Improving Large-Scale PPC Account Management with Feed-Based Automation

Paul Saffery - IT Director

Paul Saffery

22nd November 2018

Have you ever been faced with a large-scale Google Ads account containing thousands of ad groups, because the targeted website has thousands of landing pages that need to be marketed?

Some of these landing pages can result in wasted spend for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Out of stock products
  • Non-competitive prices
  • Out of season products
  • Search listings showing zero items

In some cases, where pages no longer exist, ads may be disapproved, and your ads simply won’t show for those keywords.

At SilverDisc we have clients who have suffered similar issues when managing their Google Ads accounts. Keeping on top of all the changes happening to pages and products on a given website is an extremely challenging task, and at SilverDisc we have developed unique technology to address this. We now successfully apply our approach to a selection of clients, with feeds exceeding as many as 40,000 products.

In this blog I will talk you through our feed-based solution, its requirements and how it could benefit the management of your PPC accounts.



Website-Based Feed

The first thing SilverDisc needs is a feed from the client, that represents the current landing page content. This could be location, price, stock level and more.

These feeds need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be permanently available to SilverDisc for as long as the feed automation tool is required
  • Retain a consistent format over time
  • Updated as often as the Google Ads campaign/ad group statuses need to be updated

Unsure how to produce a feed? Speak to our technical team and we may be able to help you.


Google Ads Account Access

Our system generates a file that is used to automatically update the status of each ad group or campaign in the account.

In order to apply the changes, SilverDisc need Standard level access to the client’s Google Ads account, with enough permissions to apply these bulk uploads. No further changes are made in the account, we purely need access to set up the feed automation tool using Google Ads’ scripts and bulk upload feature.


Custom Mapping Between Feed and Google Ads Account

The Google Ads account and the feed need to be structured in such a way that there is a generic rule (or set of rules) between them. This allows us to map your feed to the ad groups or campaigns whose status needs to be changed. Common themes could be:

  • Feed product SKU to match the name of a given ad group in Google Ads
  • Feed location name to match the name of a given campaign in Google Ads


Types of Mapping

If there are elements in the feed that do not map to campaigns or ad groups, then these parts of the PPC account will remain unaffected by any potential changes in the account.

If multiple feed elements match to a given ad group or campaign. For example, the ad group products may need to be in stock as well as available in London stores. When this occurs, the algorithm will determine a suitable output based on the logic rules for each feed element before applying the suitable change to a given campaign or ad group.

If a feed element matches to multiple campaigns or ad groups, then all their statuses will change as a result. For example, if the feed element is “London”, and there are multiple campaigns containing London in the name, they can all be paused or activated in unison.


Feed Input Format

We have the technology to interpret (or parse) any popular text format - CSV, TSV, JSON, XML - as long as it is consistent and adheres to the respective standards. The client must specify the character encoding, for example UTF-8.

While interpreting the feed, our automation tool will attempt to map each feed element to a given campaign or ad group, in order for a status change to occur.


Feed Process

This is the logic or algorithm that will determine whether the ad groups or campaigns mapped from the feed elements will be activated or paused. The process used by our algorithm is as follows:

  • The client’s feed is interpreted
  • The relevant information has been extracted
  • The mapped account elements have been found
  • The system applies the custom logic

Here are some examples that may help clarify this:

Example 1 - Only promote items that are in stock

Imagine each feed element is mapped to a product ID contained in an ad group name, and the feed indicates which products are in stock. One approach may be to automate the process of pausing ad groups when its products are out of stock on the website and reactivating the ad groups when the product is back in stock.

Example 2 - Only advertise locations where there are suppliers

Image each feed element is mapped to a location referenced in a campaign name, and the feed indicates the number of suppliers for a given location. One approach may be to automate the process of enabling PPC campaigns when a certain number of suppliers are available in a given location and pausing them when the supplier count falls below a set threshold.

Example 3 - Only promote products that are about to go out of season

Imagine each feed element is mapped to a product page, and the feed indicates if a product is about to go out of season. The client wants to sell the remaining stock. One possible logic might be to activate ad groups for these products, otherwise pause the ad group.

There are various approaches that can be used depending on the client’s business, the feed and the PPC account. We are more than happy to discuss your requirements and work towards a feed automation solution for your accounts.


Feed Output & Automation

The output from the feed tool is a spreadsheet file in CSV format, containing:

  • Campaign or Ad Group names
  • Campaign or Ad Group ID
  • Status Change (Enabled/Paused)

This can be uploaded into Google Ads via the Bulk Uploads feature, and the use of Scripts in Google Ads can also automate the upload process for regular automated changes to the account.

In terms of frequency, the SilverDisc tool can be run as often as the client updates their feed made available to SilverDisc.  The highest frequency we can handle is hourly,  subject to the bulk task size and compliance with other limits imposed by Google.

To find out how our technological solutions and digital marketing experts can help to improve your PPC account management, call us on 015316 316100 or contact us online today.

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