Best Practices

Video: Check out the best practices talk from the 2019 workshop

This guide covers some best practices you can implement to optimize the efficiency and performance of your apps.

Ongoing maintenance

To ensure that your app runs uninterrupted:

  • Keep your developer contact email in the API Center up to date. This is the alias we use to contact you. If we're unable to contact you regarding compliance with the API Terms and Conditions, your API access may be revoked without your prior knowledge. Avoid using a personal email address tied to an individual or unmonitored account.

  • To be informed of issues such as product changes, maintenance downtime, deprecation dates, and so on, subscribe to our

The forum is regularly monitored by the Google Ads API team, making it the ideal place to post API questions.

  • Keep your app compliant with the Google Ads API Terms and Conditions (T&C). If required, the token review and compliance team will reach out to you using your contact email. If you have questions or concerns about the T&C, you can reach out to the review team by responding to the email they sent you when reviewing your developer token application.


Batch operations

Making a request to the API entails a number of fixed costs, such as round-trip network latency, serialization and deserialization processing, and calls to back-end systems. To lessen the impact of these fixed costs and increase overall performance, most mutate methods in the API are designed to accept an array of operations. By batching multiple operations into each request, you can reduce the number of requests you make and the associated fixed costs. If you can, avoid making requests with only one operation.

For example, suppose you're adding 50,000 keywords to a campaign across multiple ad groups. Instead of making 50,000 requests with 1 keyword each, make 100 requests with 500 keywords each, or even 10 requests with 5,000 keywords each. There are limits on the number of operations allowed in a request, so you may need to adjust your batch size to achieve optimal performance.

Send sparse objects

When objects are sent to the API, fields must be deserialized, validated, and stored in the database. Passing in full objects when you only want to update a few fields can result in extra processing time and decreased performance. To mitigate this, the Google Ads API supports sparse updates, allowing you to populate only the fields in an object that you need to change or that are required. Sparse updates process faster and are less likely to produce errors. Fields that aren't in the update_mask (also known as FieldMask) are left unchanged.

For example, an app that updates keyword-level bids can benefit from using sparse updates, as only the ad group ID, criterion ID, and bids fields would need to be populated.

Error handling and management

During development, you're likely to encounter errors. This section describes considerations and strategies for building error management into your app. In addition to this section, visit the Troubleshooting guide for more information on managing errors.

Distinguish request sources

Some apps are primarily interactive, issuing API calls directly in response to user-initiated actions in a UI. Others work primarily offline, issuing API calls as part of a periodic back-end process. Many apps combine the two. When thinking about error management, it can be useful to distinguish these different types of requests.

For user-initiated requests, your primary concern should be providing a good experience for your users. Use the specific error that occurred to provide the user with as much context as you can in the UI. Offer easy steps they can take to resolve the error (check out the suggestions below).

For requests initiated on the back end, implement handlers for the different types of errors your app may encounter. Always include a default handler to address rare or previously unencountered errors. A good approach for a default handler is to add the failed operation and error to a queue for a human operator to review and determine an appropriate resolution.

Distinguish error types

Knowing the differences between error types in Google Ads API is crucial when building robust error handling. Some of the most common error types are:

  1. Authentication errors
  2. Retryable errors
  3. Validation errors
  4. Sync-related errors

Refer to Error Types and Common Errors for more details.

Sync back ends

If your app's users have manual access to Google Ads accounts, they may make changes that your app is not aware of, causing your app's local database to go out of sync. As noted in our Error Types guide, you can address sync-related errors reactively when they occur, but you can also try to prevent them proactively. One proactive strategy is to run a nightly sync job on all your accounts, retrieving the Google Ads objects in your accounts and comparing against your local database.

Log errors

All errors should be logged to facilitate debugging and monitoring. At a minimum, log the request ID, the operations that caused the error, and the error itself. Other information to log includes customer ID, API service, round-trip request latency, number of retries, and the raw request and response.

Be sure to monitor trends in API errors so that you can detect and address problems with your app. Consider building your own solution or employing one of many available commercial tools that can use your logs to produce interactive dashboards and send automated alerts.


Use test accounts

Test accounts are Google Ads accounts that do not actually serve ads. You can use a test account to experiment with the Google Ads API and test that your app's connectivity, campaign management logic, or other processing are working as expected. Your developer token does not need to be approved to be used on a test account, so you can start developing with the Google Ads API immediately after requesting a developer token, even before your app is reviewed.