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Why is Google Adwords so hard to use ?
I am not thick, but it is very hard to use.

 10:09 am on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I consider myself very computer literate.
I have designed Access databases, taught myeslf basic HTML, photoshop, Excell and can trouble shoot pcs etc, and have built several pcs.

Yet I cannot use Adwords Standard edition.

Whenever I go into my account to do something basic I can never find it. It takes me ages looking around their poor screens, and their "help" screens and after half an hour of my valuable time I still chave nto done waht I wanted to do.

Eg I can never finds how to edit my ad.
I cannot find out how to change my daily budget or my maximum cost per click.

Let alone use any of the advanced features.

Adwords must be the most poorly written software in the world.

What do you think ?



 6:27 pm on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

The thread The Small Local Business The Internet and Adwords [webmasterworld.com] seems to speak to this issue as well, at least in part.

My own thoughts about such things as the difficulty of using any product are along the line of thinking that complexity is too often accepted as the price for progress, especially by those who design but don't actually use the products. There is a huge difference between testing and actually using a product.

The result is products that are too often needlessly confusing and difficult to understand and use.


 2:21 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

actually google adwords is a good things, with it's help our company get the main profit from the sale.
I recommend you read the instrution on the website link:www.google.com/adwords/leaningcenter


 3:18 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sure it is hard - but well worth figuring it out - and I do not recommend doing-it-yourself through trial-and error learning as it HAS gotten too complicated, bids can be very high (and deceptive) and the system has lots of extremely useful complexity that in the hands of someone who doesn't know what the are doing can be quite overwhelming.

After ~10 years of using AdWords - starting with Overture before it was Overture I think I know a bit about PPC advertising.

I'm a bit biased - as a professional - most people starting PPC need a professional to help get them started. Sometimes it is the starters that bid things up inappropriately and cause bids to rise inappropriately.

Of course, some might say that is good for Google - others say this is good for the professional as there is reason for them to get help when they discover how many mistakes they can make and how wasteful, expensive and slow learning by doing can be.

There are tons of books - tons of "get rich quick" style authors, almost a whole genera of Adwords newsletters, blogs, sites, books, software, value added services, etc; some of it is not to be trusted, and most needs to be read with a giant grain of salt.

The best advice - find someone who has run small AdWords campaigns for a few years to help you set up your account and help you determine if you need a real professional.

Some folks want someone in their office to do this with them - others can do it online with comfort - I personally prefer and recommend the face to face relationship - but hey - I've learned so much here from Netmeg, eWhisper and others here whom I have never met - so there are tons of ways to get going.

Another great resource are books (albeit a bit dated but pretty good for beginners) by Andrew Goodman (if I can drop the name...)

Like anything today, you might have to try a few books, a few experiments, talk to a few experts, go to a few seminars, download a few tools etc before you can really get your head around this.

And in closing, keep in mind that they're going to keep moving the cheese around so don't be upset if things don't quite seem right.

Good luck!


 4:04 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

As a small business owner..let me put it this way..

I have managed to get my bids down to between 2 cent to 5 cents ( content - Search) and now don't dare TOUCH anything..I am too scared to S**r*w up the system. I live in fear that someday, I will wake up to USD 10 min bids.. So I don't experiment anymore..


 7:33 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

It is not too complicated. Just like IT and accounting and any other aspect of any business. Those things are done by specialist because it takes some time to learn and get good at it. If you need to spend more time managing your business then hire somebody.

It is more complicated than putting in a list of keywords and setting bids and budgets. Unless your willing to put in the time and learn it your just not going to do as well as a professional. Anything is going to be hard if you don't read the instructions. Google has everything you need to learn how to do it. There are lots of forums and blogs you can read and online radio shows you can listen to.

If you have a question you can ask it in here and we will answer it for you if you want to continue to do on your own. There are plenty of people that will do your PPC for $500-$1000 a month depending on how much you spend. Most agencies charge a percentage of your spend.


 8:46 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I concur with the OP.

I am completely computer literate and Adwords is totally confusing for me.

I still to this day do not know what a "quality score" is or how to get one.

I also can't recall whether it's adwords or adsense is the one that you put on your hompage to make money.

