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March 4, 2015

Mastering AdWords Scripts for Search Marketers – #SMX #21B

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AdWords Scripts session speakers

Speakers for the AdWords Scripts session at SMX West

This SMX West session (titled “Mastering AdWords Scripts”) is designed for search marketers who have already written AdWords scripts. The three-expert lineup of speakers moderated by Matt Van Wagner dives deep (and fast!) into how scripts in an SEM toolkit can make ads more flexible and powerful.

Frederick Vallaeys, CEO of Optmyzr

Speaker Frederick Vallaeys was at Google for many years. He starts with a definition: Scripts are pieces of code that let you automate AdWords reporting and management.


AdWords Scripts vs. APIs


  • Hosting: Hosted by AdWords, like Google Docs
  • Skills: Copy and paste
  • Scheduling: Schedule inside AdWords
  • Capable: Can’t manage everything
  • Strengths: Quick to test something


  • Hosting: You need a server.
  • Skills: Install the code, some SDKs or libraries, …
  • Schedule: Maintain chron jobs on your server
  • Capabilities: Almost everything in AdWords
  • Strengths: Better for large accounts

Scripts vs. Automated Rules

  • Scheduling of scripts — as often as hourly
  • Scheduling for automated rules — as often as daily
  • Scripts are highly customizable, while automated rules have limited predefined rules.
  • Scripts are more flexible, bottom line.

Scripts talk with your data:


Scripts can talk to external data sources and any API.

An example for using weather data is ice cream ads, shown only when the temperature goes above a defined level.

Scripts + Google Calendar

An example of using scripts with the Calendar would be to make an ad for Valentine’s Day; it gets triggered because of an event on the calendar.

Scripts + Tasks: The system analyzes the AdWords account and pushes a to-do into your task manager.

Scripts for Bid Management


Do you know, as a ticket broker, that X number of days after an event is the best time to sell tickets? Bid strategies were introduced a couple of months ago.

Scripts for campaign creation: Imagine dynamic keyword insertion on steroids. Everything on a spreadsheet can be a dynamic ad.

Scripts for A/B testing: If you’re not doing ad text testing, you’re losing out. Run an evaluation script to clean up a test that Google is running for you. This allows you to have good account management on a consistent basis.

Scripts can send emails. Scripts can add results to Google Sheets, with full graphing and charting capabilities. And you can save reports to your computer automatically. Try Optmyzr’s enhanced scripts for AdWords. Manage scripts for all your clients and multiple accounts. They are scripts for non-programmers.

Next we’ll see code and get a sense for how straightforward it is to get started with AdWords scripts.

Steve Hammer, President of RankHammer

Steve Hammer begins with a story. There’s a restaurant in Dallas with a big sandbox and beer, and families flood the restaurant on nice days. On a rainy day, the place is a ghost town. They have a rainy day happy hour, so they run PPC ads via a script that gets triggered when it rains.

Getting Started with Scripts

One way to start is bulk operations and +create script; then you’re staring at a blank space. Is that intimidating? Don’t be intimidated. There’s a lot of copying and pasting, as Frederick explained.

Variables, functions and methods defined:



  • Many values
  • Numbered
  • Called up in square brackets
  • A special object


  • Many properties
  • Named
  • Called up in curly brackets

Most code snippets are written inflexibly, but you can change them a little bit to make them more flexible:

Code snippets slide

AdWords patterns:

AdWords patterns slide

You don’t want to call a selector very often because it goes very slowly.

Modify Google’s Hello World script so that:

Google Hello World script

There’s a built-in AdWords method reference. Take note of the type.

Get comfortable with change. Start with a prebuilt script and modify it. He shows an example of modifying the well-known weather script and changing it to show the real-time number of Twitter followers in an ad.

Patrick Bennett, Co-Founder and CPO of Showroom Logic

Patrick Bennett will give us three scripts that will get users reports. Bennett feels that scripts are the most underutilized feature of AdWords and if you have any hesitance, make friends with a programmer. What are your report types? There are 43 templates available, with the full list available here:

Definitions you need to know:

  • Name: The column name you will need to add to the script.
  • Filterable: True means you can create requirements in your report request.
  • Supports zero impressions: Data will pull even if impressions were zero for the criteria.
  • Behaviors
    • Attribute: settings or other fixed data (campaign name, IDs)
    • Metric: performance data (variable data that changes like clicks, impressions, conversions)
    • Segment: dimension data used to group metrics

A script to pull your first report:

Script sample for a report

Modify the areas indicated here as you want, indicating the data you want pulled in your report. After that, the system gives you the URL in your Google Drive where you’ll see that report. Enjoy the data!

Weekly Quality Score report script:

Set it on a schedule (weekly, daily, every other day). There will be a new tab in the spreadsheet for every campaign.

Spreadsheet for a campaign

MCC level scripts:

  • Single script runs across multiple accounts
  • Less worries about scale
  • Great for cross-account analysis

Create a dashboard of performance across clients. Here’s an example:

Modify the sheet name, label, date range and columns as you want them.

Here are Bennett’s recommendations on “what’s next” for search marketers:

  • Get familiar with these resources.
  • Start tweaking them.
  • Make friends with a programmer.
  • Read, read, read.
  • Use your imagination.
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