AdWords Opportunities Tab – Use With Caution

A couple weeks ago I wrote about some suggestions in the AdWords Opportunities section that were well thought out, insightful and helpful if applied in a broader context.

Today I will be writing about an opportunity that would lead to a disapproved ad and shows that Google needs to keep working on their suggestions BEFORE they go out to advertisers.

“Create new, more relevant ads,” They Said

During a regular review of the Opportunities section of AdWords (in the new interface) I came across this suggestion that would help me “create new, more relevant ads”.

I recognized that the word missing from the ads was a competitor name; which was left out intentionally. But since Google was suggesting it I clicked on “View opportunity” to see what would happen. This is what I got:

The user experience is solid. They give me the ability to create the ad right there. It was pre-filled even (I removed the text for the screenshot). I could have easily tweaked the H1 to include the competitor name and hit “Apply”.

But I know better.

I know that I can’t include a competitor’s trademark in my ad copy or the ad will be disapproved. Perhaps the most humorous part is the note at the bottom that says I’m “solely responsible” for my ad despite AdWords directly saying I had an “Opportunity” to improve the relevance of my ad by including the competitor name in the ad. The irony is almost too much.

The Machines Still Need A Lot Of Help

First, I would point out this is a cautionary tale about machine learning. In virtually any other ad group this is a solid suggestion. If a word or phrase appears repeatedly in the keywords of your ad group you would be wise to include it in your ad copy; from both a user perspective and a QS perspective. However, in a competitor situation, this is kryptonite. You’ll end up with disapproved ads and extra work/hassle.

Second, it shows that people are still very much needed in PPC efforts, especially ad writing. As a PPC manager, you understand the general principles that can be applied to every situation so that you arrive at an intelligent solution. Since I knew the trademark policy, I didn’t even have to make the mistake here. That is valuable and always will be.

How do you think AdWords could improve on their suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below.