First Look at New Google AdWords Campaign Optimizer

Yesterday Google’s new AdWords campaign optimization tool came out of beta. The tool offers ideas for improving campaign performance by suggesting new keywords, ad copy variations, and revisions to bid prices. We tried it on several different campaigns – ones that hadn’t yet been manually optimized, and others that we’ve been working on manually for many months. First impressions:

1. The optimizer can’t be reached form within an agency’s Master Client Center; you need to log in directly to a client account (hopefully Google will fix this).

2. For relatively new, unsophisticated campaigns, the tool did a good job of suggesting new, pertinent keywords.

3. Keyword bid suggestions were uniformly much higher than the existing bids, and in all cases would have caused us to exceed campaign ROI targets if we had adopted them.

4. Given our ongoing research into Contextual advertising (see previous posts), we were particularly interested in whether the tool would offer useful suggestions for Content campaigns. No such luck; the keywords suggested would have broadened the campaigns to cause them to be displayed on more sites whose topics/content were outside our target range.

5. My biggest beef: very often the keywords suggested already existed in other campaigns. Surely the Opitmizer could test for this and omit those keywords – or at least flag them.

6. Ad suggestions worked mysteriously – in most cases, no ad suggestions were offered. In two cases, the suggestions pertained to very minor changes in the display urls.

7. The Optimizer couldn’t handle very large campaigns (we have several with 50k+ keywords).

Bottom line: the tool can be useful, especially if Google continues to improve it – but for now, it seems to be a mashup of other AdWords tools like the Keyword Tool and the (still in beta) Ad Text Ideas tool – a combination that doesn’t seem to add much value, for now.