Common ways to use automated rules

Automated rules allow you to schedule your ads to appear at specific times of the day, adjust bids by time of day, seasonal factors or other dynamic conditions, or control your budget and costs by showing ads only at the times you choose.

 To get started, think about the tasks you perform frequently in your Google Ads account and write down the steps you take. Then structure your rules to have these actions performed automatically for you.

This article provides several examples of of popular rules. You can use your personal performance goals and expertise about your business to choose specific metrics and actions that make sense for you.

Once you've created rules, make sure to monitor their performance frequently and refine them to get the desired results.

Instructions

Choose the Google Ads experience you're using. Learn more

 

Schedule ads

Turn on or off several special ads for a promotional event

Say you have several promotional ads containing the phrase "Memorial Day specials" and you want to run them over Memorial Day weekend. First, create these ads in advance and keep them paused. Then create two one-time rules: the first to enable these ads at the start of Memorial Day weekend (for example, May 28, approximately 5:00 PM) and the second to pause the ads at the end of the holiday weekend (May 30, approximately 11:00 PM).
  1. Click Ads & extensions.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Enable ads.
  4. In the "Apply to ads" section, choose All enabled and paused ads.
  5. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Ad text.
  6. In the “Value” field, enter “Memorial Day specials”, and click Apply.
  7. Under "Frequency", choose Once and select May 28, 2018 at 5:00 PM.
  8. Name your rule.
  9. Click Save rule, to save rule 1.
  10. To create rule 2, click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  11. Under “Type of rule”, select Pause ads. 
  12. In the "Apply to" section, choose All enabled and paused ads.
  13. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Ad text.
  14. In the “Value” field, enter “Memorial Day specials”, and click Apply.
  15. Under "Frequency", choose Once and select May 30, 2018 at 11:00 PM.
  16. Name your rule.
  17. Click Save rule, to save rule 2.

Turn on or off several special ads on a repeating basis (e.g. every weekend)

Let's say you want to show special "Free Shipping" ads every weekend. Using two weekly rules, these ads can be enabled every Saturday morning (rule 1) and paused every Sunday night (rule 2). You can use the ad text to select the ads across your account (instead of selecting ads individually from the table, as shown in the example below).
  1. Click Ads & extensions.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Enable ads
  4. In the "Apply to ads" section, choose All enabled and paused ads.
  5. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Ad text.
  6. In the “Value” field, enter “Free Shipping”, and click Apply.
  7. Under "Frequency", choose Weekly and select Saturday at 1:00 AM.
  8. Name your rule.
  9. Click Save rule, to save rule 1.
  10. To create rule 2, click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  11. Under “Type of rule”, select Pause ads.
  12. In the "Apply to" section, choose All enabled and paused ads.
  13. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Ad text.
  14. In the “Value” field, enter “Free Shipping”, and click Apply.
  15. Under "Frequency", choose Weekly and select Sunday at 11:00 PM.
  16. Name your rule.
  17. Click Save rule, to save rule 2.

Turn on or off a special ad campaign for a promotional event

Say you have a special advertising campaign you want to run on the Fourth of July. First, create this campaign in advance and keep it paused. Then create two one-time rules: the first will enable this campaign at the start of Independence Day (for example, July 4, approximately 1:00 AM) and the second will pause the campaign at the end of the day (approximately 11:00 PM).
  1. Click Campaigns.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. For rule 1, select Enable campaigns. For rule 2, select Pause campaigns.
  4. In the "Apply to campaigns" section, choose Select campaigns, and select the campaign you’d like to include.
  5. For rule 1, in the "Frequency" section, choose Once and select July 4, 2018 at 1:00 AM. For rule 2, select July 4, 2018 at 11:00 PM.
  6. Name your rule.
  7. Click Save rule.

