7 Things On My Google AdWords Wishlist For Santa

Matt Van Wagner on
  • Categories: Channel: SEM, Paid Search Column
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  • Dear Santa,

    I hope you and Mrs. Claus are doing well.

    I have been an especially good advertiser this year, and so I hope you don’t mind that my asking for a few special gifts this year that will be greatly appreciated by all of us Google AdWords advertisers.

    Yrs Trly,

    Matt

    (P.S.  I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve asked all my reader friends to add their own special requests  in the comments section below.)

    1. Two Month Vacation for AdWords Product Managers

    The top item on my wishlist, Santa, is that you please send all the AdWords product marketing managers somewhere warm, sunny and without Internet access for a few months’ holiday so they can’t invent or schedule any new feature launches for a while.

    The product managers certainly have earned their holiday, Santa, but honestly, this really is a present for the AdWords advertisers and AdWords engineering teams. We need some catch up time.

    Slowing down the marketing team for a little while will give us advertisers the time we need to properly evaluate the plethora of recently announced ad formats, targeting, scheduling and bidding options, and then to re-engineer our own campaign management processes so we can fully take advantage of them.

    Keeping the product managers offline for just a few months will also help the AdWords development engineering teams do some catching up, too. They’ll have extra time to do more front-end engineering on new features before launch, more time to put finishing touches on soon-to-be-released features, and more time to fix-up and document previously-introduced features and AdWords extensions, some of which are on my wishlist, below.

    2.  A New AdWords Ad Scheduler Based On The Searcher’s Time Zone

    The next thing on my list, Santa, is a new AdWords Ad Scheduler. The current Ad Scheduler is so 20th  century.

    For example, if we want show ads only from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm all across the United States, we have to create 3-5 separate campaigns to make that happen because the current scheduler bases its ad delivery on the time-zone setting of our AdWords account, not the local user.

    I would like a new AdWords Ad Scheduler this year that is smart enough to know what time it is in each time zone in which we want to show our ads without our having to spell it out!

    (P.S. Santa, I am not the only one who wants this.  One of my friends, Barry Schwartz did a survey of AdWords users back in 2009 and almost everyone he asked (88%) said they would like to have a better AdWords Ad Scheduler, too.)

    3.  Geo-Targeting At Ad Group Level

    I’d really like a new geo-targeting system that lets us specify the geo-targeting at either the campaign or ad group level.

    Until this fall, when Google expanded AdWords maximum limits to 500 campaigns per account and 20,000 ad groups per campaign, it was virtually impossible to efficiently run large complex localized national and multinational campaigns.  However, with a  new ad group level targeting capability, we would still have much better flexibility in the design of comprehensive, sophisticated ad campaigns.

    While you are at it, Santa, it would also be very nice to  have ad scheduling, demographic targeting, and ad rotation set at the ad group
    level, too. If we had all these features at the ad group level, we could do so many more interesting experiments with Google’s ACE, too.

    4.  A New Version Of Sitelinks & Other Ad Extensions

    Santa, I was really excited a few years ago when Google rolled out a boatload of new ad extensions that showed promise for improving click-through rates. In particular, we were excited by the possibilities of the Sitelinks extensions.

    However, somewhere between the concept and implementation of Sitelinks, many seemingly obvious features got left on the drawing board.

    For example, Sitelinks were implemented at the campaign level, even though ads they apply to are controlled at the ad group level. There is no way to track individual Sitelink URLs, A/B test the links, control rotation of the site links, and so on. Melissa Mackey did a nice job of describing  all the pain points of Sitelinks deficiencies in an article a few months ago.

    For Christmas this year, Santa, I’d really like a new version of  Sitelinks that is fully integrated with all the other great Google impression, click, and conversion tracking mechanisms and which can be managed at the ad group level and reported at the ad group, ad and keyword levels, as we’ve come to expect with  all Google AdWords elements.

    5.  A New Dimension & Google Analytics Tracking Variable: utm_adgrp

    Santa, I have had this item on my wish list for a few years – ever since Google bought the Urchin software and it became Google Analytics.

    For the life of me, I can’t  figure out why a variable for tracking ad groups has never been added to Google Analytics.

    Why doesn't Google Analytics have an ad group dimension?

     

    Google AdWords has always had a Campaign/Adgroup/Keyword hierarchy, and it seems odd not to carry that through to Analytics tracking variables and reports.

    Santa, can you please bring us a new version of Analytics that includes a standard campaign variable, utm_adgrp,  that allows ad group tracking and reporting within Analytics?

    6. AdWords Editor That Is 100% Representative Of The Online GUI

    Santa, we really like AdWords Editor because it saves us so much time in campaign management. However, the versions available  always seem to be 2-3 steps behind the online interface.

    Can you please bring us a new version that is completely up-to-date?

    7.  Historical Quality Score Reports

    I’d sure like a new set of reports within AdWords that tell us how our quality scores change over time as we optimize our accounts. It  doesn’t have to be a fancy report, just something that tells us when we are getting hotter and when we are getting colder with our efforts to optimize our campaigns.

    While you are at it Santa, and I know this is probably too much to ask, but can you please give us some help with some of our QS4 keywords?

    We have tons of them that have great click through rates, and even better conversion rates, but according to AdWords relevancy algorithms,  they only rank a quality score of 4 and so we are sure they are costing us more than they should because of the way quality score influences ad rank and effective bid prices?

    Well, I have a lot more items on my AdWords wishlist,  Santa, but if you can just work on these, (and any other wishes that other readers want to add in the comments below), I would be very grateful.

    Merry Christmas.


    About The Author

    Matt Van Wagner
    Matt Van Wagner is President and founder of Find Me Faster a search engine marketing firm based in Nashua, NH. He is a member of SEMNE (Search Engine Marketing New England), and SEMPO, the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization as a member and contributing courseware developer for the SEMPO Institute. Matt writes occasionally on internet, search engines and technology topics for IMedia, The NH Business Review and other publications.