Lately, I have been embracing automation more and more. Used correctly, automation works as your sidekick in fine-tuning your campaigns. Automated rules, scripts, and third-party tools should be used in addition to your normal everyday management.
Today I want to review the Google Ads automated rules available to advertisers. In particular, I’m going to share four rules that have become commonplace in my accounts. Before sharing these rules, I’ll emphasize that thresholds will be different in all accounts. For example, I might pause keywords in my account that haven’t converted in the last 30 days and have received at least 45 clicks. For you, these thresholds may be different depending on your account-specific intangibles. It’s important to understand why you are running the rule and to adjust thresholds accordingly.
Rule 1 – Increase CPC Bids
This rule reviews all your enabled keywords and increases bids whenever certain requirements are met. The goal of this rule is to gain additional exposure for converting keywords that are under cost per conversion goal.
The example below showcases a rule that runs weekly, increasing CPC bids by 25% on keywords with CPAs below $10.
With this rule, we’re telling Google to increase bids for terms under cost per conversion goal that have less than 40% Top Impression Share. The Impression Share threshold is set so keywords already appearing in the top positions of the SERP fairly often don’t receive higher bids (where they would potentially spend more and increase cost per conversion).
We’re also setting a threshold for the max bid. In other words, no matter how well the keyword is performing, we never want to bid above $2 because at that cost we lose profitability. As a final note, the brand campaign is not included in this rule. Due to the importance that branded campaign conversions and revenue have on the overall account, I want to ensure that I make all bid changes manually.
Rule 2 – Pause Ineffective Keywords
The purpose of this rule is to review and pause non-converting keywords. The timeframe used in the example below is sixty days. I believe this threshold to be a generous window to determine whether or not a keyword is performing.
It is also important to consider assisted conversions. With this rule, we’re isolating keywords that are doing very little to help last-click conversions, and then we’re pausing them. If you know that certain keywords rarely drive large last click volume, but play a vital part in the top of the funnel, make sure you take that into consideration when using this rule.
Rule 3 – Increase Bids on Low IS
This rule ensures you are showing at least half the time on top-performing keywords. It uses three simple metrics – conversions, search lost IS (rank), and cost per conversion.
These numbers will obviously vary depending on the account and goals. However, you’ll notice this rule doesn’t contain a branded campaign qualifier like the other rules. As an additional automated rule, you could duplicate Rule #3 and make it specific to your brand campaign, but with more aggressive impression share qualifications. This would help keep a constant pulse on your branded impression share.
Rule 4 – Receive Emails for Ineffective Ads
This rule is the same as the ineffective keyword rule, with two differences. The first difference is that instead of keywords, we’re looking at ads.
The second difference is that this rule emails you instead of making the changes. You should always have at least three ads running in every ad group, but unfortunately, this sentiment isn’t always practiced. With Google sending an email, you can review each ad group and pause accordingly. And if there are only one or two ads, write another!
The rules I’ve laid out are a good start for automating aspects of your account. You can go more in-depth with these rules, but remember that automation is meant to help; not replace the human touch. Be willing to explore automation while ensuring that it doesn’t replace your efforts.
What are some rules that you set up in your accounts? Leave your comments below!
Post updated by Connor Regan (prior post date: 4/2/18)
Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say
Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.
“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”
The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”
“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”
Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.
The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.
Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.
The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.
Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”
The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.
Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.
Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”
States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.
The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.
Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.
“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.
Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.
“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”
The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.
Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.
“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
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