This is the subhead for the blog post

This is a desktop tool we’ve been playing with for a while. Now publicly available here: http://services.google.com/adwordseditor/index.html

By the way, for those of you who read my blog regularly, you may recall my four-part post on how MSN and Yahoo can take down Google. You’ll note that Part Two of this epic posting was dedicated to user interfaces. Of course, I was suggesting that Overture change their user interface to reach parity with AdWords’ already far-superior interface. I guess now that AdWords isn’t resting on its laurels, Overture is just that much farther behind.

Since I have been using this beta for a while (and since you still apparently need a password to get in), here’s a few comments on the system so far:

Pros:

  • The ability to sort keywords across your entire account by different variables (i.e., cost, impressions, alphabetically, CTR, etc). Previously, this could only be done on an AdGroup level;
  • “Bulk Sheet” functionality – i.e., the ability to add thousands of listings in an Excel-style format from your desktop. This is far superior to sending an Excel sheet to a Google rep, then waiting for the rep to upload it a few days later . . .
  • Moving keywords en masse from one AdGroup or Campaign to another.

Cons:

  • Still very buggy. For example, we uploaded some keywords that we knew should run in the $.50 to $1.00 range and somehow all of them were listed as “Inactive” with a minimum bid of $5.00. We then deleted them and sent them to our Account Rep to upload for us instead, and voila, they were all “Active.”
  • It can’t handle really big changes. My advice is to limit your work to less than 2000 keywords at a time. We’ve had several situations where the tool has simply “timed out” because our job was just too big for it.

One final point. A co-worker of mine has a conspiracy theory of sorts that I think may be quite valid. He believes that the AdWords Editor is Google’s “AdWords API for the masses.” In other words, Google wants to limit API access to a select group of “mega advertisers”, most likely companies that are spending at least $250,000 a month with Google. Thus, to reduce load time on their API servers, they have launched this desktop application which has a lot of the basic features that you can get through the API, but discourages API development for smaller players. In the end, this could save Google a lot of pain since I’m sure there are plenty of companies out there trying to develop API integration, doing a horrible job at it, and turning around and nagging Google’s product team about why the API doesn’t work.

Overall, though, I give Google a big “thumbs up” for continuing to innovate here! Keep it up!