Ever wondered how adCore, Kenshoo, or Marin Software, are able to generate reports, optimization campaigns, and build ads automatically? Ever wondered how to automatically update your ads with changing prices, quantity, or discount percentage? The answer is the Google AdWords API.

API stands for: Application Programming Interface. When a service like AdWords, opens their API to the public, other services can access and change all of the information within the AdWords system that they have permission to access and change. A service that has access to the Google AdWords API is known as AdWords software; for example, adCore is AdWords software. That means that the software service must have 1) API access to AdWords, and 2) user permission to change any information in your AdWords account.

The AdWords API has hidden features that are not available in the regular AdWords interface and require a software service that has access to the AdWords API. The most significant feature is the ability to update up-to two numeric fields in your ad copy, without affecting an ad’s history. That means that you can inject your current inventory data, like price or quantity in-stock, into your ads. When these numeric fields change on your backend, the ads will reflect this change. When you visit the Google AdWords interface, you won’t see the actual numbers, you will only see {Param1:(default)} or {Param2:(default)}.

Usage of the AdWords API costs money for most vendors. The cost is $0.25 per 1000 API units; an API unit is any action request to the AdWords API. Some software vendors can get access to the AdWords API for free. If you are looking to create your own software connection, expect to pay money; most mature software services include the API costs into the software. It is possible to get free access to the AdWords API.

For the most part, the AdWords API gives you automated access to the same data that you can see within your regular AdWords account. Your software vendor adds value by being able to aggregate the big data in your AdWords account, and run automated tasks on them. In theory any person can mimic the results that a software service provides, given that they have all of the time and manpower necessary to duplicate a piece of software. It is unlikely that even a large team of people can manage updates in inventory for thousands of products, or bids on millions of keywords, and that is why many of the largest eCommerce businesses use AdWords software.

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