AdWords Automated Rule Danger

The double-edged sword

If you’re using automated rules, you need to be aware of a costly trap that’s easy to fall head first into with just a few clicks: how often your rule runs versus the time range it’ll be using to base decisions on.

Imagine that the following rule is in place:

  • If keyword conversion rate is greater than 5% and average position is less than 6, increase bid by 5%. Frequency rule runs: Daily. Timeframe: Last working week (Mon-Fri).

At first glance, this could be a fantastic way to increase the prominence of ads for keywords proven to convert. Unfortunately, it could just as easily damage your CPA if left unchecked.

What will happen

This rule will run every day until a new working week begins because it’s using static data. Examining a $1.00 bid about to undergo changes at the beginning of a new week:

  • Monday: rule runs increasing a $1.00 bid by 5% = $1.05
  • Tuesday: increase by 5% = $1.10
  • Wednesday: increase by 5% = $1.16
  • Thursday: increase by 5% = $1.22
  • Friday: increase by 5% = $1.28
  • Saturday: increase by 5% = $1.34
  • Sunday: increase by 5% = $1.41

At the end of the week, the bid has risen from $1.00 to $1.41. Therefore, please align your rule frequency very carefully with your data set. Happy bidding!

Update: Thanks to David Shepherd for his question.

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