Script Strategies that Could Radically Improve Your AdWords Game

Published Nov, 6 2014
Automation, Paid Campaigns

In recent posts, we walked through AdWords Automation strategies and shared some of the advanced ideas suggested in a Google Partners video featuring Frederick Vallaeys, an original AdWords team engineer.

The goal of automation tools is to increase efficiency and improve an account’s return on investment. So far we’ve discussed automated bid strategies and rules, and now we’ll talk about scripts.

It’s amazing and exciting everything that AdWords scripts can do. When they come to mind, I think scripts, scripts, scripts! Sort of like boats, boats, boats!

AdWords Scripts Explained

AdWords Scripts are just lines of JavaScript code that can be copied and pasted into AdWords to automatically manage accounts in all manner of interesting and powerful ways. You don’t even have to even be a programmer to utilize many killer scripts.

Scripts can go far beyond automated rules because they can include external data and applications, and even connect to APIs to customize and automate AdWords campaigns. Who cares? In a classic example, that means you could automatically run more ads for coffee on cold days and more ads for ice cream on hot days. Of course, that’s just a taste of what scripts can do (pun intended).

Scripts talk with your data

Scripts can access and create new AdWords reports and make changes to accounts. This means internal data can be aggregated and mined to gain key insights and take action — automatically — saving huge amounts of time and creating new opportunities.

Shopping product groups, ad extensions, and budgets can now even be managed with scripts, in addition to everything from keywords and labels to targeting and bid modifiers.

Scripts are also now available for MCCs, which means that if your hour campaigns are divided by business groups into separate Adwords accounts (auto department vs. fashion department, for example), you can still apply scripts at the top level to apply to all of your accounts at once. For example, you might want to apply a list of negative keywords across the board.

Scripts do *not* support bid strategies or the Display Network, so they can’t manage placements.

What can scripts do?

Examples of Awesome Script Strategies for AdWords

As Vallaeys notes in his video, you could run scripts to remove ads for products with customer ratings that dip below 3 stars, or calculate Account Quality Score.

You could also use scripts to increase bids on mobile-targeted ads for ice cream when the temperature tops 90 degrees, or make more rapid changes based on keyword AdRank performance. Since a script can run every three hours when new data is available, you’ll have a jump on competitors who use rules, which can only run on an account once a day.

Things start to get really exciting when scripts are used to connect internal AdWords data with external business data to manage an account, including the creation of new ads.

In the graphic below, Vallaeys lays out an example of how a candy company with a large and changing inventory can create targeted, keyword-rich ads without even opening up AdWords. How?

A script can combine defined inventory data in Google Sheets with ad formatting rules in Google Docs. Another script could check for updates and automatically import the new ads into AdWords. Some in the auto industry, with its endless permutations of make, model, year, price, etc. geography, are making great use of this strategy, which can create millions of keywords.

You could then take things further with a script to determine the best ad text in terms of click through rate, or even for a specific keyword vs. an entire ad group. If the best performing text for that keyword isn’t the best for the ad group as a whole, the script could move that keyword and text into its own new ad group where it can shine. What if one of those ads ends up leading to a 404 page someday? You can employ a script that automatically pauses ads when landing pages are broken. Better living through scripts, indeed.

external data

You can do other nifty things with scripts, too. For example, you might merge months’ worth of weekly reports to get a handle on how your ad groups are performing over time:

Scripts merge data into one report

You could also create a script to generate an account Quality Score or gather conversion data, then push that information to a dashboard service like


How to Set Up Scripts in Google AdWords

Though engineers like Vallaeys generate innovative AdWords scripts for a living, you don’t have to be a programmer to use scripts. There are a ton of great resources available, and only 4 quick steps to getting up and running:

Step 1:  Find a Script You Like

Google makes a number of scripts available, which you can find at: Russell Savage runs a great resource of free scripts, and Vallaeys suggests the site if you also want to learn how to write scripts of your own: Vallaeys wouldn’t mind if you also checked out his company’s site offering advanced scripts and tools:

Step 2: Add the Script in AdWords

To add a script, head to your AdWords dashboard, then find “Scripts” under “Bulk Operations.” Click the “+ Script” button to get started:

add script in adwords

Step 3: Copy and Paste in Your Script Code

Just copy and paste your script into the body of the text area.

copy and paste in your script code

Set 4: Preview!

Scripts have great power and zero compassion. They can change or even delete accounts. Always preview your script first before activating it to make sure you like what you see!

Get Competitive with Scripts

Scripts have the potential to turn the average business’ AdWords account into something pro-level without a great deal of work. Together, automated bidding strategies, rules, and scripts can help businesses compete while improving overall return on investment.

Rather than spending countless hours making repetitive changes manually, automated tools let humans invest more time and energy doing what computers can’t: think creatively, consider huge amounts of context, and get to dreaming up the next big thing.

As always, automated strategies rely on sound data interpretation and business decisions, but if you ask the right questions then scripts can help deliver results.

Did I think up the idea of linking weather data with AdWords? Probably (definitely) not, but I’m glad to see that with scripts I can make it happen!

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