How to Get Started with SEM Automation

September 22, 2016 · Industry Developments

For many of you who have become more advanced in your search engine marketing (SEM) practices, automation offers a powerful appeal and it’s easy to understand why.

Automation, once implemented, can significantly free up hours in your day, allowing you to shift your focus to other priorities. Plus, automating your SEM campaigns tightens many aspects of your processes—delivering efficiencies across the board (and, likely, fewer errors!).

Remember, there’s a ton of ways to automate your marketing and relieve your team of the manual duties that diligent digital marketing demands. You can automate your marketing email campaigns, automate your social media distribution, and so on.

Here, we focus on a few basic tactics to help you to automate your SEM:

Automate your AdWords rules in a cinch.

This is a solid kick off if you’re a rookie in SEM automation and where AdWords rules can be an administrative hassle. Automating the process doesn’t require purchasing expensive software: Google offers this function in its automated rules options!

Google automation

Here are just a few ways this could play out:

  • Schedule your ads: Create rules that dictate when your ads will start and stop. This is critical for holiday marketing. You’ll want to have your campaign set to roll out – but don’t want limited time offers or holiday content to keep going past the holiday.
  • Pause low performers: Pause ads based on conversion rates or performance metrics (such as low CTR). Rules such as these focus your efforts only on the solid performers, and create some financial efficiencies, too. Pause your ads and optimize them for testing again at a later time.
  • Take control of your budget: This rule is great for companies with a high focus on certain days of the week. Rather than racing to your dashboard to increase bid budgets manually, create a rule that, say, allows for a greater budget on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Auto-adjust your bids: Set rules that adjust bids based on conversion rates, to focus on the desired page position and more.

Leverage AdWords scripts through customization.

Yes, you need to know a bit of JavaScript (JS) to use AdWords scripts. No, you don’t need to be a coding ninja. AdWords scripts are JS code that is meant to automate the headache out of time consuming, tedious tasks.

google adwords scripts

While there are numerous canned scripts, customization gives you greater control—and hopefully better results. Scripts can be used for tasks such as pausing/starting keywords, checking URLs, monitoring performance and more.

Here are our favorite resources for beginners:

  1. Google’s intro to AdWords scripts
  2. This blog is dedicated entirely to free AdWords scripts
  3. A free online JavaScript course

Get serious with platform APIs.

Now, there’s no skirting around it—if you’re going to use API’s, make sure you have a developer to lean on. API’s, or application programming interface, offer a set of protocols for giving and receiving information. They’re the powerhouse of automation.

API

While some development assistance is required, once an API is set up properly, many functions of your SEM can churn on autopilot. If you’re serious about automation, it’s worth evaluating.

API’s offer ample room for customization and working the way you and your developer wish to. For example, API’s provide a path for requesting information—but how you actually do it depends on your developer’s implementations. Your developer can choose the coding language and decide on the optimal path for working with the API in a way that is scalable and secure.

Again, the AdWords API offers a deeper layer of customization and automation—ideal for large firms and corporations. You can automate nearly anything, from keyword generation and ad text to landing pages and reports.

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