RIP Google AdWords Editor??


AdWords Editor

A new feature that allows marketers to undo changes in Google AdWords is welcome and probably long overdue, though it begs the question: is the AdWords Editor dead?

Right now, the AdWords “Undo” button seems to be a limited test, available only in select accounts. What it does, however, is gives advertisers the ability revert to the way their campaign was before changes, or to download a fresh version of account or campaign specifics. This should make testing much easier.

With all of this functionality in the web interface, are we now hearing the death knell for the Google AdWords Editor, desktop version?

Why I Used to Use AdWords Editor

Back in the day, AdWords Editor had a ton of advantages, including:

  • Offline editing, which was a real issue in and around 2005. Now, however, we have wi-fi availability almost everywhere.
  • The copy & paste feature, which allows for faster campaign creation and makes it easier to break a large ad group into smaller ones.
  • Bulk editing, which you can now access in the web version, as well.
  • Sheer speed: the desktop version used to be much faster, though that’s changed. In fact, the web version has far outpaced the desktop editor.
  • Undo or Redo, which has now been added to the web interface with this update.
  • Draft campaigns: previously, you could only edit on the web version. Now, you can save as draft.

Why I No Longer Use AdWords Editor

We’ve seen a massive loss of feature parity over the past few years; there is generally lag between feature releases on the web version and the same coming to the desktop version. For example, we waited several months for certain enhanced campaigns support features to come to Google Adwords Editor. This is particularly a big issue given that Google releases so many features at an increasingly fast pace.

Personally, I no longer have any use for the Google AdWords Editor, though I’m interested in learning whether any of you still prefer it for one reason or another.

The desktop Adwords Editor was necessary early in the new millennium, when wi-fi coverage sucked and even with a good connection, you’d find the web interface clunky and almost painfully slow. Rich editing functions like copy/paste, undo and bulk edits weren’t even available in the online version.

Today, the offline version can cause synchronization issues, ie.: two people working on the account simultaneously and one overwriting the other, and can even crash resulting in lost work. It doesn’t have the benefits inherent to working and storage in the cloud, like all the other Google Apps. It’s not even a priority for Google, as far as adding new features. One thing is clear: when Google stops innovating and deprioritizes a product, it’s usually on its way out the door.

Do You Still Use AdWords Editor?

In 2014, I predict that we will see Google retire the Google AdWords Editor. After 9 years, it’s finally outlived its usefulness in my personal opinion. I expect it to join the Google Graveyard of discontinued products soon!

Do you use Google AdWords Editor? Why or why not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Melissa Mackey
Dec 04, 2013

Larry, I had to look at the calendar to make sure this wasn't an April Fools joke!I use AWE daily. I train new hire on Editor first, because it's easier to see how account structure works. I find it is much faster to work in Editor than in the interface.I sure hope you are wrong. Time will tell!

Dec 04, 2013

Absolutely no way. If Google retires AdWords Editor the backlash will be huge. AdWords Editor is extremely helpful.

Larry Kim
Dec 04, 2013

since when has the threat of backlash from users ever deterred google from retiring a product (eg: Google reader) or from making radical changes (eg: Enhanced Campaigns).

David Rothwell
Dec 05, 2013

When they reveresed their decision to change ad rotation settings in June of 2012. This would have been an easy decision to make, easy to implement on their part, and actually profitablesince it would result in more people continuing to pay the AdWords Stupid Tax because they're not usingad rotation properly.(That's when).

Dec 06, 2013

First, as David mentioned, when they reversed their decision on ad rotation settings. Second, I think that you are comparing apples to oranges. Google Reader was a free product. Enhanced Campaigns was a change -a big one for sure, but still just a change- to a paid product. AdWords Editor is a product attached to a paid product, that is, AdWords itself. Therefore, if advertisers want to have AdWords Editor there is no justification on Google's part to retire it.  

Feb 23, 2014

I find the following statement of yours very interesting: [when Google stops innovating and deprioritizes a product, it’s usually on its way out the door.]This is what's been happening for Google search results for the last year. Matt Cutts turned Google's search results into absolute garbage.   

Dec 04, 2013

Please don't kill it! I'm managing campaign with 100 000 more keywords and I would not be able to be as effecient for those tasks:- Copy campaigns into a new account- Do mass urls changes (or add / remove parameters)- Raise and lower bid to first page bid or top of page bid (even company like Acquisio cannot do those stuff because Top of page bid in AdWords API is still and beta)To me, FPB and TPB are so important and AdWords wll never as good as AdWords editors...  

Larry Kim
Dec 04, 2013

Good one - forgot about the find/replace feature. i use that too. but seriously, it's not like i'm changing my URL parameters across a large number of URLs every month. I think i've done it a total of 2 times in my career (eg: when a company changed their URL).I'd argue that the other 2 use cases (bulk bid changes and copy paste) are supported in the web version. 

