Google Makes AdWords API Available

    January 27, 2005

So Google played dumb and we all went along with the official statement, that there would be “no comment” on rumors of a …

… Google AdWords API (definition). It now appears, sometimes, you can believe the rumors.

Google has just announced that they have indeed rolled out access to an AdWords API and as of this afternoon, you can request access. You can get the full details from Google, but here is a summary.

According to Google Software Engineer, Nelson Minar, the Google API will “enable advertisers and third-party providers to utilize their own software interface”. While the release of an AdWords API “does not bring any new functionality”, Minar says that everything that you could do with the AdWords control center, you can do with the API. While some had predicted that an API would allow better targeting of ads, the API will essentially allow the control of three aspects:

1. Campaign Management
2. Reporting
3. Traffic Estimation

Those of you who might be drooling at the thought of micro-managing each keyword and updating your bids each second, might be disappointed. Each API user will be issued a “token” which Minar says will be tagged with a predetermined quota, limiting how often you can access your AdWords data stream. For example, requesting the status of a single Ad Group would be considered one operation. Updating the individual bids on 1,000 keywords would equate to 1,000 operations. Each quota is individually set and is calculated based upon the size of your AdWords account. Agencies and search engine marketing companies should see their quota being more than enough for their needs. Minar explains the quota is needed “to prevent spam” and “over-use” of the API.

The good news is the quota system will allow Google to roll out an API without any fees. This is a crucial step, if Google is to see larger advertisers embrace the API and utilize their own PPC management systems.

Minar ultimately expects access to an AdWords API will give greater control to advertisers. With the API, advertisers will be able to pause campaigns, when products go out of stock, or make changes to account for seasonal fluctuations.

Examples of the types of programs that can be built with the AdWords API include:
– Generating automatic keyword, ad text, URL, and custom reports.
– Integrating AdWords data with other databases, such as inventory and financial management systems to automatically trigger ads to reduce excess inventory in case of product overstock.
– Developing additional tools and applications to help better manage AdWords accounts, such as building internal interfaces to view and manage account data.

The release of an AdWords API is very much welcomed among the SEM industry. With more than 1300 clients, I can tell you that it is something that can make our lives a whole lot easier, while at the same time, improving the benefits to our customers.

Visit the Google AdWords API Developer’s blog or forum.

Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world’s most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at