Google Adwords Updates – Better Than A Stick In The Eye
Recently Google has gone out of its way to make usability updates to the Adwords interface. If you are a frequent user of Adwords, you know that this is uncommon. More often than not, either no updates are made for months, or Google acts like a nanny dealing with a 3-year-old drawing pictures in sharpie on the living room wall. This means that mostly Google just likes taking away things I use every day. Like custom shapes in geo-targeting. I’m not saying it was a bad move, Google, but it certainly wasn’t to increase usability. And if I have to add cities in one at a time every time I need to target a custom area, I may make like an unemployed, middle-class white girl with dreadlocks, and occupy your corporate office.
On a positive note, the updates Google has released within the last month have actually made the interface easier to use, which is a fun and interesting surprise.
1. Location Targeting – Ok, so yes, they took away the most useful tool they had in specific geo-targeting, and yes this ticks me off beyond belief due to the cluster-F of errors my campaigns went through after that change rolled out. How can you make it up to me, Google? Well a new car would be nice, but I will be momentarily satisfied with the following update to location targeting.
In days of yore, you can to whip out a dictionary and your thesis paper from Philosophy 201 to figure out what Google meant when it asked if you wanted to target based on location or search intent. The wording was confusing, to say the least, and I was never really sure if I picked the right answer. If chosen incorrectly, my clients in Philadelphia could be getting phone calls from Columbus, OH, and this makes me look like a schmuck. I really hate looking like a schmuck. So Google thought, “hey, you know what would help people use our amazing advertising platform? Wording that makes SENSE!”. I applaud you, Google. But just this once, so don’t let it go to your head.
2. Display Advertising – Google snuck a mini-update in there without me noticing. I stumbled upon this little gem while checking on a client’s managed placements, and then immediately became enraged that only one client had this update. I have one client who has 20 display campaigns. TWENTY. That is a lot of campaigns spending money without any way of optimizing for keywords.
In this newest update, I can view what keywords are causing my ads to show, and within the same Display Network tab, I can look at the managed placements that are receiving those clicks. Brilliant! If you don’t think that this will change the way you manage display campaigns, well, you’re a moron. It’s the one thing your campaign needed, you know, KEYWORDS. I am so happy I might cry.
3. Quality Scores – the most recent update seems to be more in-depth thought on the topic of quality scores. Nevermind the fact that the factors that determine a quality score are vague and inexplicable. According to Google, much like a wafer-thin fashion model, you’ve either got it, or you don’t. This update allows Google more opportunities to tell you whether or not you’ve got “it”.
I cant be the only search marketer in the world completely frustrated with Google’s quality scores. Or maybe I am.
I will continue to hope that future updates in Adwords are as forward thinking as the previous three. Maybe they will come up with an acceptable and reasonable alternative to custom-shape geo-targeting (You see what I did there? It’s called bitterness). Until then Google, I’ve got my eye (just one) on you.