AdWords has made some giant steps forwards in 2012, but I still have a fairly substantial list of additional features that I would like to see soon.

So here I present my AdWords wishlist for 2013:

Better control of search partners

One thing that I’d really like to be able to do is have better control over search partners.

This would include:

  1. Appearing for search partners only, rather than having to be opted into a Google campaign.
  2. Reporting on how individual search partners are performing.
  3. Ability to easily include/exclude individual search partners from showing your ads.
  4. Individual keyword performance segmentations of search partners.

By administering all of the above changes, we would see a huge range of benefits to how search partners could perform.

The first would allow for much better control of the bidding in order to maximise performance. Two and three would improve performance through correct targeting of individual channels, while number four would allow you to see how specific keywords are doing on search partners and optimise accordingly.

More data in search term reports

Search term reports are great – and they have improved significantly over the last couple of years. However, it would be more useful if we could see reports for traffic that has had impressions but never led to any clicks.

There may be some search phrases out there that are triggering our keywords without us ever noticing since nobody is clicking them. This can diminish CTRs and quality score across keywords and have an overall negative affect on the accounts.

There are a couple of tools which can help out with this at the moment but it would be easiest if we could see the data within AdWords.

Better control over keyword-targeted display campaigns

I absolutely love some of the developments with GDN over the last year. However, it still seems like contextual targeting does not work as well as I would like it to. I’d like to see the introduction of phrase match types on the GDN so our ads will only appear on pages where a certain phrase appears.

It currently seems that, even with a highly relevant keyword list, we can appear on some completely irrelevant placements.

AdWords Editor to be in-line with the web interface

AdWords Editor is a fantastic tool for managing your campaigns – but there is still some catching up for it to do. Some things I’d like to be able to do in Editor are:

  • Search term reports (with easy dragging/dropping/editing of new positive or negative keywords).
  • Value tracking columns – seems odd that these have been in AdWords for so long but still haven’t found their way to Editor.
  • Impression share columns – as above.
  • Columns for multiple conversion types (the web interface could do with these also).
  • Google Analytics stats (admittedly these are new in AdWords so I wouldn’t expect them in Editor just yet).

Mobile application / website

It seems like Google is always telling us how important mobile is and how all of our clients should have mobile websites – yet it still hasn't taken its own advice! I would love to see a cut-down version of AdWords available for mobile.

It would make it very convenient for making quick changes on the go without having to find a laptop or a computer.

More control over product listing ads

It seems the way these are targeted is a little backwards at the moment. You have to let Google work out which products should show for which keywords and then add negatives if you don’t like its choice.

There are ways to get around this with very careful planning of AdWords labels in the merchant centre feed, but it can be a lot of work and still ends up a long way from perfect. It seems to me that it would make more sense to simply choose which products you would like to show for each keyword.

In the current situation you could have a retailer selling sheds, and if someone simply searches for ‘Sheds’ then the entire product range would be eligible to show. Everything from a normal garden shed, to a potting shed, to a bike shed.

Experiments on settings and multiple experiments per campaign

I’m a big fan of AdWords Campaign Experiments, but there are currently some fairly tight restrictions on what you can experiment with. For example, you can currently only have one experiment running per campaign. This causes some fairly obvious restrictions on what can be tested.

I’d also love to be able to experiment with the campaign settings. E.g., how does altering the geo-targeting affect matters? Or what would happen if we add some new languages into the targeting? Or would a different ad scheduling profile improve lost impression share?

All of these could yield valuable results and a scientifically accurate controlled experiment.

Historical quality score reports

This is a fairly simple one and would avoid the need to pull manual reports on this data. It would be useful to see how your quality scores have fluctuated over a matter of months and which optimisations these coincide with.

Ad scheduler based on time zone

This is a great idea that a colleague suggested. We deal with many clients around the world and doing ad scheduling in multiple time zones can prove an absolute nightmare! It would be great if the ad scheduling worked on the users’ local time zone rather than it needing to be a setting in AdWords.

Pete Whitmarsh

Published 11 December, 2012 by Pete Whitmarsh

Pete Whitmarsh is Head of PPC at Search Laboratory and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (5)


Tim Jensen

Geotargeting by ad group would be awesome, as well. Bing Ads definitely has the advantage in this area.

over 5 years ago


Neale Gilhooley

How about getting rid of anomalies such as one day your AdWords reports says of a certain keyword:
“Low search volume” then the next week is says “Below first page bid”

You do a manual search and see no other advertisers, but yet you need to pay more to be on page 1…. How does that work?

over 5 years ago


Gerry Cavander

I’d like to see the introduction of some aggregate / discounted pricing when I’m advertising in multiple languages.

Gerry Cavander

over 5 years ago


Dan Morris

Funny how Google doesn't a mobile version of AdWords.

over 5 years ago

Heledd Jones

Heledd Jones, Marketing Manager at Admiral Loans

Historical Quality Score reports are on my wishlist too - I can't understand why they haven't done it (unless they're scared to show what an odd metric QS can be at times!)

over 5 years ago

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