Automation Photo

TLDR: Pulling advertising numbers is time-consuming and confusing. To help a client, I created a shared spreadsheet that automatically updates every hour with the lifetime figures for each of their Google campaigns.

Here at Beekeeper Group, we help a lot of clients with online advertising. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter make it incredibly easy and inexpensive for organizations to reach their advocates, be it a broad national audience or a core set of local influencers.

However, as with any professional effort, presentation is key. Metrics – impressions, clicks, CPC, and more – need to be transmitted from the lower ranks to the board room, often with little notice. Reporting is time-consuming, repetitive, and frequently confusing.

As someone who works with organizations to make sense of this information, I wanted to help streamline the process. The task’s menial nature makes it a perfect candidate for automation. Conveniently, Google has Google AdWords Scripts, an interface that uses JavaScript (the main programming language of the internet) to extract data from your AdWords campaigns.

There are lots of pre-written report scripts that you can find online, but for the sake of customization (and fun!), I decided to write my own. After linking the code to a Google Sheet, I was able to provide a client with access to a simple, easy-to-read spreadsheet report containing lifetime figures for the most frequently tracked statistics. (Full source available here.)

Google even allows you to schedule how often your scripts run, up to once an hour, meaning that the report sheet continuously updates with the most recent data, giving the client a near real-time look at their ad campaigns’ performance. When they need to report campaign numbers to stakeholders, all they have to do is go to the sheet and copy the preformatted info.

Of course, automated reporting is nice, but it means little without an effective campaign strategy. For that, there’s no substitute for eye-catching creative, informed messaging, and a well-defined goal.