Google Ads Developer Starter Checklist

This checklist will take you through the process to get started with the Google Ads API. The steps are divided into several categories, some of which you might decide to skip if they aren't applicable to your needs. To get the most from this document, read and execute steps in order.

The list contains three types of items:

Todo: Steps that are required in order to perform a certain task or set up a certain part of your tool.

If you're printing the checklist, you can use the checkboxes on the left to mark which steps are completed. This checklist provides a recommended reading order for the information found in the Google Ads API docs.

Access and setup

Obtain your developer token from the API Center of your top-level manager account. All fields on the API Access form must be completed, and the Terms and Conditions accepted. Make sure the API contact email you provide leads to a regularly monitored inbox. You will be issued a developer token with the test account access level.

To get your token approved for production access, you'll need to fill out our follow-up application form and explain how you intend to use the API.

You'll also need to provide a design document. You can use our template to get started. Provide as much detail as you can.

Our token review team will contact you if they need more information, but you can also reach out through our contact form if there is no feedback within 2 business days.

Set up a client library

We use OAuth 2.0 for authenticating your requests against the API. Follow the instructions in our OAuth 2.0 guide to set up the credentials for OAuth 2.0. For troubleshooting, you can use the OAuth 2.0 playground.
We provide client libraries for some common programming languages. Download the library for the language you want to use and set up its configuration file with your previously obtained credentials.

Developer Token - Access Levels

Read about Access Levels, and decide whether your tool will require more than 15,000 operations per day at some point in the future. If it will, you will need to apply for Standard Access for unlimited mutate operations and GoogleAdsService.Search and GoogleAdsService.SearchStream requests per day. However, this is still subject to the daily limit of 1,000 get operations.
Review the Rate Sheet to understand how operations are calculated for your access level. Note, GoogleAdsService.Search requests with the page_token field set does not count towards the operations limit.

Required Minimum Functionality (RMF)

Read about the Required Minimum Functionality (RMF), which is a set of functions your tool must implement, based on the nature of the tool.
Read about the Non-compliance fees to understand what happens when the RMFs are not correctly implemented.
Make sure your tool implements the applicable RMFs.
Apply for Standard Access.

Start working with the API

Run through Making Your First API Call, which explains how to get campaigns using the API. All objects are reachable in a similar fashion, so it's worth memorizing the structure.
Understand the basic API Structure of Resources and Services.
Check out Changing & inspecting objects and Retrieving objects.
Read about Resource Metadata to understand how to request them dynamically.
Read Campaigns Overview for creating and managing various campaign and ad types.

Code examples

Basic Operations > Get Campaigns
Basic Operations > Get Expanded Text Ads
Basic Operations > Add Campaigns
Basic Operations > Add Keywords
Basic Operations > Update Keyword
Campaign Management > Get All Disapproved Ads
Campaign Management > Add Campaign Bid Modifier
Account Management > Get Account Information
Account Management > Create Customer
Account Management > Get Account Changes


Take a quick overview of reporting, and an example to summarize the performance of an account over the last 30 days using GoogleAdsService as the single source of truth for reporting in Google Ads reporting.
Read through Google Ads Query Language (GAQL) to understand the query grammar, query structure, and the concepts of resource, segment, and metrics.
Read about Criteria Metrics to understand how to retrieve performance data for different criteria with *_view resources, for example, KeywordView, TopicView and GenderView.

Interactive Google Ads Query Builder

Use the editor in this tool to build a Google Ads Query Language statement for a particular resource; for example an AdGroup. Copy and paste the generated GAQL statement into your application.

Keyword research

If you’re not familiar with our Keyword Planner tool, try it out to see how keyword planning works in the Google Ads UI.

Code examples

Planning Samples -> Generate Forecast Metrics
Planning Samples -> Generate Keyword Ideas

Automate budgets

Read about the Payment methods and settings to understand the available billing options in Google Ads, such as automatic payments, manual payments, monthly invoicing (credit line).
Check out the Billing Setup to understand how to manage payment profiles and payment accounts programmatically.
Read about the Account Budget to understand how budgets can automatically be assigned to accounts.
Contact your business representative at Google to apply to be enrolled for monthly billing.
Contact your business representative at Google to apply for access to the AccountBudgetProposalService .
Create an AccountBudgetProposal and assign it to an account. Try using the budget in conjunction with a campaign budget.

Shopping Ads

Set up a Merchant Center Account and get a MerchantID.
Get a service account key if your application just needs access to your own Merchant Center account. But if you’re writing a third-party application that needs access to your clients’ Merchant Center accounts, review the Authorize Requests guide with OAuth 2.0.
Download a client library for your language of choice.
View the Content API code examples for Java, .NET, PHP, Python, and so forth.
Learn how to manually link Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts.
Learn how to set up your product list using the Content API.
Check out the guide Creating a Shopping Campaign using the Google Ads API.

Recommendations & change status

If you’re not familiar with the Recommendations and Change history functionalities, try them out in the Google Ads UI.


Read our guide on how to use the RecommendationService to retrieve and apply Google’s recommendations to your account to increase the overall ads performance.
Discover recommendation functionalities by running this code sample: Recommendation Samples -> Getting Text Ad Recommendations.


Read our guide on how to use the ChangeStatusService to retrieve the change history to keep track of changes to your account, such as campaigns and ads.
Discover change history functionalities by running this code sample: ChangeStatus Samples -> Get Account Changes..

Staying up to date


When a new API is released, get the latest version of our client library.
Add a bookmark to the latest Release Notes and review the main changes in each version.
Replace calls to the old version of the client library with calls to the new version.
Follow this blog to subscribe to our RSS feed to get blog posts by email, and check the forum to get the latest information regarding the Google Ads API.
Make sure the API contact email registered in the API Center of your main manager account is up to date, as this is how we contact you if we find any technical issues related to your usage of the API.
Google Merchant Center Google Merchant Center helps you upload your store and product data to Google and make it available for Shopping ads and other Google services.
Business Profile Your Business Profile helps you reach and engage with local customers across Google Search and Maps.
Google Analytics Google Analytics provides in-depth reporting on how people use your website. You can use Google Analytics to learn what people do after clicking your ads.
Google Tag Manager Google Tag Manager is a tag management system (TMS) that lets you to quickly and easily update tracking codes and related code fragments, collectively known as tags, on your website or mobile app.
Google Optimize Google Optimize offers A/B testing, website testing, and personalization tools for small businesses to help deliver engaging customer experiences.
Google Data Studio Data Studio turns your data into informative, easy-to-read, easy-to-share, and fully customizable dashboards and reports.

Getting help

Add a bookmark to the Google Ads API guides. Most basic concepts are thoroughly explained there.
Add a bookmark to the Google Ads API reference. All functionality of the API is explained in detail there.
Add a bookmark to the Google Ads API support page, which explains the main support channels.
Check out the Google Ads Developers YouTube channel.
Contact your business representative / partner manager at Google to set up a meeting to address more complex strategic issues related to the API.