5 annoying AdWords bugs only the pros know


Love it or hate it, you’re here because Google AdWords is an important part of your business — and maybe even your day-to-day life.

And if you’re like me, there are some things about AdWords that drive you crazy. In order to move efficiently and surface meaningful data, you need to be a pro, a robot, a magician or all of the above.

I love Google AdWords. But these five things have got to change in Google’s new dashboard design coming later this year.

1. Always having to rename your campaigns

AdWords Campaign Naming Bug

At some point in all of our lives, the AdWords dashboard was brand new to us. Maybe that’s you now. If it is, you’re freshly aware that starting your first campaign is daunting. It takes a lot of studying, research, trial and error.

Instead of hitting the ground running, this tiny bug in campaign creation is a perfect way to start your newest campaign off on the wrong foot and lose confidence in the campaign as a whole.

Similar error: When going through the search report (like every self-respecting advertiser should do), you may be excluding a bunch of search terms in one big pass. If one of the search terms you select is longer than the 80-character limit, it will simply trigger a general error. Rather than telling you which search term is over the limit, you have to parse through the whole thing and count characters to find the infraction.

2. Unknowingly showing campaigns ONLY on mobile devices

show only on mobile devices button

Tell me that checkbox doesn’t say:

Google:  Would you like this ad to also show on mobile?

You: Yes! Sounds great. 

Google [to the account]: Okay, mobile only. Order up.

Google [to you]: Awesome. Next window for payment, please.

Checking this box means Mobile-Only. 

There a number of important situations for mobile-only campaigns. In fact, it’s a common best practice to segment your ad groups to optimize for device placement.

But clicking this button unknowingly can have some serious consequences for your ROI.

Implementing Call-Only Campaigns and using Call Extensions on mobile and desktop, for example, is one of my three favorite AdWords hacks. Not only do they drive high-quality leads, they can generate free sales from your AdWords ad.

Yes. I just used the words “free” and “AdWords” in the same sentence.

If you show your phone number to desktop users or mobile users without the click-to-call button, and they simply type in your phone number to make the call, Google can’t track it as a “click” or “conversion,” which means they can’t charge you.

This pesky, misleading button will prevent this from happening!

3. There’s only one way to eliminate your ads from showing on mobile apps… and I have to be the one to tell you how!

The only way to prevent your ads from popping up within Mobile Apps for display campaigns is by going into [PLACEMENTS] and eliminating adsenseformobileapps.com.

If you don’t know this totally random fact, you’re toast.

Some may push back here and say, “What’s wrong with in-app ads?” Since their release, Google has spent the last four years working to prevent fraudulent and accidental clicks. They’ve done an awesome job. BUT these years of poor user experience have soured the efficacy of in-app ads.

On a similar note: Why the heck is manually adjusting bids to negative 100 percent for mobile devices the only way to prevent your ads from showing on mobile? If you convert poorly on mobile or aren’t optimized for a mobile experience, there should be a more up-front option to prevent this.

4. Google couldn’t come up with a better name than Callout Extension? Really?

Here’s the difference between a Call Extension and a Callout Extension.

callout-extension-banner call-extension-banner

It’s obvious that these are both extremely valuable, but in different scenarios. While not technically a bug, the title similarity is confusing and makes for an easy misclick that will show your audience special offers instead of your phone number.

In monkey-see-monkey-do fashion, Bing uses the same silly naming convention for its ad extensions.

Think you know the difference? Test your skills with the Search Engine Land ad extension quiz here!

5. We can’t visualize different conversions

Most businesses are tracking multiple types of conversions in their AdWords accounts. For example, a business should be tracking key button clicks, form fills, registrations, sales and sales over a certain amount as separate conversions in AdWords.

Though AdWords does an amazing job of letting you track all sorts of customizable events and actions, it’s really tough to see which campaigns are generating what.

Let’s say you have 11 different conversions over three conversion types. This is the best you can do at the account and campaign level:

breakdown of conversions by name adwords

Nameless conversions and blurred out numbers are about as useful as not being able to segment by conversion type.

So, Google, can we please get a breakdown of conversion type like we can in Google Analytics for Christmas this year?

How do we fix this?

I feel like a campaign worker asking you to call your local representative, but share this post, call Google or scream out loud. Perhaps Google can work out the kinks before their new dashboard release in the next year!

What else would you like to see changed?

Let us know in the comments.

P.S. Google keeps a log on its known bugs and bug fixes. Let’s try and get some of these up there!

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