads more actively.

To do this, we create an automated rule for audiences with the following parameters:

9. We control the display of ads on the first page of search results

If it is important for your advertising campaign to always be on the first page of search, it is advisable to set up a rule that will track this. If your ads “leave” the first page of the search results, you can use the autorule to raise your bids to push the ad higher.

The algorithm is the following:

  1. We create a new rule for keywords.
  2. In the “Rule type” parameter, select “Change keyword bids”.
  3. Select the action “Raise bids to the level of cost per click for the first page”. You can also set a limit here, above which you are not willing to pay for an impression on the first page. If you do not have such a restriction, leave the field blank.
  4. Condition – Quality index / >6. This is important because ads with a lower Quality Score will have higher first page bids than ads with good quality.
  5. Frequency is daily.

10. Raise the bid for the display if ads are often shown below the visible part of the screen

In search ads, you lose a lot of traffic if your ads appear outside of the first page of the search results. If you’re advertising on the Display Network, a similar problem occurs when ads appear at the bottom of pages on partner sites (below the visible part of the screen). Some users simply do not scroll to them.

You can try to solve this with an autorule that will increase the cost per click.

For example, the average share of ad impressions in the visible part of the screen is 40%. The maximum bid for keywords is $0.5. Let’s try to increase the bid for keywords for which the share of impressions in the visible part of the screen is less than 40%.

We create an automated rule for keywords in the Display Network.

Set the following parameters:

Note! The bid does not always play a key role in ad ranking. If the landing page or the ad itself is irrelevant to users (or of poor quality), the ad will be shown less frequently in the visible part of the screen. In order to raise it higher only at the expense of the bet, you will have to raise the bet significantly. As a result, you can get a budget overrun, which is not economically viable. Therefore, it is important to understand that bidding up is not the most efficient way to get traffic.

11. We increase the daily budget on the days with the maximum traffic activity

It is important to track the activity of the target audience not only by day, but also by week. On some days, traffic can be significantly higher than average. In this case, you may not have enough daily budget if it is set based on averages.

For example, a campaign has a daily budget of $50. At the same time, the peak activity of the target audience is the weekend. There are a lot of advertisers at the auction these days, bids are rising and the budget is being spent very quickly.

In order not to miss potential customers on weekends, we use auto-rules to raise the daily budget on Saturday and Sunday.

To do this, we create two rules at the campaign level. The first raises the budget to $100 per day. The budget increases at 00:00 on Saturday.

We use the second rule to return the budget to the previous level (for weekdays). At 00:00 on Monday, we set a new budget of $50.

12. We stop campaigns for which a certain budget has been spent before the end of the month

Another use of autorules is to control campaign costs. This is useful if you have a limited amount that you can spend on a campaign over a certain period, such as $500 per month.

To prevent expenses from exceeding this amount, you can set up an auto-rule at the campaign level with the following condition: Efficiency / cost / > $500.

Action: Pause campaigns.

In the paragraph “using data for” we indicated “The same month”. So the rule will analyze spending from the 1st of the current month and stop the campaign if the total spend exceeds $500.

We need one more rule – to start the stopped campaigns at the beginning of a new month.

In this rule, you must specify the use of data from the previous month. On the first day of each month, all campaigns that have spent more than $500 in the previous month will be launched.

13. Set up notifications when a certain budget expense is reached

Automated rules are useful for making bulk changes to campaigns on autopilot. They can also be used to receive notifications for various events. For example, when the budget expenditure has reached a certain level.

Suppose we have a budget of $50 per day. We create a rule that will check the expense every day at 17:00 – and if it exceeds $ 30, we will receive a notification by mail.

Create a rule for ad groups:

  • Rule type – Send email.
  • Condition – Efficiency / Cost / > 30$
  • Frequency – daily, 17:00. Using data from the same day.

What is important to consider when working with automated rules

There are a few nuances to be aware of:

  • Before creating a rule, consider the logic of its work. If you use an autorule to make temporary changes and you need to revert to the original settings, you will need to create an additional rule.
  • If you use rules to change rates, don’t make too sudden changes. Start with a small increase in rates (5-10%) and analyze the result. Then, if the results show positive dynamics, increase the rates one more step. The same should be done with the budget.
  • Only the most recent changes made by each rule can be undone. For example, if a rule runs on Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll only see the Edit button next to changes made on Saturday. For Friday, this button will appear only after the Saturday changes are cancelled.
  • You cannot undo changes that you have edited after the rule has run. Let’s say you use a rule that increases your bid for 10 keywords by $60, and then manually edits one of them to increase its bid by another $30. If you undo the changes that the rule made automatically, only the nine keywords that you didn’t manually edit will be restored. To understand which changes will be undone and which will not, we recommend that you use the preview.
  • You cannot restore undone changes. If you undo the changes made by the rule on a specific day, you will no longer be able to revert them (that is, there is no way to “undo the undo”).

Consider these features and use automated rules to save time and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

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