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Set High-Cost Converting Keywords to Pause Automatically

This is part of our "5x5" series, in which we share five tips per week over the course of five weeks. We will share must-have tips about AdWords Editor, account optimization, ad-writing best practices, and much more. Make sure to explore the full series.

If you haven’t got the time to dive into the world of scripts but would still like to make the optimization side of your work a little easier, then today’s tip is for you! One of the first things I’ll do when carrying out an account audit is to sort the keyword data by total cost to quickly identify where money is being wasted on high-cost converting keywords. It’s also possible to let these keywords slip under the radar if we constantly look at recent statistics; it’s only when we look over the last year that we might get a nasty shock at how costs have accumulated for certain keywords without bringing in a good number of conversions.


Thankfully, it’s really quick and straightforward to set up a rule in AdWords to prevent these nasty surprises! Simply navigate to the Keywords tab, click on the Automate drop-down menu and then select Pause keywords when… In the requirements section you will now need to select Cost / conv. found in the Conversions section of the first drop-down. The next step is to use > in the second drop-down followed by a value which you feel is too much to pay for a conversion.


+Add another and this time select Conversions from the same section along with >= and a value which you feel is a good minimum number of conversions to receive before applying the automated pause. All that is left to do is make sure that the frequency is set to Daily, select a time that you want the rule to run and then choose a time window for the data to be analyzed within. Eventually you should have something that looks like the picture below; then it’s just a case of giving the rule a name and hitting Save!


Every account and industry is different so my values are purely examples in this case, you’ll need to work out what works best for your own goals. Also, please remember to look out for those high cost, low-converting keywords which might not even qualify for the second part of the automated rule.


Set high-cost converting keywords to pause automatically today, so you don’t have to suffer in the future!


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about Scott Dunroe

I have been managing AdWords accounts for over 8 years now at an international marketing agency level and also as a freelancer. I am very passionate about Google's PPC platform and pretty much anything else that is Google related. My theory in life is to learn something new every day and this community is definitely a good place to do so; I would recommend anyone reading this to stick around as it's an excellent source of information with great people contributing to it.

Luan R
May 2016

Hello Scott

I believe this is not a good idea to implement, because a high cost converting keyword can reduce its CPA by taking action instead of deactivating it, most of the times. By automating this, a lot of opportunities are lost.

I believe that ROI and CPA aren't good KPIs to use in order to understand which keywords must be deactivated. Makes more sense to me to use KPIs based on statistical data like conversion rate in the first place. In a lot of cases you can reduce in half a CPA by bidding half its original CPC, for example.

If you get a bad CR plus too expensive CPA and you already have taken action with the bid, QS, ads, CTR and more, then I believe it's okay to deactivate that keyword.


Hope a different perspective is useful Smiley Happy


Take care