Pros & Cons of the New AdWords Opportunities Tab


Last month, Google launched a long overdue revamp of the AdWords’ Opportunities Tab. Not only did it upgrade the display to a simpler, cleaner format, but it also made major improvements to the content provided.

AdWords Opportunities Tab

The original Opportunities Tab helped advertisers recognize when to expand their keyword lists, raise their max CPC bids, and increase their budgets. Now, Google has incorporated new best practices related to AdWords’ most famous brain child, Enhanced Campaigns, as well as the recent changes to the Ad Rank algorithm. Advertisers can expect to find recommendations encouraging them to:

  • Implement ad extensions
  • Split ad groups into smaller, more relevant groupings
  • Adjust bids based on impression share data

Before you head over to AdWords and give it a spin, let’s review the pros and cons of the new and improved Opportunities Tab. I’m feeling glass-half-full today, so we’ll start by examining the pros.

Benefits of the New AdWords Opportunities Tab: What We Like

Here are some of the reasons I think the new Opportunities Tab in AdWords is a good thing:

It is a secret bullet for inexperienced advertisers.

Small businesses are often hesitant to devote resources to hire a digital marketing agency, let alone an in-house account manager. We often see that paid search campaigns land up in the hands of busy owners or staff members who are unfamiliar with PPC. Taking on an AdWords account is a daunting task, particularly for someone who has no experience in the space. For this individual, the Opportunities Tab is a godsend. It outlines their top PPC priorities and allows them to quickly take action.

It’s about time Google does the analysis.

For those of us that aren’t statisticians, analyzing AdWords performance can be a headache. Why not leave it to the brainiacs over in Mountain View? Essentially, the Opportunities Tab serves as an automated account manager.

It provides valuable dirt on your competitors.

Much like a Trojan horse, the Opportunities Tab offers juicy details about your competitors’ performance and helps you make bid adjustments to get ahead. For example, it may recommend that you bump up your bids on key terms to increase your impression share. To make a case for this change, it will show your current impression share alongside that of your competitors.

It keeps you coming back for more.

The more engaged an AdWords user is, the more likely they are to see positive trends in their account. I suspect there is a direct correlation between AdWords usage and Google client lifetime, making this a win-win for Google. It keeps advertisers happy and ensures that they continue pumping money into AdWords.

Downsides of the New Opportunities Tab: What’s Not So Great

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are definitely a few red flags associated with the Opportunities Tab. Here a few that come to mind:

This could be a dangerous trap for SMBs.

Often, small businesses do not have the capital to hire an in-house PPC manager or expensive agency solution. Many owners/marketing managers take it upon themselves to develop an understanding of PPC best practices to ensure that they manage their accounts successfully. As the Opportunities Tab becomes more prominent, I expect that we will see many SMBs put full faith in AdWords’ recommendations, rather than investing the time to learn paid search on their own.  

Your opportunities are based on an incredibly small set of data.

Surprisingly enough, AdWords only uses the last 7 days of account performance to produce recommendations. While this up-to-date data may prove helpful when fine-tuning your max CPC bids, typically one week’s worth of data is not enough to make a compelling case to change a campaign-level bid adjustment or to divide an ad group. Moreover, using such limited data could skew the impact that Google predicts each change will have on the account, giving advertisers unrealistic expectations.

Google is biased.

Sure, it’s nice that AdWords is extending a helping hand to advertisers, but whose best interest does Google really have at heart? The new Opportunities Tab is certainly more advertiser-centric than the original, but it is certainly more focused on account expansion than cost savings. Keep in mind, it does not offer negative keyword suggestions, alert you to costly keywords or recommend budget reductions. Advertisers should continue to carry out these tasks on their own.

The moral of the story is: Take all of Google’s recommendations with a grain of salt. Rather than blindly accepting your new “opportunities,” take the time to review the information and ensure that you are making the best decision for your account. I’m a big fan of using every tool in the toolbox and I see no reason to avoid the Opportunities Tab. Just be sure to use it wisely.

Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


Dec 04, 2013

Small businesses always suffer the most when there are huge changes like this. They always tend to get more from a program that can easily bombard their website with content because they are cheaper. However, those programs can easily be tagged by Google as spams and just like that; they will lose all the efforts they have invested on it. 

Dec 05, 2013

thanks for reading, Anonymousspookseo!

Dec 04, 2013

Nice article! I'm afraid I'm one of those inexperienced in-house workers assigned to PPC at a small business. When I first noticed the opportunities tabe I was tempted to just blindly do what they recommended; until I noticed that not all of their suggestions were very cost effective. I'm definitely still learning the Google AdWords ropes, though, (why is their interface so unfriendly to the unnaccustomed user?!) so I'm hoping it will help me out in general.

Dec 05, 2013

hi brooke, welcome to the world of ppc!  i'm glad to hear that you caught google's game before accepting the recommendations.  i honestly think the opportunites tab will be helpful for you, as long as you are careful with it.  as far as the clunky adwords interface--rest assured that is has only gotten better with time, and will probably continue to.  if you're looking for an alternative, you should check out wordstream's software .good luck! if there are any other topics that you think woudl be helpful for us to cover, please comment and let me know!

Dec 05, 2013

New tab is certainly helpful for those who arent pro in Ad-words Management. This part is a complete blessing and disguisedfor the new bees and for those who have small business soluitons and cannot deploy a particular resource to it. Now letstalk about the business here. This is my personal feeling that Google is trying to promote Ad-words by givinga helping hand by making things easy but how about Negative keywords its not there with this opportunity. Which againcalls for money and eventually a new bee or a pro we all are working for money. Isnt't it.Thanks for a nice quick Write up.. Your help is much appreciated 

Dec 05, 2013

thanks for the kudos, miditech!  i agree--google is defintiely trying to promote adwords by giving users a more streamlined approach to account management.  we've been seeing this more and more in the last few months and i'll be curious to see what else they implement for us!

Alex Joll
Dec 05, 2013

Great article and some things to look out for.I like to use Google to "get the dirt" as you say on competitors - lots of free tools that can add value to your marketing efforts.

May 12, 2015

Very helpful article.I agree with you that the last 7 days performance is not enough for proper recommendations.

Leave a comment