Why AdWords Editor Will Always Be Part of My PPC Toolbox

dreamstime_m_26818524At the end of last week I was read a couple instances where people think AdWords Editor is unnecessary or will be obsolete within the next few months. I have to say, I couldn’t disagree with them more. For many, many reasons. I’m not trying to get in to any big tussle about it, just wanting to share my opinions. And hey, sharing is caring, right? Here’s my thought for why AdWords Editor is still one of the number one tools in my tool box.

My Work Flow

Whether it’s ad copy testing, expanding keywords and ad groups, or running account audits, you can find me in AdWords Editor. In my eyes, the biggest benefit is an offline work space. There’s no waiting for screens to reload, no irritating red bar of death saying YOU HAVE TO REFRESH THE SCREEN BEFORE YOU DO THAT (and yet some how after refreshing your changes saved anyway), no waiting for your changes to be saved or data being refreshed, and ample time for you to check, double check, and triple check your work before uploading and making your changes live in the account. Shoot, you can even share with a colleague for a fresh look just in case.

I also find it’s collaboration with Excel extremely easy on my time. Rather than using the interface to download a report, which takes up my computer’s storage space, opening, editing, and re-uploading using the bulk edit option, I can simply copy and paste the account section in front of me into a spreadsheet, edit it, then paste it back into the Editor with the Add Multiple Keywords/Ad Groups/etc. buttons.

Summary: If it’s not a change to a single line, I’m probably going to do it in AdWords Editor.


We love them, but we all know the uptake on PPC is hard. We’ve all been there. It’s like learning to ride a bike all over again. Giving interns a low pressure situation to learn AdWords couldn’t be more valuable and Melissa Mackey wrote a post earlier this year on why she starts new hires in AWE. She highlights it’s ability to teach account structure more effectively than the interface due to less distractions. Preach it sister.

After that, the biggest benefit I find for interns or newbies using Editor is that you can share changes and check work without uploading or standing over their shoulder. Once their finished, they can email you their proposed changes which you can then review, make edits on, and send back for them to upload. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Team Collaboration

In similar fashion to checking an intern’s work before it’s posted, AdWords Editor allows you and your team to collaborate on bigger account changes or builds before they go live. With all of the different styles of account structure out there, it’s important to make sure all team members are on the same page.

You and your team might also have a workflow that highlights everyone’s strengths when building accounts. One person is killer at account structure so they put campaigns and ad groups in place. Someone else is great at getting lots of keywords in the system with match types and initial bids quickly. Then yet another team member comes in and writes some killer ad copy. All of this done offline and able to be shared and approved by each team member before going live.

Admitted Drawbacks

• Doesn’t support all features of an account (call extensions, labels, category targets for display)
• Sometimes has some hiccups when a new version is released.
• Gets a little slow if you make tons of changes without saving or uploading.

That’s it. And all of them are mostly curable. First, the features not supported, for the most part, are able to be sent to an intern or freelancer because they’re pretty low difficulty. Second, if there are hiccups, Google usually releases a fix within the first 2-3 days of #ppcchat complaining. (Love you guys!) Third, the slow down makes Editor just as slow as the interface and can easily be solved by closing and reopening the app. Done and done.

All in all, I don’t argue that Editor has it’s downfalls, but I certainly don’t see it falling out of my workflow anytime in the foreseeable future. So I’ll sum everything up with a tweet.


netmeg Tweet

Comments (12)

  1. Directionally, i see more and more drawbacks of editor with every new unsupported feature, and diminishing benefits on features that used to be adwords editor only which is later implemented in the web UI. #justsayin..

  2. You make a good point. Each time new features in the interface are not supported by the Editor, it does diminish some level of account management. Agreed. But for the most part, I still see heavy lifting account changes or builds, collaboration, and ppc newbs benefiting more from the Editor than the UI. Just my opinion.

  3. Unfortunately, If we think about this from Google’s perspective I don’t think the Editor is going to be around for much longer.

    On one hand you have the growing need of big corporations for API features as they try to dump their PPC data into online marketing platforms with very complex multi-channel attribution models. Then the high level data is automatically leveraged to make Adwords changes. At the other end of the spectrum the SMB segment is looking for easily actionable tools and is quickly growing (hence the focus on Express campaigns, Opportunity tabs this year).

    On top of this shrinking Adwords user Base, it seems that Google has a tradition of developing desktop applications when performance requirements make it the only viable option (I’m thinking Picasa, Google Earth…). With the recent gain in performance of Internet browsers this is becoming irrelevant and Desktop apps get moved to the Cloud.

  4. There are so many tasks I do in editor that I either can’t do in the interface or still take longer to do in the interface. I have a client who is change all LP urls next week and if I didn’t have the editor I would cry.

  5. I’m agree with you. I think two major things AWE brings that the online dashboard does not (and possibly cannot) provide is (1) a way to make not merely bulk edits, but bulk “change quality checks/reversal” before pushing the edits live and (2) a user friendly BULK interface.

    On (1), you pointed this out, Michelle, and I’m with you. Even on a big edit you’ve done a hundred times, it’s nice to have that final check to ensure that you’re not forgetting something. I want to make bulk edits on hundreds/thousands of ad groups/ads/kws/whatever and than be able to check them before I push them live. That second look has saved me (and I’m sure a lot of us) often in making a final tweak before pushing it live. In a dashboard where bulk edits are immediately live, you lose that second look which is important.

    On (2) it is difficult to have BOTH an interactive interface geared towards visitor-usage analysis (which Adwords does quite well IMO, much better than Bing with its constant page reloads) AND a user friendly bulk interface. I don’t need/want to see the same columns in my Adwords Editor that I do in my Adwords dash, but I also don’t want to be taking the time to change the columns every time if the two of them were the same dashboard. It goes beyond columns as well in displaying basic simplified view, that makes bulk decision making possible. Because of that, I actually place quite a bit of emphasis on the usability of AWE. It is streamlined and far easier to see the bulk edits you make, without all the (often unnecessary for the task at hand) visitor usage data.

    I guess for those reasons, I’m with you in not wanting to see AWE go the way of Buzz!

  6. There’s certainly an argument to be made there, but I can’t imagine the number of people using API and Express campaigns is outweighing the number of companies still using the regular UI and Editor for making changes in their accounts. I would assume the vast majority of people are still like me: using the UI and Editor every day. That’s not to say that Google won’t shut it down on us (e.g. separate Mobile and Desktop campaigns) but I think this situation is a bit different.

  7. Totally agree! Those changes to multiple different lines of ads or keywords are the main reason I’m so attached to editor. So easy to copy, paste, highlight all new ads and change one destination URL field.

  8. Couldn’t agree with you more on the difficulty of having a analysis feature (UI) and bulk editing feature (Editor) in the same place. I would get so frustrated always choosing the right columns. I already can’t stand having to remove View-through and Estimated Conversions columns from the interface, let alone all of the additional columns that would come with bulk editing capabilities.

    Hopefully we’re right that Editor will hang around for a while!

  9. Not to mention you can no longer upload a bulk sheet directly into the UI, you HAVE to do this through editor.

    So if you are managing a huge retailer this time of year, the editor is priceless for promo ad copy changes!

    I <3 me some editor!

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