Adwords is definitely not an intuitive program.


 2:23 pm on Apr 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I still to this day do not know what a "quality score" is or how to get one.

I also can't recall whether it's adwords or adsense is the one that you put on your hompage to make money.

I would question how much effort you have actually put into learning Adwords. If I go to Google right now and search for "quality score" I'd imagine you will find the answer to that question as the first result on the page.

You may want to consider reading up on these topics here at WW. Being "computer literate" doesn't mean you are an expert on everything "computer" and everyone's definition of this topic is different. Perhaps "computer literate" and "Internet advertising literate" are different?

I know how to tie my shoe, but does that make me a fashion expert?


 5:53 pm on Apr 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

considering it's a paid service, i am surprised it is not easier to use; however, as devil's advocate, you could use it for its basic functionality and be done with it; you decrease the chances of making money if you don't know how to enhance your quality score, publish your ads at the right time of day or split test for a valid experiment.

a good way to get a start is by becoming a certified Adwords professional. you take the modules, pass the class, and work towards managing the amount required; $1,000 in 3 months. from there it's trial and error; just don't make your errors so big that you can't run anymore trials - start with a small budget, almost like paper trading stocks. and track your results.


 11:24 pm on Apr 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

I love having a million options for things but I like to be able to turn them off or not mess with them if I don't want to. They need more tabs with levels of options. New users, advanced, super advanced, etc.

I spend a lot less on it than I used to when it was simpler because I go in, look and say "gotta come back and learn this more". So instead of spending thousands a month, it's down to hundreds now.

It's light years better than Yahoo (GoTo when I started with it) and MSN but I don't have the time to do all that it can do.

All that is great for people who make money off from running the campaigns. Good for them that's it too complicated for mom and pops. But then it means that some advertisers can't afford to use it at all.

The now killed Google radio ad program was easier to use and get up and running.


 12:55 am on Apr 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd say absolutely yes.

Most get frustrated when they realize they'll need to pay 80 cents + to get clicks while at the same time they receive less than 5 cents if someone clicks on their own adsense... same keywords.

There is a rather large void between the two.


 10:10 pm on Apr 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Most get frustrated when they realize they'll need to pay 80 cents + to get clicks while at the same time they receive less than 5 cents if someone clicks on their own adsense... same keywords.

So you're saying that AdWords/AdSense is too hard for click arbitrageurs to use? :-)


 3:01 am on Apr 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

" the only purpose of those complications is to cover up and disguise answer to the following crucial for every advertiser question: How much do your competitors pay for the same ad spot? "


Excellent point.


 4:57 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Adwords is extremely complex. There are many factors and there is an interplay between them.Google hasn't documented most of it. The vast majority of users overpay substantially. We work with large advertisers; they have teams of people and large agencies, and they still don't understand it. For medium or small advertisers, there is very little chance that they'll understand it.

Mr Bo Jangles

 5:26 am on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree, it is just a hopeless bit of software writing - and the excuse that it's like it is because its grown like 'topsy' and features have been added etc. etc - is frankly not an acceptable excuse to have it like a crock of #*$!x.

A lot of software written by 'engineers' is like this though. For example, I think gMail is very poor UI (and ugly) - yet with all the money they have to throw at things like this, Google software could be mind-blowing examples of GREAT UI.

Some other examples that come to mind quickly - I don't know if anyone here has been a user of Kagi payments processing, but their product/shop set up software pages are just diabolically bad (co-written I believe by the owner of the business)and this is their 3rd or 4th go at it!

I also use an affiliate program, and went back to their admin pages to try and edit my account - I gave up. Life's too short to have to deal with bad, non-intuitive software.

(And I too think I'm a pretty computer savvy person, and write successful web-based software.)

But, for Google to be authoring this sort of crap, with all their money and resources....

But, as some sort of an answer, if I did really want to wade through Adwords - I'm sure there's a 3rd party book or two out there on the subject, and they'd probably be a very good buy!


 3:09 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Umm. The key to a better understanding of AdWords does not in the least relate to how *computer savvy* one is.

You can easily teach a non computer savvy person to use AdWords effectively.

It's much harder to teach a non marketing savvy person to use AdWords.


