Google AdWords API – Do More With Less

By Chris Wilson | Sep 15, 2010
More Articles by Chris


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The beauty of the Spork is that it serves 2 purposes thus you can do 2 things at once (doing more with less).  Google has created the same functionality in AdWords.

Most of you should have an understanding of AdWords which is Google’s Cash Cow.  As you quickly learn, Google is a business.  Though you may think their main focus is to make your life easier, they must generate a profit to stay in business.  I’ve always found it fascinating to look at new internet applications/tools and try to figure out the revenue stream.  This brings us to the AdWords API.  An API is simply a tool that is built for others to use to interface with a piece of software.  So in this case, Google has created an ability for end users and developers to work with AdWords.

The Google AdWords API has two main benefits.  First, it provides the ability to create several thousand ads in a matter of seconds with little to no user input.  Let’s say you have a file that consists of 10,000 ads that you need to create alongside a few hundred keywords.  Not only do you need to get all these ads turned on as quickly as possible but you also need to repeat the process each week.  Well, in comes the AdWords API.

The second benefit is reporting.  A week ago, the reporting feature left Beta If you’re interested in making your own custom reports and implementing them into your current process then the AdWords API can do it.  I’m a big fan of process integration and efficiency so if you can remove human touch from a method then I’m all for it.  You’re time is better spent elsewhere.  Since time is money, the AdWords API reports feature can save you a lot of dough.

google-adwords-logo

Though the API can make everything easier and faster, you’ll need to have some computer programming background (or know someone who has).  From my experience with the AdWords API, it’s extremely powerful but navigating through it can be quite difficult at times.  One of the users I’ve met in the forums commented on his experiences with the AdWords API.   He said, “If you aren’t confused, you aren’t paying attention.”  That sums it up pretty well.

The AdWords API Forum is your main support line to other users as well as Google employees.  Both have been extremely helpful.  The Google API Advisors are spot on with their answers and typically respond within 24 hours to questions.

So now I hope you’ve thought, “Well, what’s in this for Google?”.  The obvious benefit is since users are able to build ads quicker and faster, Google can increase ad revenue.  That’s not all though.  Not only does Google make money off the front-end (all the viewers of the ads) but it also makes money on the back-end (all the developers).  Each time you use the AdWords API, you must pay a certain amount of money per request.  The amounts vary quite a bit but they can add up quickly.  The two ways to save money is to use Bulk Updating and/or apply for Preferred AdWords API Pricing (you’ll need to be a Google AdWords Certified Partner, like us).

If you decide to try it out.  You’ll first need to apply for a developer token which you’ll use for access to the API.  Once approved you can jump into the AdWords API Developer Site and start building away.  Happy programming!

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  • http://www.vancouverpayperclick.com Steve

    Hey Chris,

    I client of mine has shown interest in using the Adwords API to integrate with their inventory system. They would like for ads to automatically turn on and off based on inventory levels. If you had one developer on it, how long would it take to get up and running using the API? What would it cost? Can you recommend any 3rd party developers?

    Cheers

  • http://www.search-mojo.com Chris Wilson

    Hi Steve,

    That’s a perfect use for the API! I’d probably give yourself a couple weeks. I’ve used the PHP library though I’ll be switching it to Ruby in the future potentially. It’s pretty straightforward once you get the main connection string down. The biggest hurdles you’ll have are catching all the potential timeouts you get with the server. I’d budget yourself a couple days to orient yourself with the API and then a week or two to program depending on your experience with the programming language you choose.

    If it’s just a matter of pausing and enabling ads then it won’t be bad. If the structure is already there and you won’t have to create anything new then it’ll be a breeze. If you’re creating as well as pausing/enabling then I’d give myself a couple more days.

    I wish I had a good 3rd party developer to recommend. However, I’d bet you could find one here that would be more than willing: http://groups.google.com/group/adwords-api. Let me know if I can help along the way. I can shoot you my email if you’d prefer.

    Thanks for the comment!