Google AdWords generates a high return due to its intent-based platform.
But generating a high return often involves hours of work daily.
From combing through thousands of negative keywords to adjusting bids on each campaign to meet fluctuating costs per click and acquisition.
And don’t get me started on tagging each ad’s final URL with new UTM codes.
Managing campaigns can quickly become a full-time job.
And you can’t afford to be wasting hours each day when you’ve got dozens of other tasks and managers breathing down your neck.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to set-and-forget your AdWords campaigns to generate new business with barely any time spent on the platform.
Putting more time into Google AdWords than necessary is putting more money (in the form of labor) into your acquisition costs.
Cutting down on labor through Google Adwords automation can help save you money and precious time for other tasks.
1. Capitalize on cheap clicks even when you’re not around
Cost per clicks fluctuates heavily on a daily and weekly basis.
Why? Well, depending on what advertisers are willing to bid, the costs can rise or fall dramatically.
Maybe an advertiser pauses their bids on weekends, dropping CPC by a few bucks. Or maybe they increase their own bids, driving your CPC up five bucks. Either way, both have a fundamental change on your bottom line. And if we’re honest, it sucks trying to monitor CPC fluctuations for every single keyword and campaign.
If you have multiple campaigns, you can easily spend 1-2 hours daily just monitoring this. And you don’t have that kind of time when it comes to a single AdWords task, let alone a full campaign management plan.
Thankfully, with AdWords automated rules, you don’t have to. In fact, you don’t ever have to manually adjust your bidding and budget again.
But before you set up any sort of rule, you need to figure out your average cost per click and how much you can spend.
First, it’s time to research the average cost per click of your keywords. Start by inspecting your own Google AdWords campaigns to see what you’re paying on average per click:
For each keyword, head over to SEMRush and enter it into the search bar. Now examine the baseline CPC:
Compare and contrast the two. Is your AdWords average CPC higher than the standard? Is it lower?
If it’s higher, that signifies the competitors are willing to up their bids. If it’s lower, you can get an idea of what you might be paying when the competition decides to pay more.
So, now that you’ve identified your average cost per click, it’s time to outline what a “cheap click” is for your business.
You could simply set a cheap click as anything below the average, but that’s a recipe for disaster. Think about it:
If you set your rule to increase your budget when clicks get cheaper, you might be blowing more of your budget for a few cent decrease. This rule here is meant to capitalize on really cheap clicks. We’re talking 1-5$ or more.
Head over to Google AdWords and navigate to the Rules section:
Create a new rule for campaigns based on “Change budgets.”
Now select to increase your daily budget when average CPCs are low:
Conversely, make sure to set a maximum budget that you don’t want to exceed. But remember to keep in mind that your budget will only increase when clicks are dirt cheap, meaning you can get more clicks for less money overall.
2. Spend more money when CPA is low
Cost per acquisition (CPA) is one of the most important metrics around. It tells you how much money you have to spend to acquire a single customer.
It’s important but not in the way that most think: high CPA = bad!
CPA is extremely relative. For example, the CPA for a law firm might be $500 to $1,000 for a single customer. Sure, that seems pretty absurd to most. But when that law firm generates $10,000 on average from a single customer, it starts to even out.
If you have customers that are high in lifetime value for your business, you can afford to spend more on acquisition.
If you have low lifetime value customers with a high churn rate, you can’t afford high CPAs.
CPA is a huge metric that should dictate how you run AdWords campaigns. For example, does your CPC range from $50 to $100+? Then your focus needs to be on generating a smaller amount of customers and building them into huge profit centers for your business.
But, how do you figure out your CPA and LTV? If you don’t know already, one great way to do it is via simple calculations and using your own CRM or eCommerce data.
To calculate LTV, simply use the following equation:
(Average Value of a Sale) X (Avg. Number of Repeat Transactions) X (Average Retention Time in Months or Years for a Typical Customer)
Once you’ve nailed down your average customer lifetime value, it’s time to look at your acquisition costs.
Total Spend / Customer Acquired
For example, if I acquired 10 customers and spent $500 bucks on advertising, labor, and tools, my cost for acquiring a single customer would be $50.
Once you’ve nailed down your average CPA and LTV, it’s time to create a few rules in AdWords.
The first rule you want to create is setting bids and budget to increase when CPAs get low.
Select “Cost / conv.” as your requirement and set the number lower than your standard CPA. Set your budget to automatically increase when this happens.
Now you can sit back and let Google AdWords increase your spend when average CPAs dip dramatically below the norm. Meaning you can bring in more customers for a cheaper cost than normal without lifting a finger.
The last rule you’ll want to set is to pause campaigns when CPAs get too high for your business model. Remember, if your customer LTVs are low, you can’t afford a high CPA.
Set this new rule to the maximum amount you are willing to spend on acquiring a customer.
3. Use UTM tags on the campaign level
UTM codes are a love-hate relationship. You love them because they give you precise tracking that standard links just can’t give. But you also hate them because setting up more than 2-3 at any given time is like banging your head against a wall.
Just thinking about tagging an entire campaign with UTM codes is giving me a headache.
But if you’re data-driven, you need UTM codes. Point, your Google Analytics will improve tenfold with this single “hack:”
Unless you’re that one person who likes all paid traffic to only say “AdWords,” then you can skip this section.
