Google AdWords API 2009 – Overview and First Thoughts

By | May 19, 2009

Just recently Google made the new AdWords API 2009 sandbox and documentation available to the public. Some information about it is also in the AdWords API Blog.

I have started to toy around with it. I have written a mayor part of the current AdWords API integration for the company I work for, so it’s best to be prepared for the mayor overhaul Google has done with this new API implementation. Here is a quick overview and some thoughts I have about it.


Google seems to unify the use of their APIs with a common login interface: the Account Authentication API. You can make a HTTPS Post Request to the API and use your Google credentials to get an Auth token. This token then will be used to access the functionalities of the API.

[adrotate group=”1″ banner=”3″]

I think it is good to unify different kinds of API authentication into a single login service. I just hope that it is stable enough to endure all the load from not just one kind of service but every piece of Google API which will make use of it.

Accessing the Sandbox

I created some example codes (will publish some code in another article soon) to access the Google AdWords Sandbox. At first I had some difficulties because I don’t just use the examples from Google, I created my own kind of library to access the API. That lead to the assumption that I can always use the SOAP end url as namespace – which was wrong because the namespace for the request XML has to be

while the actual xml request is being sent to

When sending the wrong namespace the API returns a server error, but no detailed error code about what kind of error occured. I hope Google will improve their error reporting there.

Get & Mutate – the new methods of getting data and manipulating data

Past versions of the AdWords API left the impression of a patchwork API. This time you basically have two functions:


Getting data is simple: just build an xml which contains all the parameters you need and send it to the API.


<get xmlns="">

This piece of xml tells the API (assuming the header information with the AuthToken, sorry not posting that one here ;)) to retrieve all the campaigns in the account. You can limit the campaigns by telling it to only include certain campaign IDs (filling the StatsSelecter/campaignIds node with subnodes containing the actual IDs).


Mutate is the method to create and manipulate data structures in the API.


<mutate xmlns="">
   <name>Test Campaign - 1242726211</name>

It tells the API to create a new campaign in the account defined by the client email in the header (again not posted here). The additional OPERATOR tells what kind of operation (ADD, REMOVE, SET). After that all the necessary data for the operation are being added.

Final words (for now)

I think the new API is very clean and straight forward, with a new authentication method. The problems I currently see is the amount of work necessary to migrate applications based on the existing API v13 to the new v2009, but if people are using frameworks like APIlity or one of the other provided libraries, it is safe to assume that new versions will be available soon after the release to make a smooth upgrade.

I am looking forward to work closely with the new API.

9 thoughts on “Google AdWords API 2009 – Overview and First Thoughts

  1. Mic

    Nice article!
    But I have some problems using the sandbox v200909 with “PHP ADWords API Lib” (the new version of APIlity).
    When I try to call services like as getClientAccounts all works good. When I call something about campaigns (for example “addCampaign”) I obtain this error: “authToken is missing in SoapHeader”.
    Maybe do I need to register an MCC account for getting an applicationToken and/orauthToken? Otherwise, what can I do?


      1. Mic

        Thanks for the reply, you clarified my doubt.
        I had this doubt just because somewhere i’ve found in google’s documentation that the only things I needed were email, password and developer token… but I suppose it was useful untill v13 version, or am I wrong?


      2. Christian Post author

        With v13 an MCC account was also necessary to receive a developer token for the API. I think it’s understandable that you might want to manage multiple accounts with the API instead of just one. Even though you can have an MCC with just one account underneath it in the structure.

  2. Mic

    Ehm… I’m sorry for my bad english, anyway… 🙂

  3. Mic

    Yeah, I understand…
    I’ve requested an MCC account but… I work for a big society and we are trying to develop a new project but no one here has already seen that kind of things.
    So, the MCC account was created by someone out from my office, out of my town… out from my country too… And, obviously, he has lost something or doesn’t remember if google has send him an email with that famous “developer token”. My lucky still go on: MCC has a new interface, where I can’t find tokens…
    So, now I’ve that MCC, but I still don’t have the developer and application tokens.

    Anyway, at the moment, I’m trying to use sandbox, so:
    I can use that developer token:
    I can forget the application token (which is set on NULL value)

    As result, I’ve got the same error: “authToken is missing in SoapHeader”.

    Maybe can I post you my PHP code? Have you time to spend for check it?


  4. Christian Post author

    Sure, just send me an email to Christian(at)Krahn(dot)org. if you do have access to the mcc account you should find the developer token under “My account” => “adwords api Center”. If there is no token, you should be able to create one there (and wait for it to become approved).

    1. Christian Post author

      Best way is to contact AdWords Support about it.

Comments are closed.