Pause low-performing ads or keywords

Pause low-performing keywords based on performance metrics (e.g., high cost per conversion)

Some advertisers experiment with different keywords and try to keep the ones that perform best, while optimizing the ones that are underperforming. You can use automated rules in this process by routinely pausing the ones that don't perform as desired so that you can optimize and re-enable them later. For example, you can use conversion data if you have conversion tracking enabled.
Here's an example of pausing keywords that have a very high cost per conversion: a monthly rule could pause all keywords with a cost per conversion that's more than $20 and at least 100 conversions in the last 30 days. Keep in mind, the performance metric ($20 cost per conversion) and data to be observed (100 conversions in a month) are very specific to each advertiser. They should be chosen based on your performance goals and your expertise about your business.
Here's how to create this rule:
  1. Click Keywords.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Pause keywords.
  4. In the "Apply to keywords" section, choose All enabled keywords.
  5. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Conversions.
  6. Set Conversions to “>100”, and click Apply.
  7. Click +ADD, and select Cost / conv.
  8. Set Cost / conv. to " > $20", and click Apply.
  9. In the "Frequency" section, choose Daily at anytime, using data from the Previous 30 days.
  10. Name and save your rule.
Note: When you create rules based on conversions, we recommend that you use long time ranges (such as previous seven days or previous 30 days) to properly capture your conversions. Conversions may take up to 30 days.

Pause low-performing ads based on performance metrics (e.g., low CTR)

Some advertisers experiment with different ads and try to keep the best performing ones. You can use automated rules in this process by routinely pausing the ads that don't perform as desired. For example, you could use a daily rule to look for ads with less than 0.2% clickthrough rate and over 1,000 impressions in the last day (so that enough data has been collected to make a decision). These ads could then be automatically paused.
Keep in mind that the performance metric (in this case, 0.2% CTR) and data to be observed (1,000 impressions in a day) are very specific to each advertiser. They should be chosen based on your performance goals and your expertise about your business.
Here's how to create this rule:
  1. Click Ads & extensions.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Pause ads.
  4. In the "Apply to ads" section, choose All enabled ads.
  5. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select CTR.
  6. Set CTR to “.2%”, and click Apply.
  7. +ADD, and select Impr.
  8. Set impressions to “ >= 1000”.
  9. In the "Frequency" section, choose Daily using data from the Previous 14 days.
  10. Name and save your rule.
The rule described above will work for ads meeting the conditions for all of your campaigns. If you want the rule to work for ads on only three specific campaigns, you can add a campaign condition and select those three campaigns.

Bids and bid scheduling

Adjust bids for keywords based on cost per conversion

You can use automated rules to increase bids for keywords that are converting well and at a low cost per conversion, and decrease bids for those that aren't. For example, a weekly rule could raise max CPC bids by 15% for keywords with more than 50 conversions and a cost per conversion under $10 that are triggering ads in positions worse than 3. Note that setting a maximum bid is recommended as a precautionary measure. A second weekly rule could decrease bids by 15% for keywords with a cost per conversion more than $12. Here's how to create the rules:
  1. Click Keywords.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Change keyword bids.
  4. In the "Apply to keywords" section, choose All enabled keywords.
  5. Under “Action” select Increase bids.
  6. Next to “Increase by percentage”, enter “15%”. 
  7. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Cost / conv.
  8. Set Cost / conv. to “<$10”.
  9. Click +ADD, select Conversions, and set to “>50”.
  10. Click +ADD, select Avg. pos., and set to “<3”.
  11. Name your rule.
  12. Click Save rule, to create rule 1.
  13. For rule 2, under “Action”, select Decrease bids.
  14. Next to “Decrease by percentage”, enter “15%”. 
  15. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Cost / conv.
  16. Set Cost / conv. to “>$12”.
  17. Click +ADD, select Conversions, and set to “>50”.
  18. Click +ADD, select Avg. pos., and set to “<3”.
  19. In the "Frequency" section, choose Weekly using data from the Last week.
  20. Name and save your rule.

Tip

When you create rules based on conversions, we recommend that you use long "using data from" time ranges (e.g., last 14 days, last 30 days, or more) to properly capture your conversions. Conversions may take up to 30 days.

Change bids to target an average position (Search Network only)

Some advertisers would like their ads to show in particular ad positions, such as the top two spots, or positions 3-5. Adjusting keyword bids can help achieve this. Note, however, that a higher bid can sometimes lead to a lower average ad position. We recommend that you first learn more about ad position and Ad Rank.
If you'd like to target positions 3-5, you can create two daily "Change keyword bids" rules. The first rule increases bids when the average position drops below 5, and the second rule decreases bids when the average position rises above 3.
Here's how to create the rules:
  1. Click Keywords.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Change keyword bids.
  4. In the "Apply to keywords" section, choose All enabled keywords.
  5. Under “Action”, select Raise bids to top of page CPC.
  6. In the "Condition" section, set click +ADD, and select Avg. pos.
  7. Set Avg. pos. to “>5”.
  8. Set the Frequency to Daily using data from the Previous day.
  9. Name and save rule 1.
  10. For rule 2, under “Action”, select Raise bids to first page CPC.
  11. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Avg. pos.
  12. Set Avg. pos. to “<3”.
  13. Set the Frequency to Daily using data from the Previous day.
  14. Name and save your rule.
If you're far from your desired average position, you can create several rules to help reach it more quickly. For example, when the average position is worse than 5 but better than 7, you could increase bids by 10%. Or if it's worse than 7, increase bids by 20%.