But chances are, that’s not you. At least I hope not.
When it comes time to tag links, most people head to Google’s UTM builder.
It’s great. If you’re tagging a single link for a social post…
When it comes to multiple Google AdWords campaigns with dozens of ad groups and landing pages? Not so much.
That requires spreadsheets to keep track of each link and its corresponding landing page and campaign. Then you have to individually edit each new ad to copy and paste your UTM-tagged link.
You’re already frustrated, aren’t you? That’s more time and more room for error.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret:
You can UTM tag links once and for all at the campaign level. Meaning you never have to worry about tagging final URLs again.
Simply head over to your dashboard and click on your campaign tabs. From the campaign tab, click settings, then select all of your campaigns and hit “Edit.”
From the drop-down menu, select “Change tracking templates.”
For a tracking template, you can use the following from CallRail:
This simple tracking template will record:
Source, medium, keyword, match type, network, ad position, and device.
Simply paste that code above into the text box and hit save:
And voila, you’ve successfully tagged every single ad in your campaign with a tracking template. No more spreadsheets, no more UTM-building tools. All you have to do is set this for each new campaign you make.
Now you’ve cut your time from potentially hours to less than 30 seconds, and each time you change a landing page, you can set-and-forget it because AdWords will automatically tag it.
4. Get weekly emails of your search terms report without lifting a finger
The search terms report is a gold mine for new campaigns. Most people don’t realize it, but the keywords you bid on aren’t actually what you are paying for.
Instead, you’re paying for related search terms that trigger your ads. For example, you could be bidding on the keyword “SEO Agency,” but you’re actually paying for searches like “seo agency california” or “seo agency near me.”
The search terms report is a reflection of real user searches that your ads are showing for.
Often, your best campaigns can be generated from the search terms report. Why? Because it allows you to see what real searches people are conducting to find your business.
Meaning you can better tailor your ad copy and messaging to that exact search term, rather than a generic keyword. Your headline can get much more specific, from SEO Agency to SEO Agency California, for example.
But if you’re running multiple campaigns, your search terms report can quickly start to look like this:
Yep, that’s nearly 4,000 search terms in a single given month. Yikes. Ready to quit? I am.
Checking the search terms report needs to be a daily occurrence. Unless you want to batch 4,000 terms in a single day at the end of the month. Ignoring them isn’t an option.
But if we’re being realistic, that’s too much work. It’s a full-time job.
Unless you flip the proverbial switch within AdWords to curate these terms in a report directly to your inbox every week, highlighting the best terms for you.
And no, this isn’t an infomercial.
To get started, head to the search terms report for your search network campaigns:
From here, start by creating a new filter based on impressions.
The goal here is to make this search terms report worth your time. So set the impressions threshold high, relative to your other successful campaigns.
For example, if a current keyword is generating 100 impressions a week, that’s a great starting point.
Enter that into your filter:
Next, add a new filter for CTR to be greater than or equal to your average CTR on AdWords.
Doing this will ensure that you’re only getting reports for the best of the best keywords. You can customize this to your liking obviously, with almost any metric. But these are a great starting point to narrow down your results and focus on the big-ticket items.
To schedule your report, click the download button on the right-hand side and click “Schedule.”
On the scheduling tool, enter the email where you want the report sent. Next, select if you want the report daily, weekly or monthly.
More than likely, weekly is going to be sufficient now that you’ve narrowed your reporting to specific filters.
Lastly, select the file type that you generally work with and hit “Schedule.”
That’s it. You’ve now cut your time dramatically and can focus on only big-ticket items in the search terms report.
5. Set up automated email alerts for big campaign changes
Sometimes, life gets in the way. Or work, because who has time for a life these days?
Anyways, you get the gist. Sometimes, checking AdWords just can’t happen. Or you simply don’t want to do it. I feel you.
But when this happens, you can almost always expect one thing when you return:
Tons of red alerts from AdWords on everything from spend to budget and disapproved ads. Sh** hits the fan the moment you step away for even a day or two.
Thankfully, AdWords has become more reporting-friendly in the last few years.
You can actually have AdWords email you a curated report of any major account, and campaign changes the moment they occur.
In the automated rules section, create a new rule based on campaigns, choosing “Send email” as your type:
Make sure to apply this new rule type to all of your active campaigns, and then select a condition from the list:
Select any condition that you want to be alerted by. For example, selecting “Status” will give you updates on your campaign costs and ads that are critical for success.
You can even get alerts about auction insights or account level impacts such as new rule changes or disapproved ads that could be hindering your campaign.
Always be sure to set up email alerts based on these factors to limit your time on AdWords to only the important aspects that keep it up and running.
Google AdWords is a beast of a PPC platform, in more ways than one.
It generates revenue for your business, but it’s one of the most time-consuming platforms around. Search reports, adjusting bids, you name it.
Hours fly by without much progress made.
Instead, try utilizing a few tools within AdWords to set-and-forget your campaigns while still pushing business through the door.
Try setting rules to capitalize on cheap clicks and cost per acquisition. Make sure to enable UTM codes at the campaign level to save hours of tedious work. Always get email updates for your account alerts and the best search terms in your overcrowded report.
Sometimes, the saying holds its weight: work smarter, not harder.