AdWords Report Editor

This week Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro) came up with yet another great question set titled “AdWords Report Editor.” The following is the transcribed Streamcap from the live chat:

Q1: Have you used the new AdWords Report Editor and what are your thoughts?

  • Used it but the fact that I can’t segment by labels is silly. – Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
  • I’ve played around with it – it’s a neat tool, but not sure how much it really differs from what we can see in dimensions tab. – Matt Umbro
  • Pretty nifty so far, but I’ve yet to integrate/replace any of my current reporting processes with it. – Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
  • Good in a pinch, but not bringing miracles to the table. Like Google sheets, it just lacks in comparision to what excel can do. – Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
  • The report editor is pretty schnazy. It’s nice to have an easy to use GUI interface within AdWords, still assessing the value. It’s good for investigating in the UI, but won’t replace Excel for reporting requirements. – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
  • So far it hasn’t solved any of the problems I was hoping it would solve. – Amy Hebdon (@amyppc)
  • I’ve played around, but need to get my hands properly dirty. – Steve Cameron (@adventcom)
  • Any improvement is nice improvement when you’re trying to show something on the fly to a client, though. – Mark Irvine
  • I think it’s a good tool, like it very much. It doesn’t produce something that was unreachable before, but its speed allows for analysis you otherwise wouldnt bother with. I believe the editor belongs in every AdWords Pro’s toolbox. – Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)

Q2: Would you feel comfortable endorsing the Report Editor to clients who want to dig in and run reports? Why or why not?

  • Not sure… data is great if you can read what it means. – Steve Cameron
  • I really want to say YES, but it also means hours of education when they have questions because they don’t understand nuances. – Christi Olson
  • I would, I’d tell the client to run reports with caution, but I think it could be a great help. – Matt Umbro
    • But a little bit of knowledge can be a very dangerous thing! – Steve Cameron
      • Here here! It’s too easy to accidentally come to the wrong conclusions when you don’t understand what your looking at. – Christi Olson
  • Ideally, yes, but since there’s so much context that a client could potentially NOT account for I have to practically say no. – Gil Hong
  • Absolutely. Clients can run whatever reports they want (it is their account). – Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
    • The questions is really whether we would a) be happy about it and b) recommend that they do. – Steve Cameron
      • a) yes – I’d be happy b) I see what you men – not sure about that one. – Richard Fergie
    • I think Report Editor is a good step to reduce those 1 off requests, which can be a time suck. – Matt Umbro
  • Reports, data, and numbers are dangerous if you don’t know what to do with them. Don’t empower clients who aren’t ready for it. – Mark Irvine
  • On the other hand, creating saved reports they can check whenever can be ok (like in Analytics). – Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
  • Yes. So to sound like an after-school special, the more you know. – James Svoboda (@Realicity)
  • I guess I was hoping for dashboard functionality, not individual graphs. It still feels very one-off. – Amy Hebdon
  • I have a couple of clients that are tech-xperts so I could see mentioning it to them. Otherwise not much value. – Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
  • Transparency is usually great, unless it’s about how sausage is made. Or assumptions are made about the scope & context of data. – James Hebdon (@jphebdon)

Q3: What do you believe Google’s intents/desire are by releasing the Report Editor? Why?

  • IMHO it’s for in-house reporting and to investigate in the UI. It’s helpful for quick “deep dives” and trending info. – Christi Olson
  • I’m more suspect that the old UI reports were beginning to show their age. The update seems inline with similar platforms. – Mark Irvine
  • It’s for the non-agency advertiser, especially smaller businesses. – Coy Robison
  • Lessen impact of 3rd parties – both tools & agencies. Portray it as even more DIY friendly. – Julie Bacchini
  • To give advertisers more data that they want/need without bogging down the main “Management” tabs too much. – James Svoboda
  • They were hoping to remove the reliance of a Microsoft product in managing campaigns. – Ryan Mower (@ryandmower)
  • All about the SMBs. Enhanced was for SMB. Call-only campaigns target SMB. It’s a huge market. – Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
  • Also, there is usually a benefit in having (good) tools grouped in one place. I prefer this aspect if the tools are quality. – Kirk Williams
  • Google is ever mysterious – but I’m positive it has nothing to do with chipping away at rival marketshare. The current reporting solution is weak for what most marketers need, but for the AdWords Express Market.. Might be just right. – James Hebdon

Side Q: Was the Report Editor hype worth the more than year wait?

  • Probably not – but just you wait until drafts go live. – Steve Cameron
  • No. I mean a whole year for a company the size of Goog… – James Svoboda
  • I think Google doesn’t really get the concept of “under promise & over deliver”. – Julie Bacchini
  • No, but hopefully no one was waiting with baited breath for a pivot table. – Mark Irvine

Q4: Not including analysis, could you provide informative reports to clients w/ ONLY the AdWords reporting functions? Why or why not? In other words, do AdWords native reporting features give you enough to effectively showcase the work you are performing?