Raise bids to ensure ads show on the first page (Search Network only)

Some advertisers want to ensure that their ads are always at least on the first page. You can use automated rules to raise the bids of your keywords to the recommended first page bid, and run this rule on a daily basis. 
However, be sure to specify a maximum bid, and also add a requirement that the keyword status is "Below first page bid" so that you're only changing bids of keywords that aren't already showing on the first page. In addition, you might want to only raise bids for keywords that have a good Quality Score (for example, Quality Score >= 6), so as not to bid up keywords that need to be optimized.
  1. Click Keywords.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Change keyword bids.
  4. In the "Apply to keywords" section, choose All enabled keywords.
  5. Under “Action”, select Raise bids to first page CPC.
  6. (Optional) set a “Max. bid limit”.
  7. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Quality Score.
  8. Set Quality Score to “>=6”.
  9. Set the Frequency to Daily using data from the Previous day.
  10. Name and save your rule.

Raise bids to the recommended top of page bid (Search Network only)

You can use an automated rule with top of page bid estimates to raise the bids of your keywords to the recommended top of page bid, and run this rule on a daily basis. 
Note: Be sure to specify a maximum bid. In addition, you might want to only raise bids for keywords that have a good Quality Score (e.g., Quality Score >= 6), to avoid paying more for keywords that need to be optimized. 
  1. Click Keywords.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Change keyword bids.
  4. In the "Apply to keywords" section, choose All enabled keywords.
  5. Under “Action”, select Raise bids to top of page CPC.
  6. (Optional) set a “Max. bid limit”.
  7. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Quality Score.
  8. Set Quality Score to “>=6”.
  9. Set the Frequency to Daily using data from the Previous day.
  10. Name and save your rule.

Bid scheduling (e.g., a higher bid during certain hours of the day)

You can use automated rules to raise and decrease bids based on day of week, or even based on hour of day. For example, you can set up two daily rules to increase your bids between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM every evening. The first rule would increase your bid by 25% at approximately 6:00 PM and the second rule would decrease the bid by 20% at approximately 10:00 PM, thus bringing it back to the original value ($1 increased by 25% is $1.25, $1.25 decreased by 20% is $1 again).

Tip

Here's a handy way to calculate increase and decrease %. Given an increase of x %, the corresponding decrease d % to get back to the original value follows this formula: d = (100 * x) / (100 + x). In the above example, x = 25. Then d = (100 * 25) / (100 + 25) = 20.

Control budgets and cost

Checking in on your budget

You can use automated rules to trigger emails when certain conditions occur. For example, let's say that you have a campaign with a daily budget of $100. You can set an automated rule to run at noon every day to email you if you’ve spent more than $50 so far that day. Upon receiving the email alert, you can then choose whether you want to increase your budget so as not to throttle your campaign for the rest of the day.
To create a rule that sends an email if specific campaigns have accrued more than $50 in cost by 12:00 PM:
  1. Click Campaigns.
  2. Click the name of the campaign who’s budget you’d like to keep track of.
  3. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  4. Under “Type of rule”, select Send email.
  5. In the "Apply to ad groups" section, choose All enabled ad groups, or select specific ad groups.
  6. In the "Condition" section, click +ADD, and select Cost.
  7. Set Cost. to “>$50”.
  8. Set the Frequency to Daily 12:00 PM using data from the Same day.
  9. Name and save your rule.
You can set up similar rules to email you when certain conditions happen in ad groups, ads, and keywords.

