Ryan Boudreaux explains how to gain access to the Google AdWords API and where to get resources for implementing the program on your website.
Have you ever wanted to access or insert Google AdWords to your websites, but did not know how or where to start? Google AdWords is a part of Google Advertise, which is part of the Technologies and Tools products available among the Google Developers tools, and is also known as Google Advertising APIs. The three main works of Google Advertising APIs are to automate, customize, and scale management of Google AdWords and DoubleClick accounts with ads developer tools. With Google Advertising API's you can create and manage Google AdWords, create and organize campaigns with DoubleClick for Advertisers API, and DoubleClick Ad Exchange Buy-Side APIs. This article will present a brief overview of the Google AdWords API portion of the Google Advertising APIs suite.
The Google AdWords product is probably the most popular among web designers, and has two parts that allow you to drive revenue and give your organization automated and relevant advertising campaigns. The first part is the AdWords API, and the second is the AdWords Scripts.
According to Google, the AdWords API lets developers build applications that interact directly with the AdWords platform, and with these applications, advertisers and third parties can more efficiently and creatively manage their large or complex AdWords accounts and campaigns. You can develop Google AdWords in just about any language, the AdWords API SOAP interface is supported by many popular programming languages, including Java, PHP, Python, .NET, Perl, and Ruby.
First you have to register for access to the Google AdWords API, and then be granted access before you can start using it. The steps to signing up for the AdWords API are described below.
Steps to signing up for the AdWords API
- Select a suitable MCC account. You will need a My Client Center (MCC) account to apply for access to the AdWords API. The MCC is a powerful tool for handling multiple AdWords accounts; think of MCC as an "umbrella" account with several AdWords accounts ("managed accounts") linked to it. The MCC is especially helpful for large advertisers with more than one account, and third-party agencies such as Search Engine Marketers (SEMs), Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs), and Automated Bid Managers (ABMs).
- Once your MCC account is set up, you log into the account and navigate to My Account -> AdWords API Center, and then follow the instructions to apply for AdWords API access. Two important things to consider before you make your application:
- Make sure your information is correct and your company's website URL is functioning. If the website is not a live page, Google will not be able to process your application.
- Google strongly encourages you to keep the information up to date even beyond the application process to allow them to send you important service announcements.
- Set up billing and accept the terms and conditions from the MCC account by going to Billing -> Billing Summary where you will enter credit card information. Then you will be prompted to accept the AdWords API Terms and Conditions, which must be accepted in order to process your API request. The approval process can take up to 6-weeks, and in the meantime you can start testing out the API from the Test Accounts area.
- Once your application for the AdWords API has been approved you will be assigned a Developer Token available through your AdWords API Center, which is accessible through the My Account menu for the MCC account you applied for in step one. You will be able to access the API by including it within your request headers, which includes an authToken identifying either an MCC manager acting on behalf of a client, or an advertiser directly managing its own account, and a developerToken, which is a 22-character string that uniquely identifies an AdWords API developer. Several reasons why your AdWords API may not be approved: (1) your application uses third-party tools and you don't have the developer's token, (2) your application may violate the provisions of the AdWords API Terms and Conditions, (3) your application does not implement the required elements of the Required Minimum Functionality (RMF) (if applicable).
Google AdWords Resources
There are several additional resources available for getting started with Google AdWords; the list below should get you on your way to adding AdWords to your websites.
- Client Libraries - Provide a high-level view of the Google AdWords API functionality, making it easier to quickly develop applications. To help you get started writing AdWords API applications, working code examples and installation instructions are bundled with each client library. Among the selections within the library are New Java Client Library, DotNet Client Library, and PHP Client Library.
- Google AdWords Getting Started Tutorial - This step-by-step tutorial walks you through making your first request to connect to the CampaignService and add a new campaign using Java and Python in the demonstration.
- AdWords API Announcements - This is a group you can join to receive important updates and delivers the latest news about the Google AdWords API, it averages 3 to 5 postings per month.
- Google AdWords API Blog - This is the primary channel of communication regarding changes and updates to the AdWords API, recent posts included "Upgrading AdWords campaigns to Flexible reach", and "Changes in AdWords Reports".
- Troubleshooting Common AdWords Errors - This page lists tips for handling and preventing the most frequently encountered errors returned by the AdWords API.
- AdWords System Limits - This page lists various limits in the AdWords API along with the corresponding error that is thrown when the limit is exceeded.
- AdWords Template Ads - Lists the Display Ad Builder templates you can use to create ads using AdGroupAdService and the TemplateAd data type. Each of the template listings provides the template's ID, available dimensions, required template elements, and each element's required fields.
This brief overview of the Google AdWords API provides you a starting point and additional resources for setting up your account, testing your AdWords API, and developing ads that will get your website and organization on the road to automated and relevant online advertising campaigns.