Google has always had a place to showcase recommended changes to your account. In the old interface, this was the Opportunities tab. Over the years, many account managers trained themselves to ignore this tab because most of the recommendations seemed to be suggestions on how to spend more money without regard for an account’s strategy. As AdWords users have been migrated over to the new user interface, these suggestions have also migrated to a new place: the Recommendations tab.
While PPC managers might not have paid much heed to the “Opportunities” of the past, paid search professionals will do well to get familiar with the new “Recommendations” section. There is a wider range of recommended changes to your account that fall into four broad categories:
- Bids & Budgets
- Keywords & Targeting
- Ads & Extensions
Each category makes suggestions that affect different groups of common problems in AdWords campaigns.
Repairs are technical issues keeping your ads from serving properly. These include broken URLs, disapproved ads, and empty ad groups. If you are actively monitoring your accounts, you’re probably on top of these things, but it’s nice to have all of these potential issues consolidated in one spot.
Bids & Budgets
Bids & Budget recommendations will probably look the most familiar to users – and are probably one of the things that annoyed you about the old Opportunities tab. Most of these can be described as alerts that Google has sent when they found places where you could be spending more money, but are limited somehow. There are also generic recommendations about switching to a bid strategy such as Target CPA.
Keywords & Targeting
Things start to get more interesting as we move into the Keywords & Targeting set of recommendations. There are some holdovers like “add phrase or broad match versions of your keywords,” of course. But there are also some useful new additions. Remove redundant keywords is a useful tool, for example.
Over time, your account can start to accumulate lots of keywords. As Google’s algorithm has evolved over the years, the need for multiple variations on a theme has been reduced, so finding opportunities to reduce duplicates and other redundancies can make managing your accounts easier.
There’s also a tool for alerting you to non-serving keywords – keywords that have been active for at least a year without serving a single impression. Once again, eliminating these extreme low-traffic keywords can help ease your job as an account manager.
Ads & Extensions
The last category of recommendations is Ads and Extensions. Here Google alerts you to ad groups with too few ads for effective testing, as well as opportunities to increase your use of Ad Extensions. AdWords will even create suggested ads for you in some cases. One important note here: AdWords will also automatically add these to your account after a certain time unless you change this setting.
It’s a bit annoying, but you have to explicitly opt out of this if you don’t want AdWords writing your ad copy for you. For most businesses and AdWords managers, it’s best to keep full control over the copy in your ads.
In the end, the AdWords Recommendations tab is a step toward greater understanding of your AdWords campaigns without shamelessly pushing you to spend more money, but it still requires careful navigation and decision making to make maximum advantage.
There’s no need to learn the ins and outs of AdWords Recommendations when you’ve got the paid search team at Leverage Marketing on your side. Let us show you what we can do.