 4:09 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

is frankly not an acceptable excuse to have it like a crock of #*$!x

Those that do invest a large amount of their time to immerse themselves in the program and are successful with AdWords would probably disagree with this. The system isn't broken, just really complicated.


 7:52 am on Apr 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't worry, Google will answer your prayers. But the cost of a simplified system will be less interrogation. But as the majority of business owners have great difficulty even changing the preferences on their browser, in the grand scale of things it will work out that 90% of business owners will lap up the advertising options.

Is Google local anything but a way to agggregate a huge pool of business data in return for some free listings.

I'm watching you, you beast!



 8:13 am on Apr 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yet again it amazes me that people expect advertising to be simpler than any other area of running a business, taxes aren't simple, employment law isn't simple, investment decisions aren't simple!

In every area of business you make a decision, is this something I want to devote time to? Do I have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to do this right? Will hiring a professional to do it for me pay off (increased ROI, time to do other things etc). You then have 3 options, 1.learn
2.hire someone
3.don't do it.

There is no option 4 talking along the lines of "Expect the legal/tax/advertising system to change because I don't like options 1, 2 or 3"


 8:26 pm on Apr 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

It is a bit confusing at times until you hang in there a long time and get used to it. I would definitely use the editor tool though. But, there are some things you can't do in there so can't stay off the site completely. Google can be goofy. They amaze me sometimes...they are geniuses at search and advertising, yet when you click on a secure page it pops up "display non-secure items?" I mean, #*$!? That is so simple a kid could fix it, yet they seem to never do...all you have to do is make a damn image relative instead of absolute, but Google doesn't know this? Man, that is irritating as hell.


 1:13 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just wanted to jump in again and say that I am aware of quite a number of conversations going on here at Google as the result of this thread. And that's just based on email threads on which I'm actually copied.

So, many thanks for the wide range of very perceptive comments here - on all sides of the question. That's a perfect scenario, in my opinion.

A very informative and valuable thread.

I'll be linking to this thread again (for the third time) in tomorrow's Advertiser Feedback Report which will go out in about 30 hours from the time I post this. ;)




 1:28 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)


Great news, thanks for that.

To summarise, there are many who think that Adwords is Ok and you need to go a Professional.

There are others who think it is unusable.

Then there are those like me, who probably accept that it is a clever product, but that it has been added onto over the years and is now a bloated program. It needs a major re-write to to make it more user friendly while keeping the same functions and features. Too many basic features are hard to find - mainly because of poor wording on the screens.

[edited by: Digmen1 at 1:45 am (utc) on April 16, 2009]


 7:43 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is 2009. ;)

I would think that Google should me more than capable of providing a "Wizard" that would allow non techies to use Adsense by walking them through a basic set up?

Mr Bo Jangles

 9:19 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

This is a 'whisker' off-topic, but only a whisker.
Has anyone recently signed up for a Gmail account and had to do battle with Google's 'capture' security - God, what a joke.
Google, in case you need to be told, you're a multi-$Billion (or is it $Trillion now) software company - can't you even design a novel 'capture' security system that a (human) user can successfully use first time!

Mr Bo Jangles

 9:26 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

....Oh, and before I finish, I forgot to tell you that, finding the 'visual' capture test nigh on impossible to get right first time, I thought I'd 'play handicapped' and use the 'audible capture' - has anyone tried this joke? What on earth is going on at Google? Where are all the smart young engineers we keep reading about? Have you started to hire MS lay-offs possibly? Is that what's wrong?


 10:30 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Very strong post. Lots to appreciate and consider.
In particular, I agree with Yoshimi's comment:

"In every area of business you make a decision, is this something I want to devote time to? Do I have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to do this right? Will hiring a professional to do it for me pay off (increased ROI, time to do other things etc). You then have 3 options, 1.learn
2.hire someone
3.don't do it."

Good pragmatic advice.

I also wonder about some of the 'difficulties' some folks have complained about here:

"I still to this day do not know what a "quality score" is or how to get one. I also can't recall whether it's adwords or adsense is the one that you put on your hompage to make money."

And, "Heck, I even have trouble with the basic terms Adwords and Adsense!"

