How to retain Google history in AdWords Editor

I can’t imagine my working life without it now. In actual fact – how did we cope before AdWords Editor?

If you’re not already familiar with AdWords Editor it’s a great offline tool from Google to speed up creation and management of AdWords accounts.

You install Editor on your local machine, download your current configuration and make changes to your account offline until you are happy to upload the changes. Find more information here.

I find AdWords Editor incredibly useful when taking over management of existing client PPC campaigns. This frequently involves a lot of restructuring as accounts may have been set up with 10’s if not 100’s of keywords crammed into the same Ad Group. Editor allows me to get things right offline, so I can be confident everything works well before going live.

If an Ad Group contains one particularly well-performing keyword then we look to ‘peel and stick’. Peel and stick? It’s the process of pausing a better performing keyword (generally with high click-throughs) and placing it in its own highly targeted Ad Group.

Isolating effective keywords using ‘peel and stick’ generally improves CTR’s as your advert can be much more targeted. A high performance keyword just isn’t as cost-effective in amongst lots of under-performing variations in one huge Ad Group.

What about the keyword history? Will it be lost?
Well, it depends how you restructure the account. I’ve read some well-known books which advocate deleting the keyword and then creating it again in a new Ad Group. Personally I think this is unwise as once you delete a keyword you can’t restore it, and if something goes wrong then your history is lost.

It’s not only keyword history you will loose, ad history is important too. If you’ve spent 6 months testing new ads and trying to improve click-through-rates and then create a brand new Ad Group, Google will view this as entirely new and untested. By starting from scratch you will end up paying more to prove to Google that you are a relevant and reliable source all over again.

So how do you retain the keyword and ad history?
Using AdWords Editor right-click and copy the entire Ad Group which contains your keyword and paste into your desired location, whether it be in the same campaign or a new one.

Once the Ad Group has been copied, delete all irrelevant keywords. My advice would be to keep the existing adverts associated with the old Ad Group but to introduce new ones into the mix. This way Google can tell that you’re introducing a new ad amongst tried and tested ads and these generally ‘bed in’ quicker.

Although you cannot see any history on the Ad Group you’ve just copied, don’t worry, Google can. I recently tested this on one of our client’s main keyword phrases which they’ve spent near to £1M on and have drastically lowered the CPC over the past couple of years. In fact this keyword is incredibly expensive to target if you’re new to the market.

I used the technique above and managed to switch from the old to the new Ad Group without any increase in CPC. But I would personally advise to be careful and err on the side of caution and test, test and test.

This issue of account history raises another question. How much can you edit or change your advert before Google views it as new? This question will be tackled in the near future, so keep on checking our blog or subscribe to our RSS feed.