Image credit: pcmag

Christmas isn’t for another eight months, but my inner child won’t listen. In (early) anticipation of this most glorious occasion, and perhaps encouraged by yesterday’s twin AdWords updates, the kid wants to make a few requests from Santa Google. Hopefully he’s not too demanding (he is) and can have these things in time for this year’s Xmas festivities.

1)      More Control Over Search Partners – Not having more control over a segment that can easily spend half your budget is a joke. I’m sorry, Google, but this has been the biggest hole in AdWords for years.

2)      Upgraded Filters and Segmentation – I remember a day when there were no filters or segmenting available beyond the obvious campaign/ads/keyword tabs. Google released some great functionality with Dimensions, and now we’re hooked. We need MORE!! Number one on my wish list? Apply the selected segmentation to the TOTAL row of whatever you’re filtering.

3)      Better Mobile Experience – You’ve been preaching mobile for over a year now, so now it’s my turn: MOBILE MOBILE MOBILE!! We get it, AdWords isn’t exactly a WordPress blog – there’s a lot of stuff to load, and it won’t happen overnight. But seriously, give me a better way to check performance on the go without crashing Safari every third try (and no, getting me on Android is not an acceptable solution).

Image credit: santawishlist.blogspot.com

4)      Better Conversion Data – This one is a doozy and covers a few things. First – upgrade your conversion tracking system to be in line with what Marin, Kenshoo, SearchForce, et al offer. This includes passing back order IDs, dedupping, timestamps, longer cookie windows, etc.  Conversions are king, and we’re flying with an eye patch on. Second – better analysis tools, e.g. include content campaigns in conversion path analysis. I think it’s clear that Google is pushing for GA adoption, but please sharpen these tools and let them reside in a single interface. It’s far too difficult to understand things like latency and other user behaviors with the current set of tools. A little offline feed integration to measure downstream conversions would be nice as well!

5)      ROAS Bidding – CPA isn’t the only thing. Variable AOVs beg for ROAS optimization, and Google’s bidding can’t handle that (yet). Of course, we’ll need more reliable revenue tracking and deduping to make this work properly.

6)      Customizable Graphs – Totally do-able in Excel, but I wouldn’t mind being able to map my data in WoW increments or change the scale on the Y axis of all graphs. Not a big one, but it’d be nice to have.

7)      Better Merchant Feed/Product Extension Experience – Integrating these pieces is far too time-consuming and haphazard. There have been some nice improvements on the product tagging side, but this functionality just seems incomplete. While you’re tinkering here, why not add an out-of-stock monitor as well?

The list could go on and on (add your suggestions below!), but we’ll stop here for now. When Google added bid optimization to AdWords, I expected even more functionality to follow. While adding new wrinkles (sitelinks and other extensions) has made the work of 3rd-party management tools more difficult, there’s no substitute for just adding to the features they already offer. Don’t be surprise to see a few of these wishes granted; I don’t think Google wants to play second fiddle to Marin anymore.

Sean Marshall, Director of Search Engine Marketing

3 Comments

  1. Terry Whalen April 25th, 2012

    Search Partner bidding – YES! A gaping hole. Too many advertisers end up just turning SP off since the traffic quality is poor. I think adding an SP-only option might actually result in no net change in revenue for Google, since the advertisers that have turned this off would be able to turn it on again to try for incremental conversions.

    Filters – YES! The big weakness of filters is on the dimensions tab, where filter options include only metrics and exclude dimensions filter options. Amazing, but true. The filter data is totaled up for the user (the data is shaded in yellow), but it should be presented at the top of the page, so that the user is not forced to scroll down the page to see the filtered data.

    Segments – the gaping whole in segments is that there are no totals. This is especially maddening when the user wants to look at filtered trend data (e.g. non-brand campaigns by week). In the dimensions tab, you can still not do this. Also, WoW trend data is presented only for weeks ending Sunday. This is not helpful for users who are maybe trying to look at updated WoW data and they are pulling data on any other day besides Monday.

    Dimensions tab – include a total row.

    ROAS bidding – this would be a great feature to add to conversion optimizer engine. But before this, maybe the Google folks could just meet us 10% of the way and add revenue and ROAS column options to AdWords Editor, for easier manual ROAS bid management.

  2. Terry Whalen April 25th, 2012

    Sean, the Dolphin browser seems to work very well for me for accessing AdWords on iOS. Try it and let me know!

  3. Terry Whalen May 1st, 2012

    Sean, I forgot to add one of my top wish list items! Ability to split traffic between 2 campaigns. Of course I don’t mean actually splitting traffic but instead splitting opportunities to compete in auctions.

    AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) is actually kind of a cool testing framework, but the number one coolest thing the product folks could have done would be to include ACE functionality at the campaign level. Imagine how great that would be – test the AdWords Conversion Optimizer against manually bidding, for example. Or, test Marin bidding against SearchForce bidding, or SearchForce bidding against the Conversion Optimizer. It’d also be a great way to test various dayparting or geo strategies against each other. It’d even be useful for pitting 1 PPC manager against another.

    Maybe I’ll even add one more thing on my wishlist. I wish that the Google sales force (er, account strategists and optimization specialists) could actually be knowledgeable and helpful when we ask specific questions of them. It’s not so much that I often need a sales pitch on why launching mobile-specific campaigns is a good idea – it’s more that if I happen to have an actual question, I never get a timely answer.

    One more – can’t resist – I wish the AdWords editorial team were…competent. And knew how to reply in a timely manner and fix problems that their silly automated ad approval system creates on a regular basis.

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Sean Marshall
Sean Marshall is the CEO of Intended, an SEM agency founded in 2013 to provide industry-best service for SMB clients. Before Intended, Sean was the VP of Business Development of PPC Associates (now 3Q Digital). He is a huge Cal fan and has been known to win a buck or two playing online poker.