Automated Alerts – Robotic Guardian Angels of PPC

robot-guardian-angelIt’s a good feeling to know someone has your back; that someone is looking out for you. When managing PPC campaigns, we could all use someone who is watching out for us just in case something goes awry in a campaign.

The automated alert functions within Google AdWords and Google Analytics are extremely helpful and they may be as close as we’ll get to guardian angels for PPC managers. These tools can be utilized to alert you if a keyword, ad group or campaign sees a dramatic performance fluctuation. This way, for example, if your CPA skyrockets on a specific day, you will be notified – and you can take fast corrective action!

How to Set up Alerts in Google AdWords

Setting up automated alerts within Google AdWords is fast and easy. Alerts can be set up at practically every level of an account: keyword, ad text, ad group, and campaign. You can find the alert function on each screen within AdWords:


Alerts can be established for just about any metric for each level of an account. The purpose of an alert is to indicate a change in performance. Alerts can be set to trigger when performance above or below a specific metric. For example, if my CPA inflates over $25, send me an alert. Alerts can be set up to trigger at a percentage of change as well. For example, if my CPC increases by 25 percent from the previous day, send me an alert.

The frequency of these alerts is flexible as well. You can monitor specific metrics on a daily or weekly basis, or continually throughout the day (every couple of hours). Alert frequency should be dictated by the amount of traffic for a specific campaign. For example, low-volume campaigns can probably be monitored on a daily or weekly basis. High velocity campaigns may require daily checks or even every couple of hours.

For example, this automated alert will notify us if any ad group has a CPA that increases by 25 percent from the previous day:


And this alert will notify us if any keyword has a CPA over $50:


How to Set up Alerts in Google Analytics

Alerts function similarly in Google Analytics. Their purpose is to alert you if there are any changes within your PPC campaigns. One of reason Google Analytics goes above and beyond AdWords is that you can set up alerts for AdWords as well as any other paid channel including adCenter, Facebook, and Display.

The process for setting up alerts is different from AdWords, so here’s a quick tutorial. To access the alert function, you’ll need to click on the Admin section of your Google Analytics account.


From this screen you’ll need to choose the “Custom Alerts” option.


After you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to get your hands dirty and set up some alerts. In the example below, we will be alerted if our PPC revenue drops by more than 20 percent from the previous day. In this example, the alert would include all of PPC channels combined:


You can establish Google Analytics alerts to monitor any metric within your account so the possibilities are almost endless on how these can be utilized.


Once you have alerts established then you can breathe a bit easier knowing that if something dramatically shifts in a campaign, someone has your back. Even if that someone is only a cold, lifeless robot that sends you emails – it can give you a warm, fuzzy feeling just knowing someone (or something) is looking out for you.

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