Guest Blogger: Laura Rodnitzky is the Director of Production for PPC Associates, a search engine marketing agency with offices in San Mateo and Chicago.
AdWords Editor is a go-to tool for anyone managing large accounts or campaigns in Google AdWords. But even if you’re only dealing with small campaigns, it’s worth checking out this free tool from Google. AdWords Editor allows you to make bulk changes to individual or multiple campaigns – changes that cannot be made easily through the AdWords UI. As an added bonus, all of this is done offline so you can easily revert errors or unwanted changes before posting anything live. In this post, I’ll outline some of my favorite AdWords Editor tools.
1. Advanced Bid Changes
Let’s say you’re nearing the month’s end and you find yourself with some budget to spare. Among other things, you may decide to increase bids across the board or across top-performing campaigns, ad groups, keywords, or placements. In the AdWords UI, you have the option of copying a particular bid from one keyword (for example) to several others on the page. In the screenshot below, the up/down arrows next to the $0.25 max CPC indicate I’m copying that bid to the other selected keywords.
So that’s useful if I want the same value for each keyword. But what if I have different bids for different keywords, and I want to increase all of them by 25%? That’s where the Advanced Bid Changes option in AdWords Editor comes in handy. To find it, go to the tab where you need to make bid changes (Keywords, Placements, Audiences, or Ad Groups). Select the data you need to adjust, and then click on the link below to “Advanced bid changes”.
The pop-up box gives you the option to increase or decrease bids by a certain percentage amount or dollar amount. You also have the option of setting minimum or maximum caps on bids. And as always, since you’re working in AdWords Editor, you can easily revert or modify any bid changes that seem out of whack prior to posting the changes live to your account.
2. Copying Campaign Settings
At PPC Associates, we are constantly reviewing performance across different geos and different times (day of week, hour of day) for our accounts to look for additional optimization opportunities. Unfortunately, we can only apply hour of day bid adjustments or custom geos in the UI at this time, but we can use AdWords Editor to easily copy these specialized targeting settings to multiple campaigns.
Here’s how to do it: In the Campaigns tab, select the campaign that already has the targeting settings you need (this assumes you have already clicked on “Get recent changes” in AdWords Editor to download the settings you created in the UI). Right click on the campaign and select “Copy campaign shell.” Alternatively, you can go to “Edit” à “Copy campaign shell.” This automatically copies the following settings: Devices, Ad schedule, Language targeting, and Location Targeting. Now you can go to any other campaign in that account in AdWords Editor, and simply click on “Paste” next to any of those four settings to copy over the targeting.
I should note that you can copy campaign settings fairly easily in the AdWords UI, as shown in the screenshot below. However, I still prefer working in AdWords Editor whenever possible, since it reduces the potential for errors.
3. Custom View (Advanced search)
Finally, the Custom View option (also called Advanced search). This powerful tool lets you apply multiple filters based on campaign or ad group name, words contained in ad text or URLs, performance statistics, status, and more. We use this tool often to QA our work prior to posting, especially when making complex changes in bulk. To find the tool, either click on “Advanced search” in the top right of any tab, or use the “View” drop-down menu to find “Create or set custom view…”
Once you’re in the custom view, add as many filters as needed. For example, if I’ve recently appended destination URLs with a new tracking parameter (CUSTOMCMPGN) and want to easily identify any URLs missing the parameter, I change the settings to “Destination URL” “doesn’t contain” “CUSTOMCMPN.” But maybe that new parameter is only used for ad groups containing the word “free.” I can add a second filter for “Ad group name” “doesn’t contain” “free.” And if I’m only concerned with active ad groups? In the “Status” section, I check the box next to “Enabled” and nothing else. The results will be ads from active ad groups, not containing the word “free” in the name, and missing the new parameter.
Fluency with AdWords Editor does more than let you work on your accounts offline; it’ll save you tons of time with its advanced tools – and it’ll save you the time and headaches of troubleshooting errors pushed live directly from the AdWords UI. It’s arguably one of the most indispensable tool of all SEMs, from beginners to 10-year vets.