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Google AdWords Editor: the Professional's Tool

Apr 11, 2008
The Google AdWords interface does a pretty good job, but it is definitely designed with the beginner in mind. Once you acquire some experience, you may find it insufficient for making quick adjustments to your account. Fortunately, Google provides a way for advanced users to make account adjustments. It's the Google AdWords Editor.

AdWords Editor is a program that runs on your hard drive. The advantage of managing your account this way ("client-side") is that it is much quicker to use than Google's AdWords web site. You don't have to wait for any pages to load. The disadvantage is that it is much less user-friendly. It doesn't walk you through anything. If you can get comfortable using it, however, it can save you a ton of time.

The AdWords Editor user interface is sparse and spreadsheet-like in appearance. The interface is divided into two vertical sections - the left side is a list of folders and objects that represent the campaigns and ad groups in the account. The right side is the information associated with each object. It is tab-divided into eight sections: Keywords, Sites, Negatives, Text Ads, Image Ads, Mobile Ads, Ad Groups, and Campaigns. Beneath the tabs is a spreadsheet-looking window that displays data. Clicking on an object on the left side changes the information on the right.

By default, the information displayed for each keyword is the type, status, minimum CPC, maximum CPC, and destination URL. Clicking on an item in the data screen displays details about it (in editable text boxes) in a section of the screen below. The screen can also be configured to display statistical data.

Above the tabs is a dropdown list labeled "View:" which changes the data shown. By default, View is set to "All". One interesting option on the View menu is "Duplicate keywords", which will show you keywords that are repeated across or among ad groups. You can also use it to view unposted local changes.

The first time you use AdWords Editor, you will pull down your entire AdWords account. Thereafter, you will use the Get Recent Changes option each time you start up the program. This is to prevent you from overwriting work that someone else had done on the account. Even if you are the only person managing the account, I still recommend pulling down changes locally every time you start up AdWords Editor.

There is no "save" functionality in the program. Once you have made your account changes and are ready to post them to the account, just click the Post Changes button.

With AdWords Editor, you don't have to wait for multiple screens to load every time you want to make a single adjustment. You can make multiple changes to an account at once. If you are active in the management of an AdWords account, it could save you hours. But it's not for the beginner. This is a serious management tool that should be used by users who are already comfortable using the online AdWords interface.
About the Author
Jerry Work is president of Work Media, LLC, a pay per click management and search engine optimization firm based in Nashville.
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