Babysitting New Adwords Accounts with Automated Rules

You’ve finally finished all of the account creation tasks for your brand new Adwords account: a carefully crafted account structure, meticulous keyword planning and well researched product or service-specific landing pages. Finally it’s launch day and the real work of nurturing the account like a loving grandparent can begin. Does the babysitting analogy make sense now?

At this stage it’s vital that you stay on top of a host of early stage optimization activities to make sure you get the best start possible. There are a lot of variables to your success: whether or not the brand has been advertised via Adwords before, the competitiveness of the industry and the possibility that you may require a special offline certification to advertise at all.

For the most part you have no control over these variables. So what is most important is to keep track of all major account developments and prioritise your attention in the right areas to maximise chances of early account success. In this post I provide my recommended set of automated rules to make this job easier.

Where to find them

Automated rules need to be created from within the Adwords interface itself, Adwords Editor does not offer support for creating or managing them. Once created using the instructions in this post, you can manage existing rules from within Campaigns > Bulk Operations > Automated rules in the left had side drop-down menu.

Keywords Rules

I routinely set up the following two keyword rules to notify me via email of disapproved keywords and those below the first page bid. Adwords does automatically send you email notifications for disapproved keywords if your email address is set up to receive alerts for the account. However, I find these notoriously unreliable especially in shared access situations such as MCC’s, and would much rather spend 30 seconds setting up my own version to have peace of mind.

Disapproved Keywords
  • Step 1: From within the Keywords tab click the first checkbox at the top left. This will select all keywords on the current page. Click on Select all rows across all pages if this option is displayed, to ensure you are applying the rule to all keywords within your account.

  • Step 2: Click on the Automate drop-down menu then choose Send email when.

  • Step 3: From the requirements drop-down menu choose Status and uncheck all boxes except forNot Triggering ads: critical issues

  • Step 4: Choose a frequency – I recommend daily first thing in the morning, for example 6am, giving you adequate time to address any issues right at the beginning of the day (before customers start clicking). Choose the using data from same day option.

  • Step 5: Give the rule an easily identifiable name such as “[Account name] – Disapproved Keywords” so you can see right from the subject line exactly what you are being notified of.

You should also preview the rule to find out if any keywords are currently effected by a disapproval status and require your immediate attention.

Keywords Below First Page Bid

To set up this alert simply repeat the process above until Step 3.

At this point choose only the eligible limited option and click the down arrow next to the check box. Uncheck both Low quality score and Low search volume so the only option selected is Below first page bid.

Set the frequency to weekly for this rule and using data from the same day, so you have the very latest results each time. This number shouldn’t vary much from day to day so a weekly schedule is sufficient.

Before naming this rule I recommend previewing it to get the number of keywords currently matching this status. You can then include this in your rule title as a benchmark along with the start date, for example: “[Account name] – Kws Below 1st Page (10 @ 25/11/13)”.

This is a good rule to monitor over time to give you a broad indication of your success and the level of online competition in your target industry. For larger accounts having 10 keywords below the first page bid won’t be a big deal, however for smaller accounts you will want to jump in and see if it is viable to raise your bids, especially for keywords that have recently been converting for you.

Ad Rules

I use the following rule to keep track of disapproved ads within my new accounts. Being notified of these regularly also has an ongoing value as you add or update ads within your account over time.

Disapproved Ads
  • Step 1: Within the Ads tab check the box to select all ads and if the option is displayed also click onSelect all rows across all pages. Then choose Automate > Send email when from the drop-down menu

  • Step 2: Choose Approval Status then untick all options except for Disapproved.

  • Step 3: Set the frequency to daily and first thing in the morning once again. Select using data from same day option then give the rule an easily identifiable name

I recommend previewing this rule to see if any ads match the criteria and need your immediate attention.

Ad Group Rules

The third and final pillar in our account babysitting arsenal is keeping track of ad groups with low click through rates. Knowing your worst performers early on allows you to pause or change ads within the ad group, pause keywords or isolate them into new ad groups with more targeted ads, etc.

Ad Groups with a Low CTR

This rule will notify you when the click through rate for ad groups drops below a certain threshold during a specified time period.

  • Step 1: Within the ad groups tab check the box to select all ad groups and if the option is displayed check Select all rows across all pages. Then choose Automate > Send email when from the drop-down menu

  • Step 2: Choose CTR from the drop-down menu and change the symbol to “less than”. Enter a value of 0.5.

  • Step 3: Hit the preview button and see if this will give you a workable number of ad groups to investigate further. If you return more than say 20 results enter a lower threshold such as 0.4 and then preview once again.

  • Step 4: Set the schedule to weekly and choose using data from last seven days.

  • Step 5: Give your new rule an easily identifiable name and save it.

For the purpose of this rule 0.5% is an effective number to work with, as any ad groups below this threshold will benefit from some targeted optimization. Of course for longer running accounts where your optimization efforts are particularly successfully, you could also raise this threshold to 0.6%, etc.


These are my favourite rules to use when setting up a new account to make sure I know if anything hasn’t been approved, where I stand in terms of bids compared to my competitors and ad groups that need to be changed or paused. Let me know in the comments section below if you use any others to monitor early account success!