Dec 04, 2013

Try to lower all bid to FPB + 0,05$ for keywords with FPB lower than 0,35$ for keyword with CPA over 3$ in specific campaigns in the web version. Than do that for your 10 geo accounts. I don't think I would enjoy my job that much after that without AdWords editors.That being said, your maybe right, because I'm so efficient with AdWords Editors, maybe Google want it gone! 

Larry Kim
Dec 05, 2013

you can do this and way more with adwords scripts in the web UI... even schedule it to run daily, etc.

Dec 17, 2013

How many regular people would know of the existance of the scripts, let alone using it?

Dec 23, 2013

You are definitely right!My first response was "huh, what am I going to use without Adwords Editor?"

Thao Pham
Dec 05, 2013

No, seriously no. I use the Find/ Replace feature soooo frequently. I used it when I need to duplicate & create new ads fast. For example, if I have a frequent event that happens every month, I will use that feature to duplicate and change my ads across all adgroups by replacing the date. Or if I have almost similar products, I can just duplicate ads and change product names to create new ad copies for different products. That feature is not just for URL changing.Also, how about adding data in bulk? Yes, I can add my keywords in bulk, but what if I want to set different keyword URLs? I can generate keyword URL in Excel and then copy & paste to AE.All in all, I still think AE is extremely useful for complicated & huge campaigns

Dec 04, 2013

Absolutely, yes. I use AdWords editor when I make any changes to the campaign beyond editing a few ads, keywords, or bids. I guess it depends on the account size. I work with clients in the education space, and generally they will have a large list of programs and campuses. In order to run an optimized campaign I will create 2 campaigns (one for Search, one for Display) for each program, and the same for each campus. In each campaign I will add ad groups supporting themed keywords. We're talking thousands of keywords. I don't see how it's possible to manage large campaigns without the aid of Editor - unless you're skipping past every best practise rule in the book. OR unless you're working on tiny accounts. So in other words: AdWords Editor is alive and well in my professional life, but it's always appreciated when the interface is upgraded, making it easier to do quick, simple edits when needed.

Jeff Loquist
Dec 04, 2013

Agree with Melissa - at first I thought this was a joke, or link bait (maybe it my attention). I use Editor on a daily basis and it is where I do the majority of my work in adWords. The interface is still clunky, and while there is a lag with new features, Editor still makes it easier to copy/create new campaigns and perform the majority of work in adWords. 

Nikki Kuhlman
Dec 04, 2013

The interface changes they have made are nice and helpful for quick minor changes, but they aren't enough to make it worth not using AdWords Editor. Editor is still one of the main tools for managing and optimizing account. You can't easily add keywords with multiple match types, the Append function is absolutely necessary, as is Find and Replace that someone else mentioned. What about Duplicate Keywords? The ability to easily change image ad names? There's just so many things you can do in Editor that you can't easily do in the UI. 

Larry Kim
Dec 05, 2013

I like the find and eliminate duplicate keyword tool, too. Used to use it. But the web interface has new tools that make it so that you're less likely to need that tool in the first place.For example, in the new keyword planner, you can exclude keywords that are already in your account, so from the get go, your new campaigns aren't overlapping with existing ones. 

Dec 04, 2013

I use adwords editor when copying large amount of data to and from campaigns. Without it I would be totally lost doing it manually insideof the UI. 

Dec 04, 2013

I still use the AdWords Editor. I mainly use it to transfer keywords in bulk or cut and paste adgroups.

Larry Kim
Dec 05, 2013

have you tried this?

Jerry Nordstrom
Dec 04, 2013

Perhaps I'm part guilty of sticking with the hammer that I have built so many homes with.However, I still find that AWE works better than the UI for creating and visualizing large campaign structures.The UI has added many features to use keyword data to help create campaigns, however the ability to easily modify, change and move the keywords around between campaigns and adgroups is frustratingly cumbersome. For now AWE still is far more efficient.Easily applying bulk edits is a big advantage to AWETo simplify it:

  • AWE to create new campaigns
  • AWE for global changes/additions
  • AWE for complex negative keyword applications
  • AWE for easy export of campaigns for import into Bing.
  • UI to refine keywords based on performance data
  • UI with GA to refine intent based campaigns
  • UI with GA to test behavior and modify campaigns accordingly

Dec 05, 2013

Hi, I dont think that the Editor will be dead only because of this new web feature.The most appropriate application are still the possibility to work at your account offline und the simplicity to create and copy campaigns, adgroups and so on. To copy things into other accounts makes the editor very simple as well.Unfortunately the Google programmers work too slow to integrate new features soon :)

Alistair Dent
Dec 05, 2013

Expect a new AdWords Editor to come soon, kicking that tool back ahead of the interface in certain areas.

Rick Package
Dec 05, 2013

I have over 10,000 Ad Groups.  Mostly automated...but AWE is a nice tool.