Maybe writing down the answers when you find them onto a reference sheet would help. Then you could read what you remembered learning, and so improve in your knowledge for the effort.

Or, "I used to read manuals when they made them (1980's). Nowadays I expect software to be intuitive. And if I look at a help screen I expect it to tell me how to do what I want to do."

Errr? Manuals can be found far easier than ever before. They're just digitally bound and stored 'virtually' everywhere you can imagine...even at libraries. And for a fraction of the 1980's cost.

And if you 'expect' solutions for a major profit source to be dropped onto your screen because you want it to be so, then maybe it's the 'work ethic' that should be called into question. Great rewards do not come easy or by way of shortcuts. If they did, the rewards wouldn't be so great.

There is an abundance of resource materials, blogs, websites, books, etc. to help anyone who wants to learn, will spend a little effort, and can read.

If a person isn't willing to look for answers in Google's help files, forums, etc, then what more can be offered to the horse who will not drink? Google adwords is not a quick study for success, and a "fast-food" mentality of "I want it my way now!" is foolish, and smacks of entitlement.

Yes, it's a challenge. Outsource if you don't want to put the effort and time in, or if you can't for any number of legitimate reasons.


 10:39 am on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

And if you 'expect' solutions for a major profit source to be dropped onto your screen because you want it to be so, then maybe it's the 'work ethic' that should be called into question.

With respect, I think you are completely wrong in this. What you are saying goes against one of the basic tenets of selling online and that is that you must make it easy for people to buy.

Adwords is an online service provided by Google that they charge for. We pay for it and it is (or should be) their job to make sure that they make it as easy as possible for people to spend their money.

Isn't that what all of us who run commercial sites try to do?

Mr Bo Jangles

 12:16 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

Agreed 100% BeeDeeDubbleU.

Those who have posted here:
"Oooo, Oooo, it's big business this advertising, and complicated, and you need to expect that the 'tools' you're going to use are also going to be big and complicated."

Puuuurleeese. Give me a break. You are *completely* missing the point. The facts are:
1. it is crap software;
2. it ain't rocket science to make it terrific to use - but it will be a significant project to now do just that.

Today, I'm announcing a competition.
The redesign, no, complete overhauling, of Adwords.
Google will announce the winner - $250,000 prize money (I know, you were expecting more - and it is worthy of more) for the proposal that is accepted as showing the most promise for a redesign.

You can submit your proposal in *any* format - we don't care if it comes to us in pastel watercolor story boards, the dreaded PowerPoint, - whatever. If it conveys even a 'germ' of an idea that leads to a winning solution - you've won $250,000.

Thank you


 12:49 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

I dont find adwords too hard to use. I use most every detailed little bit, like postion preference, etc. I do find waiting a week for an ad to be approved extremely frustrating (I can not quick test or replace a bad ad). I also dislike the 'your bid is too low to appear on the first page'... even though my ad IS appearing on the first page. Its like they are lying to me to get more money.

subhankar ray

 9:49 pm on Apr 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

It may the wrong place for this comment. Adword or related tools are way easier to use than Microsoft adcenter desktop tool [beta]. The whole PPC thing is complicated, and time consuming.


 3:51 pm on Apr 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Bo Jangles - it isn't crap software, it's complicated because many people who use it have asked for many features to eb added over the years - making it a very good programme for making money online.

Seriously, it's not even that complicated - all you have to do is spend a bit of time reading material and experimenting with it - don't expect something that has the potential to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars for you )nay, even millions with the right product etc) to eb as easy as entering a few words and switching it on


 6:43 am on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

We are seeing a range of expectations from users. If you are a great programmer you won't necessarily be a great advertising expert or you won't be a great copywriter. Hence you may find it hard to get a great quality score.

I studied the Adwords tutorials for a week and passed the GAP certification two years ago. I find the interface rich and getting richer, but not beyond comprehension when a new feature is introduced. This is, after all, a search marketing tool, so a marketing background helps.

Having said that, I know that AdWords is pitched to business owners who come from all backgrounds and temperaments, so some will find it difficult to master. Many of them have a full work day, running their business and may only get to AdWords one night a week when their minds are not the sharpest. They should hire an expert to at least fine-tune the campaigns and pay a periodic visit.

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