This is the first post in a series that focuses on using the various tools located within the Google AdWords tools and analysis tab . Today we’ll talk about the change history tool, what it’s for and how you can leverage it within your own AdWords account.
What Is the Change History Tool and Why Is It Useful?
The change history tool, as the name suggests, shows you all the changes that have been made within your AdWords account. As you can see from the screenshot above, there are a lot of different data points related to your account that you can learn about from within the change history report. These include:
- The types of changes that have been made – you can filter by:
- Status (active, paused, deleted)
- The date and time of the change
- The area of the account where the changes occurred (campaign and ad group)
- The user who made the change
- The specific change that was made
This can be really valuable information in instances where:
- Multiple users are accessing the same account
- You’re automating processes using third-party software or AdWords automated rules 
- You see a major change in costs, traffic, conversions, etc. and need to diagnose the issue
We’ll walk through how the tool can be valuable in each instance.
Multiple Users Accessing the Same Account
If you’re collaborating on an account with multiple people within your organization, or if you’re working with or monitoring a service provider, the change history can give you an idea of the types of changes those other parties are making and the frequency with which they’re making those changes. For instance, if your PPC agency tells you they’re making changes to bids and ad text weekly, assuming they’re accessing your account through their own user name you can actually monitor whether this is happening. Similarly, if you’re wondering something like why conversions are higher this week, it may be a faster for you to just jump into the change history tool to see if someone else on your team or someone at your agency made some modifications.
Automating Processes with Software or AdWords Automated Rules
Similarly, you might be curious what sorts of changes your bid management software is making or how your AdWords automated rules are actually running. Automated rules have their own AdWords interface for reporting on changes , but you can also stay up to date with changes made by a software provider or by automated rules by checking your change history report. This can be helpful in giving you an idea of the types of changes actually being enacted by your rule or by your software, and it can also be really valuable in helping you to drill down to investigate the cause of a dramatic shift in your account.
Diagnosing Account Changes & Issues
This last application of the change history tool applies not only to changes made by automation: any time you see a significant spike or drop in any of your key performance indicators and the cause is not immediately obvious to you, you can use the change history tool to help you diagnose the change that is responsible for the spike or drop. You can easily drill down to look at the specific date range you’re interested in to help you identify which changes may have caused the shift:
Ultimately, as with any AdWords tools, you need to be able to take the information you’ve gleaned from the change report and understand how to effectively respond to the change and the way that it impacted your account. The change history is also a reactive tool – it won’t proactively surface changes that have had positive or negative impacts on your campaigns, so the tool isn’t a substitute for leveraging either AdWords alerts  or other specially developed alerts (as in the 20-Minute PPC Work Week ) designed to actively monitor your account and unearth specific opportunities for you.