Dec 06, 2013

For me, i would prefer the other way round.  Have full features of the web version deployed in Adwords editor, then i would use solely Adwords editor.Why settle for internet connection, even if fiber, when you can have it instantly on your disk?  Just pull the less used data on demand e.g. keyword detailsMost of the time, we need the web version + adwords editor + google analytics to do analysis and edits.The following features are lacking in Adwords editor:- keyword details- auction insights- keyword diagnosisI certainly do not think adwords editor will be retired, it offers far faster edits and comparison between campaigns.  It is not good only for edits, switching between campaigns and ad groups will always be faster locally then through the internet.Wifi is still not available everywhere in every country, and Adwords editor being a tool for global advertisers will definitely consider this.

Dec 06, 2013

The main feature I love in AWE is the copy campaign shell and paste ad schedule, device targeting, etc to all campaigns abd you only need to load once. I can't imagine Google solving the long page reload times esp with massive accts.

Dave Hassall
Dec 19, 2013

This is a very contentious issue.I use AWE for all the reasons mentioned previously. Particluarly mass bid adjustments and some complex Destination URL featuresI guess it's because it worked fine in AWE that I've not taken the time to see how the on-line version has changedI've tended to go online for the things that AWE isn't good at e.g. geo-targetingI've use Wordstream to make other changes (20 minute PPC Work Week - rocks :-) )I think my biggest concern would be the "transition" that online the changes are instantWith AWE you can make changes and check them, nothing like a typo in the Destination URL to make life interesting :-(And it's always the little things that count.The major benefit in AWE is to view unposted items and do a check. Online it's posted the moment you say SAVE and then life can / will get really messyIt might be interesting to see which tool supplier launches a replacement if it does go into the Graveyard (HINIT HINT)And that's my IMHO :-)Regards Dave

Dec 22, 2013

Extremely interesting post!According to your conclusions, I would rather agree that in 2014 this Google AdWords service will bedismissed or integrated into another service.

Lukáš Krejča
Jan 16, 2014

AdW editor is still a "must-have" for creating new bigger campaigns! Importing loads of keywords and ads, copying them, etc. is not available in AdWords interface. Although there are some errors I hate in Adw editor, it is neccesary for my work!

Jan 30, 2014

All people who optimise their campaigns daily and make tons of changes to improve the results would disagree with this. Try testing a new landing page for your ads in a semi-large account using just the AdWords interface... Yikes!

Russell Scheef
Feb 05, 2014

Hey Larry,Hope all is good - we are one of your customers, and have been using your in-house service for about 6 months,Be great if you could get in touch via email, as there were a few things I wanted to discuss.Will tell all when you email me.Cheers!Russell

Feb 06, 2014

It'd be foolish to retire AdWords Editor for the same reasons outlined by many. The simplicity and ease of use is not matched by their online UI and I don't think it ever will because it's run on the internet. You don't run into the same hiccups modifying offline, as in the slowness of the internet which directly changes how quickly you can make modifications.I really hope Google does not retire the program. 

Mar 06, 2014

omg, i can't believe what i just read.This is the first time in 10 years i have ever written a comment on a blog but man you are stupid.Another example of a newbie chasing traffic for his blog.Seriously unbelievable.p.s it's 2014 and the program isn't retired.

Adrian Bold
Apr 09, 2014

I realise I'm late to this Larry. I only just saw when, ironically, I was troubleshooting an install to the latest version. I've wondered how far the capabilities would go in the browser version, particularly with how to manage using a chromebook. However, I've always enjoyed using the Editor and still do a lot of editing there as opposed to the browser interface. I hope it's around for a while longer! 

Dave Davis
Apr 15, 2014

I can't get the darn thing to install on my MacBook/Mavericks.  I've tried two different versions, and they both come up with the same error message.  I must say that Google support has been good with multiple emails and one phone call, but the damn thing still refuses to install.

Ben Joven
May 07, 2014

They probably won't kill it, but slowly the updates will become far and few between

May 15, 2014

Google, please don't listen to Larry Kim *begs*I found the tool just today, and already love it.

Aug 13, 2014

I will continue to use Adwords Editor desktop version as I've written some middleware in Visual Studio which creates a bespoke campaign shell and allows me to import it into the desktop version of the editor as a CSV file.   I can also add sitelink extensions this way and have modified the software to create Javascript to add call extensions to each campaign which can be run from within the Adwords Scripts interface. I like the changes Google are making to the web version but at this time I'm more comfortable with the desktop version to do the grunt work then refine the campaigns via the web interface.  

Dec 18, 2014

Guess this graveyard prediction hasn't exactly played out as expected, low and behold the new AdWords Editor 11.0...

Elisa Gabbert
Dec 18, 2014

Yep...we were wrong! Larry wrote all about the new features here:

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