Friday, 12 November 2010

Moving Reports

Better late than never, as they say.

If you haven't already noticed, take this as information that the reporting system for Adwords has changed dramatically. Those of you who were used to the 'Reporting' tab offering a bewildering array of report types and options are now going to find this list curtailed to (at the time of writing) just one. In time even this will vanish.

Aaaaaaaaargh! So how do I run reports now?

What Google have done is actually quite sensible. The old system had screens that displayed data about your account(s) in one place (the Adwords interface) then you had to go to an entirely different place, choose a load of options, click a load of boxes to replicate the data you'd just seen. So, instead of having a separate reporting page, Adwords now allows you to download the information you see in your interface directly. If you see it on screen, you can download it.

But Google haven't just 'moved' the reports. Combining them with the actual interface has allowed them to provide more interactivity and one of the best examples of this is my personal favourite, the old 'Search Query Performance Report'. If you run campaigns using the Search Network and have never run this report then shame on you. I firmly believe that no search campaign can be tuned efficiently without regular examination of this report. In short, the SQPR showed you the actual search terms that resulted in a click on your ads. It was invaluable because it allowed you to see potential phrase and exact matches and, better still, gave great ideas for negatives, allowing you to dramatically improve CTR and conversion rates. However, it was a slow process. Because the old report was run separately from the interface, you had to run it, view it (or download it), then look through it painstakingly for ideas. The new reporting method doesn't just provide the same information but also gives you direct access to your keyword list(s) based on the information shown.

Click on your 'Keywords' tab for any of your search campaigns (with clicks!), then click on 'See search terms'. You can choose to show 'All' or just those for the selected keywords. Adwords will then display all the search terms that caused a click on one of your ads, along with the match type. This, so far, is all the old report did. However, the new interface also shows you keywords that exist in your list (shows 'Added' next to the search term) and, most importantly, allows you to instantly add any shown search term as a positive or negative keyword. Just select the search term then click 'Add as keyword' or 'Add as negative keyword' as appropriate. With this new interface you can very rapidly alter your keyword lists based on actual search terms - no guessing involved.

So, it's another big change for the Adwords interface and although it's a shock to the system, I do think it's a change for the better in the long run.

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