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My experience with automated rules

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# 1
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I have an Adwords account with around 4000 keywords. On October 31 I have set up an automated rule to  "Increase keyword bids to top of page CPC" with no maximum CPC. On Sunday November 2 I checed my account and was surprised to see that Google has increased the CPC for some keywords over 2000% -yes 2000%


For example, one keywords before I set up the rule had  av.position 2, max CPC £0.46 and  avg.CPC £0.34 but after I made the change max CPC changed to £9.37 and avg.CPC £6.44.


Why was the cpc increse at all since it was anyway on av.position of 2 ?


second problem, I stop the rule on November 2 but the CPC did not revert back to the original max CPC so for the example keyword above the max CPC was still £9.37. 


I question Google about the last problem and they replied" removing the automated rule would not remove the CPC changes it made while it was active. It only means the rule would not run again and would not make any other changes to the bids.

Since the bids have now been manually adjusted by yourself, going forward please note that you must manually change the bids back to the amount you wish to have as a Max CPC."

  Is this realy how it works? do I now need to spend hours looking at change history  to find what the Max CPC was before I set up the rules ???


I said a high price trusting Google but at least I learned a lesson. 

2 Expert replyverified_user
Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by topic author menash
September 2015

Re: My experience with automated rules

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Menash,

It sounds to me like the rules did exactly what you asked them to do. If you don't set a max CPC, how does the rule know what you really want. I heard a great quote from a fellow TC at our recent AdWords community summit. "Ask a script to do something dumb, and it will. They're totally obedient." the same applies to rules. Not to say that what you asked is dumb, the rules are dumb, it executed exactly what you asked it to execute.

And, yes, removing the rule only stops it from running again, you should always review the results of any rules and scripts you run in your accounts, as humans, we make errors in setting up our rules and scripts, it's not the scripts fault for doing what we ask.

Sorry to say but everything you've explained here is accurate and exactly what to expect when using a rule in this manner.

Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
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Re: My experience with automated rules

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# 3
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You should first keep in mind that those are tools run by computer, they don't think, they don't understand your business and they don't know your customers. They just follow a tremendous data of estimates.

You should have specified a max bid, unsettling max limits can lead to unnecessarily high CPCs as happened to you. Because as you know the top page bid is just an estimate based on the Quality Score and current advertiser competition for that keyword. If one of your keyword has a poor quality score, your top page bid will be very high. Therefore, you should also have raised bids only for keywords that have a good quality score to avoid paying more for keywords that need to be optimized.

In terms of how to get everything back to normal, you can UNDO the rule instead of just stopping it, this will return the campaign to the state before applying the automated rule. Look for Undo buttons next to the most recent changes of each rule in the "Actions" column of your logs. After you click Undo, a preview pane will open to show you how undoing a rule will impact your account. If everything looks OK, you can start the undo from this pane. The undo should finish in the same amount of time that it took to run the rule initially.

Re: My experience with automated rules

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi Menash,


Further to the replies you've already received, can I ask if you ran a preview of the rule before you set it to run?  A preview would have shown you exactly the changes that the rule(s) were going to make (at that time).  AdWords even provides a "safety feature" in that if you try to set a rule without previewing it, a warning dialogue will appear asking you if you're sure you want to do this.


As has been said, the rules did exactly what you asked them to do, and if you didn't set a Max. CPC, or properly preview the rule to check the sort of changes that were likely to occur then neither Google nor the Automated Rule systems are to blame.  You may think that there should have been some kind of warning because the change was so great, but AdWords has no way of knowing that was a problem.  In some cases automation does create large change, and those changes are justified.


One key element of successful automation is understanding that these "dumb" machines need to have boundaries and "sense checks" programmed into them.  If you're creating Rules that change CPCs you should always include a maximum limit and run multiple previews to ensure the changes being made make sense.



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