Sign up for our daily recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Automate Alpha Beta Campaign Structure Using AdWords Scripts
While popular, an Alpha Beta campaign structure can be cumbersome to maintain — so columnist Russell Savage created AdWords scripts to help make this campaign management style more efficient and less labor-intensive.
I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles about the Alpha Beta Campaign Structure and how it can improve the overall performance of your account. In fact, in a recent AMA with Optmyzr founder and ex-Googler Fredrick Vallaeys on Reddit, he had nothing but good things to say about this approach for campaign management.
I’ve also read that many people believe that maintaining a structure like this is labor-intensive and prone to errors if you aren’t careful. That sounds like a perfect recipe for AdWords Scripts. When I did a few searches on the topic, I saw a few articles mention AdWords Scripts for solving those issues, but I couldn’t find any actual code to use. Maybe it’s out there somewhere, but in the meantime, I figured I’d write my own.
Alpha Beta Campaign Structure
This idea for Alpha Beta campaigns was originally proposed by David Rodnitzky of 3Q Digital. The basic idea is that you to have a set of “beta” campaigns leveraging broad match to find new keywords, and a set of corresponding “alpha” campaigns containing exact match keywords with a proven performance record. I’m not going to describe the technique in full here, but you can read all about it in their guide.
There are a few things that scripts can help with if you decide to maintain this type of campaign structure. First, you can automate pulling the winners and losers from your beta campaigns based on a set of criteria. There are a few scripts out there that do something similar to this already, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.
From that list, you can easily automate adding the losers as negatives to our beta campaigns. You can also create a script to automatically apply the winners in the alpha campaigns as negatives to the beta campaigns.
As for the winners, it is a little harder to automate, so we won’t be covering that here. With proper naming conventions, moving those keywords into their own ad group and adding a set of default ads shouldn’t be too hard. But with all the collection and negative adding taken care of, you should be able to spend more of your time optimizing the winners.
Sounds like we have a lot of work ahead of us, so let’s get started.
Finding Winners, Losers and Not Enough Data
Let’s start with a script to pull the search query report and slice the results into three categories: Winners, Losers, and Not Enough Data. At the top of the script, we will need to define a few settings which should be pretty self-explanatory.
The critical part is determining the winning and losing criteria. As you can see, these consist of a list of clauses that will filter the results of the search query report so that only the keywords that match those criteria are left. You can use almost any column from the search query report and any operator from the AWQL. The other important thing is to make sure that the columns you use in your criteria are in the columns for the search query report.
Eliminating The Poor Performers
I recommend running the script above for a little while to make sure you have your criteria set up correctly. Once you’re satisfied with the results, you can easily automate the task of eliminating poor performers from the Beta campaigns.
The following code builds upon what you have already and will automatically add the poor performers as exact match negatives to the corresponding Beta campaign. Just replace the main() function in the previous script and add this additional code.
Protecting Your Alpha Queries
The last aspect of the Alpha Beta Campaign structure we can automate is making sure your Alpha campaigns are protected. We don’t want those exact match Alpha keywords you worked so hard on optimizing showing up in any of our Beta campaigns.
This script can run independently of our previous script. It will go through all of your Alpha Campaigns and automatically add any new keywords it finds as exact match negatives to the corresponding Beta campaign. You can schedule this script to run hourly on your account, so that your Alpha and Beta campaigns will never be out of sync.
Wrapping Things Up
So once you have these scripts up and running in your Alpha Beta accounts, all that’s left for you to do is focus on making sure your Alpha campaigns are the best they can be. The reporting and negatives should be taken care of.
Of course, you should always pay careful attention to what your scripts are doing and audit them on a regular basis to make sure things are still working correctly. Anything that makes changes to your account should be previewed many times before you run it on a regular basis. It might even be a good idea to separate these into three scripts, so you can run and test them as needed.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.