Almost two years have passed since their launch, and it’s surprising how little attention AdWords Scripts have garnered given the possibilities they open up in an account. If you are not familiar with AdWords Scripts, they allow you to automate manual tasks, generate custom reports, or more interestingly, perform custom analyses. Scripts also allow you to act on external data sources to do neat things like bidding by weather. The scripts themselves are simple JavaScript programs that anyone with a working knowledge of JavaScript can start to tinker with. If you don’t have any experience with JavaScript, there are a number of pre-built scripts you can get your hands on (including the free one at the bottom of this post).

Every week it feels like there is a new tool or service to automate AdWords account management. Our belief is that AdWords is too dynamic, and each advertiser is too unique to support heavy account automation. In many cases, the logic used by auto-optimization tools in the market is not flexible enough to adapt to the countless idiosyncrasies and unpredictability of the AdWords auction. AdWords Scripts are a great tool because they provide almost limitless flexibility. The approach we favor is to use AdWords Scripts to make data easier to act upon. Tools are ultimately blind, and AdWords Scripts can make account management more efficient by amplifying your insight instead of replacing it.

First & Top of Page Bid Gap Script

Any account management routine will include some regular tasks. One straightforward operation we use AdWords Scripts for is examining first page and top of page bid gaps. Showing on the first page for a subset of your keyword list is usually possible with bid increases of only a few cents, so understanding which keywords are on the cusp of the first page is helpful. By bumping converting keywords to the first page, we can receive higher traffic on those keywords at comparable CPCs.

Similarly, it may be possible to show at the top of the search results page for some keywords with only a small bid increase. Ads showing at the top of a search results page see an average CTR of 7% compared to 2% on the right rail. So by bidding to the top of page, you may be able to more than triple your traffic for a given keyword with little change in average CPC.

We have written a script that will examine your account to see which keywords are showing either below the first page or top of page. It will then calculate the difference between the current bid and first/top of page bids and return that information along with other keyword-level stats in a Google spreadsheet.

The script will also generate bar graphs showing the distribution of keywords by first page and top of page bid gaps along with conversion metrics. Summary statistics are placed on first tab of the output, and keyword level stats can be found on the second tab. You can easily review this data and apply the changes to your account using AdWords Editor.

Get started with the First & Top of Page Bid Gap Script for free here.

One General Caveat: This particular script does not apply changes to the account, but if you do use scripts to automatically apply changes, be careful. You need to think ahead to ensure that you are not making changes that compound over time and hurt your account. For instance, if you are adjusting keyword bids based on some combination of historical data, you will want to put a floor and ceiling on bid changes and/or limit how often the script runs. Otherwise you may accumulate massive bid changes over time or see drastic swings each time the script runs.