  • I guess we could, but for existing clients it doesn’t match their reporting format so they wouldn’t be happy. – Christi Olson
  • Depends on what they’d need + how pretty reports would have to be. But sure, why not. – Martin Roettgerding
  • At a basic level, “no” because I need my PPC reports to also include Bing. – Kirk Williams
    • Agree, the new reports won’t give a holistic picture of all engines. – Christi Olson
  • Most didn’t read the old reports – no reason to think they’d read the new ones. – Steve Cameron
  • If all your goals in analytics tracking back to AdWords correctly, including call tracking, and client’s expectations are low. – James Svoboda
  • Certain GA metrics or 3rd party call/analytics are a necessity for some clients. – Gil Hong
  • The test of your client management skills isn’t always going to be in what they numbers are, but in how you explain them. – Mark Irvine
  • So far the Report Editor isn’t made to replace client reporting completely. But if you could combine reports and add comments. In any case it beats the tables you were able to download before. Most of the time at least, since some metrics are missing. – Martin Roettgerding

Q5: How do you work with clients who require too many reports (however you judge that figure)?

  • We like to find out what their reporting looks like (to higher ups/stakeholders) and see if we can save time reformatting. – Gil Hong
  • See this is where I find the Report Editor could help – it’s a way to allow clients to run reports themselves. Although I certainly understand the concerns as we’ve discussed today. – Matt Umbro
  • Big part of our job/value is to help clients focus on what is actually important, not just what seems important. – Julie Bacchini
    • True, but easier said than done when telling a client they need less reporting. – Matt Umbro
      • Yeah, agreed, I see the value in pulling quick custom reports. – Kirk Williams
      • Is it less reporting or more concise reporting to answer specific business questions? – Christi Olson
      • I haven’t found that to be true, generally. Many clients are getting information, but not in a way that is meaningful. Further, a lot of clients actually want less data in the report & more narrative/recommendations. – Julie Bacchini
        • Yeah I hear what you are saying – some push back more than others. – Matt Umbro
          • Back to education! Just bc you can do & report on all the things doesn’t mean you should. Focus on KPIs. – Christi Olson
            • Always have the data easily available to back up narrative, but don’t necessarily have to include. – Julie Bacchini
  • Ask lots of Q’s to get to the root cause of “what they need” and “why”. Reports for the sake of reports or to answer biz Q’s. – Christi Olson
  • Be honest about the time reporting takes away from time management. Most clients will scale back reporting demands. – Mark Irvine

Q6: What reporting features/updates would you like to see in AdWords? Why?

  • Full reporting support when new updates are rolled out *cough* final urls *cough* – Gil Hong
  • I would love for AdWords to understand that labels are not just something you put on file folders. – Julie Bacchini
  • An “Engagement” metric that can be defined through Analytics. Not a conversion goal, but something better defined. – James Svoboda
  • If I can act on it, I should have access to data to support that action. That’s all I ask. – Mark Irvine
  • Would like the ability to use labels in Report Editor. – James Hume (@zerospin)
  • AdWords used to have a separate ReportingCenter that got merged into the regular interface. Same fate for Report Editor one day? – Martin Roettgerding
  • Don’t know if possible, but I would like reports to come out better formatted so we spend less time cleaning up. – Matt Umbro
    • So true, how many hours wasted in a career cutting date etc off top of a AdWords export. – James Hume
    • Actually, Google introduced the ability to cut off dates + totals for API reports recently. Much better. – Martin Roettgerding
  • For the moment I’d be happy if they completed the Report Editor: Labels, access to all metrics, fewer surveys. – Martin Roettgerding
  • It would also be nice to annotate conversions similar to Analytics annotations or potentially create a column that has legitimate conversions (especially in lead gen campaigns). ie: the interface would tell you how many conversions you saw and how many legitimate leads. – Matt Umbro
  • Language reporting, for that wonderful conversation with my AdWords Rep…you all know what I’m talking about. – Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)

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More PPCChats

Don’t forget to stay tuned for the next #PPCchat on Tuesday at 12 noon Eastern, 9 am Pacific and 5pm in the UK. Same Chat time, same Chat channel.


Check out the PPCChat Twitter list to see and connect with all current and prior participants.

• Matt Umbro (@Matt_Umbro)
• James Svoboda (@Realicity)
• Paul Kragthorpe (@PaulKragthorpe)
• Amy Hebdon (@amyppc)
• Brett Stevens (@BrettStevens1)
• Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson)
• Coy Robison (@IamCoy)
• Gil Hong (@Gil__Hong)
• James Hebdon (@jphebdon)
• James Hume (@zerospin)
• Julie Bacchini (@NeptuneMoon)
• Kirk Williams (@PPCKirk)
• Mark Irvine (@MarkIrvine89)
• Martin Roettgerding (@bloomarty)
• Richard Fergie (@RichardFergie)
• Robert Brady (@robert_brady)
• Ryan Mower (@ryandmower)
• Steve Cameron (@adventcom)

The Streamcap Editor

This is a guest post by Paul Kragthorpe; works at WebRanking in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Connect with Paul @PaulKragthorpe, and Google Plus.

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