Together with one of our Account Executives, we initiated a trial to find the most responsible and time-saving approach to scheduling promotions for one of our Clients.
Our Client is very active in regards to using discount coupons and running weekly promotions. The promotions start on Sundays and usually run for 7 days. This created a challenge for the Account Executive as she literally got up early on Sundays to activate the new ads and deactivate the ads with the old promotions.
I definitely want to give her an A for effort, but we were confident that we could find a better solution that didn’t include her getting up early or staying up at all hours of the night.
A combination of proper usage of Automatic Rules and AdWords Labels proved to be the best way to schedule the promotions.
Automatic Rules and AdWords Labels to the Rescue!
By first labeling ads that need to get activated, and then using Automatic Rules to specify when to activate and deactivate those ads, we found a fail-safe method to scheduling our Client’s promotions.
Besides not being forced to get up so early as an advertiser, this approach has other definite advantages!
Avoid human errors, unscheduled absences, and calendar errors by using labels with Automatic Rules.
There are several scenarios where the activation of ad promotions could be delayed. The most worrying scenario would be if the Account Executive’s Internet connection at home was down, or if they were experiencing other technical difficulties.
Waiting until the last minute to activate ads is always dangerous as you are relying 100% on your technology to work properly. If something goes awry, you may not then be able to perform the change!
Google is also known for scheduling maintenance updates of the AdWords interface on the weekend in order to spare as many advertisers as many headaches as possible. If the scheduled maintenance update was overlooked by you however, the promotions might keep running 4-6 hours too long. For an account accruing thousands of clicks per day, this might easily be causing a direct loss in sales.
Other factors, such as calendar reminders malfunctioning, unscheduled absences, forgetfulness (it happens to the best of us) and hardware malfunctioning, can all cause problems in your AdWords access.
Step 1) Creating your ads
The first thing you need to do is create the ads that you want to use. In this case, we needed to include the same coupon code in all the ads.
For this specific Client, we tried including the coupon, pricing, savings and general text content within the ads, but in this case using the actual coupon code along with the promotional value (20% Off, Save $50) proved to be the highest converting ad copy
After creating your ads (preferably in AdWords Editor), remember to pause them all before uploading them.
Step 2) Label your ads
When you have the ads ready, it’s time to label them. We found there were many different ways you can label your ads, but we found that the very best way was to use the coupon code and date range for the promotion in question.
This made it very easy to always identify if all the appropriate ads were active in the correct date range.
Quick Tip: If you use the same coupon code, landing page, wording or other similarities within your ads, you can quickly find all the ads that need the same label via the filter feature.
In our case, since we used the same coupon code in all the ads we needed to schedule, we could simply create a filter for all ads containing the xyz2012 coupon code. This would generate a list of all the ads that needed the same label.
I have assigned the label: 8/5 – 8/11: XYZ2012 to the ads that need to run within that date range.
After this step, I find all the ads in my campaign that need to be paused at the same time when the new ads need to be enabled. Because my promotions are account-wide, I simply create a filter for all enabled ads, and assign the following label for these ads: 7/29 – 8/4: XYZCoupon.
Step 3) Choose the ads with the appropriate label and set the starting date
After you have created and labeled your ads with the appropriate labels, it’s now time to set up your Automatic Rule so the ad gets activated at the exact scheduled time.
We have three things we need to make sure everything runs smoothly:
a) The old ad promotions should be paused
b) The new ad promotions should be enabled
c) The new ad promotions should be paused again, at a certain date
Start by accessing the campaign that contains the ads you want to schedule.
a) Click on Automate and then Pause Ads when…
You choose the old labels and set the date for when they need to be paused (Tip: Set the old ads to pause an hour after you activate the new ads).
Always click Preview in order to see a preview of what ads will be affected by the rule that you’re setting up.
b) Click on Automate and then Enable Ads when …
You choose the new labels, and set the date for when they need to be activated.
c) Carry out the same procedure as in a), but with the new labels.
Have Backup Ads Ready
Once you have run your promotion, you should either re-activate your old ads that we paused in step a), or you should have new ads ready that can be quickly activated.
It’s important that you don’t skip out on this step as your account might be disabled because you’re pausing all active ads.