Budget scheduling (e.g., higher budget on certain days of the week)

Automated rules give you the flexibility to increase or decrease campaign budget values based on day of week. For example, if you know that most conversions occur on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can set rules to increase the budget on Tuesday morning and decrease it to its normal value Wednesday night.
The first rule would increase your budget by 50%, for example, and the second rule would decrease the budget by 33.3%, thus bringing it back to the original value ($100 increased by 50% is $150, $150 decreased by 33.3% is $100 again).
Here's how to create the two rules:
  1. Click Campaigns.
  2. Click the 3-dot icon , and select Create an automated rule.
  3. Under “Type of rule”, select Change budgets.
  4. In the "Apply to campaigns" section, choose All enabled campaigns.
  5. For rule 1, under “Action” select Increase budget and enter by “50%”.
  6. For rule 2, under “Action” select Decrease budget and enter “33.3%”.
  7. For rule 1, set the Frequency to Weekly, Tuesday 1:00 AM using data from the Previous week
  8. For the second rule, set the Frequency to Weekly, Wednesday 11:00 PM using the same data.
  9. Name and save your rule.

Tip

Here's a handy way to calculate increase and decrease %. Given an increase of x %, the corresponding decrease d % to get back to the original value follows this formula: d = (100 * x) / (100 + x). In the above example, x = 50. Then d = (100 * 50) / (100 + 50) = 33.3.
See what the two weekly rules would look like below.

Pause campaigns that have spent a certain budget partway through the month

Though you can control a campaign's cost using its daily budget, you may also wish to limit its monthly spend. This can be approximated by using an automated rule that runs daily every morning and pauses any campaign that has spent, for example, $200 so far this month. You can do this by using a frequency of "Daily" and setting "using data from" to "Same month."

Pause campaigns that have reached a certain number of clicks partway through the day

In some cases, you may wish to limit the number of clicks to, for example, 500 for a campaign in a given day. This can be approximated by creating several daily rules that each run at different hours of the day. Each rule checks whether or not the 500 clicks have been reached -- if yes, the campaign is paused. In a simplified case, this could be four daily rules:
  1. Rule 1: checks at approximately 6:00 AM whether 500 clicks have been reached; pauses the campaign if needed.
  2. Rule 2: checks at approximately 12:00 PM whether 500 clicks have been reached; pauses the campaign if needed.
  3. Rule 3: checks at approximately 6:00 PM whether 500 clicks have been reached; pauses the campaign if needed.
  4. Rule 4: enables the campaign at approximately 11:00 PM, so it's ready to run the next day.
The screenshot below displays the first rule of the four that you'll need to create.

Increase budget for campaigns that convert well (using cost-per-conversion)

If you have a target cost-per-conversion and you see that some campaigns are doing better than expected, you may wish to allocate additional budget to these campaigns. An automated weekly rule could do this for you: for example, you could create a rule that any campaign with over 10 conversions and a cost-per-conversion under $5 should receive an additional budget of 10%. Note that setting a maximum budget is recommended as a precautionary measure.

Increase bids for dimensions that perform well in your Display Network campaign

Let’s say you have a Display Network campaign that is targeting ages 18-24, 25-34, and 35-44, and you bid the same amount for each age group. However, as your campaign progresses, you notice that certain age groups are more likely to actually buy your products after they’ve clicked through to your website. For these high-conversion age groups, you might be willing to spend more money trying to reach those groups.
To do this, you could create a rule that runs regularly, looks at past performance data, and raises bids for any age group where you see a high conversion rate (and therefore a high return on your investment). Conversely, you can lower your bids for age groups where you see a low conversion rate. In this case you might also want to set a maximum bid so you don’t accidentally increase your bid beyond what you are willing to spend.

General guidelines and examples

Be cautious with daily rules that increase or decrease bids

Daily bidding rules that operate on an entire account should be set up carefully. If the rule is set up to run daily, it generally makes sense to use data from "previous day". Make small changes to your bids (e.g. 5% increases/decreases) and observe performance closely over time before considering larger changes.

Exclude specific keywords from a rule

Sometimes you want to apply a rule to all keywords, except for certain keywords that you want to manage manually. You can do this by excluding those keywords using "Conditions." For example, suppose you want to schedule a rule to raise CPC bids of all keywords in a campaign except those that contain the words "rustic wedding." Go to Keywords for that campaign, and when you create the rule, make sure to set up a requirement that the keyword text does not contain "rustic wedding."

Did you know...

If you have comments or suggestions about how to use automated rules, you're welcome to contact us via our feedback form.

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