Google has launched AdWords Editor 12, the latest upgrade to its essential software for sophisticated PPC practitioners.
Complete with a new look and a raft of useful features, it is a welcome upgrade and marks the biggest improvement to the platform since version 11.0 launched in 2014.
Below, we have summarized everything you need to know about AdWords Editor 12 and also delved into what this update tells us about Google’s current and future strategy.
What is AdWords Editor?
AdWords editor is a free, downloadable application that allows users to edit campaigns in minute detail outside of the AdWords platform. This has the advantage of providing more control over edits, but also the very significant ability to work on campaigns even when a user is offline.
Originally released in 2006, the pace of improvement has relented a little of late. AdWords Editor 11.0 was released way back in 2014, bringing with a raft of much-requested changes like the ability to make bulk updates to multiple ad groups or campaigns at once.
We have seen helpful improvements since then all they way up to version 11.8, particularly the ability to connect up to five AdWords accounts to one email address, added late last year.
Nonetheless, we have been kept waiting until now for an update worthy of the version 12 moniker.
So, what’s new in AdWords Editor 12?
First impressions are, as is so often the case, guided by aesthetics. Editor has a new look that aligns it with the rest of Google’s product suite, which is a surprisingly late alteration for a company so committed to consistent cosmetics.
The importance of this contemporary mien is confirmed by Google’s own announcement, which led with: “AdWords Editor 12 offers a fresh look and new features.”
But let’s dig deeper and get to those “new features”, as there is a lot below the surface that is worthy of examination too.
Maximize conversions bidding support:
The ‘maximize conversions’ bidding option was released last month on the web version of AdWords, so this is hardly a surprising launch in version 12. Even so, it is still very welcome and provides the option for users to allow Google’s advanced machine learning technology to set bids automatically within real-time bidding auctions. This means advertisers can get as many of their defined ‘conversions’ as possible for their daily budget.
Available at the campaign level within Editor, maximize conversions is found within the ‘Bid strategy’ drop-down list:
AdWords Editor now includes a host of custom rules, designed to ensure advertisers follow Google’s lengthy list of best practices. Editor will now let users know if their campaigns fall below Google’s standard before they are uploaded to AdWords. This is a pretty handy insight into what Google expects and wants to see from ad campaigns.
A list of the rules included are listed in the screenshot below and, as the name suggests, there is plenty of room for customization.
New fields for responsive ads:
A slew of new, editable fields have been added for responsive ads, including logos, promotion text, price prefixes, and CTA text.
Increased multimedia UAC support:
Universal App Campaigns make great use of Google’s machine learning technology. Advertisers can upload their creative assets and Google automatically generates the most appropriate video or image to promote the app to users across its range of products, including the Google Display Network, Search, and YouTube. Support is now provided for up to 20 videos or images within AdWords Editor 12, a significant upgrade.
We can expect to see version 12.1 sometime very soon, so we should really view this as the beginning of a process rather than a finished product.
Evolution, not revolution
That said, there is still a sense that, for all its launch has been heralded, version 12.0 hasn’t delivered the newsworthy, paradigm-shifting features of its predecessor.
There are commonalities across the updates in Editor 12, nonetheless, and they are representative of Google’s wider business strategy.
The phrase “machine learning” invariably crops up in any Google update now and it appears in abundance in relation to the newest AdWords Editor. The application provides more control to advanced users, no doubt, with its customizable fields and filters.
This sense of control for account managers becomes evermore illusory, however, as the essential workings of the machine reside on Google’s side of the fence.
Universal App Campaigns and Maximize Conversions serve as ideal harbingers of a new, AI-led approach to bidding, targeting, and personalization. Google provides access to these features, for a price, which levels the playing field for a wider group of advertisers. The differentiating factor between these campaigns will likely come down to the human element, often led by the meticulous work done in AdWords Editor.
In that sense, this update is a very significant marker of where the industry stands in 2017. The opportunities to gain a competitive advantage through old-fashioned PPC expertise are more valuable than ever, as machine learning tightens its grip over all aspects of paid search, from account structure to creative delivery.
AdWords Editor 12 may not have introduced these notions, but it certainly serves to solidify them.