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Google AdWords Forum

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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 ?



 10:25 am on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd recommend using the AdWords editor for a couple weeks to get familiar with structure.

With the editor, on the left hand size you have the amount of data you want to look at: account, campaign, or ad group.

On the top, you have the actual data points: keyword, ad copy, ad groups, campaigns, etc.

If you want to edit a keyword or ad copy; you have to do so at the ad group level as an ad groups is a keyword/ad copy collection.

A campaign is a collection of ad groups that have the same distribution properties (search, content, budget, ad scheduling, location, etc). If you want to edit how an ad is displayed (except keyword) you would do so at the campaign level.

The beta interface also makes some of the editing easier as it has in-line editing. It would be worthwhile applying for the beta so you learn the new interface as opposed to the older one.


 12:50 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

first off, the "why" part... we are too blame - we want more controls and the more knobs a machine has, the harder it is to learn to operate properly. BUT, the payoff is extremely huge for those that do learn the details.

i concur with ewhisper, keep poking around and it'll become simpler over time. using the editor means you don't have to wait for page load delays, that'll speed your learning curve some, especially given your background (downloading and installing it shouldn't be overly difficult for you).


 12:59 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

go through the videos at "adwords learning center", you'll get better



 3:39 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

It *is* too hard, and too time consuming, for the average end user to use, I've been saying that for a long time. It wasn't always that way - but I think in some ways that Google has been so eager to add features and advances (that we ourselves have been asking for), and on the other hand to prevent fraud and maintain quality, that they've kind of lost their grip on the big picture. They've tried to ameliorate that to some degree with the Starter Edition - but that product has some serious flaws itself; it's extremely difficult for me to convince a former Starter Edition user to give AdWords a second chance, even with a professional such as myself handling their account.

So what's the solution for you?

If you're an end user or business owner, you probably are too busy running your business to get too far into AdWords. You should probably either delegate someone in your organization that can take the time to really learn it, or you can hire a professional - either to completely manage your account, or even just set it up and organize it properly to begin with, so that you can maintain it going forward. And make sure they also set up and show you how to run Analytics and determine if it's working for you.

What's the solution for Google?

Google *must make changes* to the Starter Edition. For one thing, the Search and Content networks need to be separate. The advertisers MUST know what they're getting into before they go bellowing headlong into Content, and they should have to OPT IN to it before it's active. The tool for selecting the types of traffic (social sites, video sites, parked domains) should not be buried in the Tools section, but be right up front when setting up the campaign.

The budget optimizer needs work too, at least the language around it. It should be easier and more clear to put a maximum CPC on any given keyword - I took over an account where the customer was paying something like $12 for a broad matched keyword that costs him no more than forty cents with a 10/10 QS once I got him straightened out.

I could go through step by step of the Starter Edition set up and list out everything that's wrong wrong wrong, but I don't have time. I have too many clients who need AdWords help.

(And I'm not cutting off my nose to spite my face - there will always be clients who need more advanced AdWords & Analytics help, or who just can't take the time themselves. But Google making it easier on the small business user can ONLY make the brand better, and make more money for ALL of us - advertiser, search marketing professional, and Google themselves)

And by the way - all that said - believe it or not, AdWords is still yards above the competition (MSN & Yahoo) in ease of use, tools, and time spent managing accounts. But that competitive edge may not last forever.


 5:59 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>>wasn't always that way...

Yes, the ease of use was the beauty of the original version. Made Overture look clunky. Maybe Google should have a "classic" version with less bells and whistles.

My wife, an intelligent woman who happens to be savvy with numerous software and HTML, has an advanced university degree, etc. just last night asked me for help with her AdWords campaign at work. She tried updating her campaigns but couldn't make sense of the dashboard and gave up.


 11:38 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

...or you can hire a professional ...

How would a business owner go about locating a list of such professionals to consider?



 11:46 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

You could search for Google AdWords Professional or Google AdWords Qualified in your area. There's a site called SEM Vendors that hooks up clients with professionals. Unfortunately since we can't do links or get too specific, I'm a little limited in what I can suggest. But that would be how I'd start.

You can look for some of the blogs about search engine marketing or Google AdWords - there's tons of those out there, and many of the originators handle clients.

You can go onto a social network such as Facebook or Twitter and advertise that you're looking for an AdWords professional - lots of them in both places.


 1:14 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are some very interesting comments in this thread, which deserve a wide audience within Google, I think. So I have both mentioned and linked-to this thread in this week's Advertiser Feedback Report. It gets seen by a lot of folks here at Google.

In his post, eWhisper mentioned the beta for an updated AdWords interface, and though, as a Google employee posting here, the forum charter prevents me from linking to the Inside AdWords blog, please take a look at a post there on the subject of this expanded beta. It's dated March 26th.

Thanks for an instructive read. ;)



 2:56 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen the new interface as I use the MCC. Hopefully it will be migrated soon.


 8:06 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

.or you can hire a professional ...

You should not have to hire a professional just to do basic things, like edit (change) your ad and change your budget.

Fair enough I can see the need for some people to want to hire a professional to work on their key words (which should really be called key phrases. (a word is a word, and a phrase is a few words).

I hope Google do read this thread and take note.

I could re-design it for them for a mill or two.

I have designed my own payroll software, so this should be a doddle.


 2:29 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

You should not have to hire a professional just to do basic things, like edit (change) your ad and change your budget.

FWIW, I have an AdWords account and I have ran ads for a short period a few times. I had read enough about the AdWords interface that after actually using it myself, I was a bit paranoid that I was paying way too much and getting way too little exposure.

I have placed some print ads in trade magazines for my small business. Even though I was a little fish to these magazines, the advertising department there helped me with little things that got more exposure for less money. It's as if their approach was that if I received a good value for my advertising dollar and the time & effort to advertise with them, I would stay around and be a long-term customer, which is true. I didn't get that impression with AdWords.

If I decided to advertise with AdWords again and decided to use a professional's assistance, it wouldn't so much be to do basic things like edit ads. Instead, it would be to have someone to tell me about that little tweak or change I need to get clicks for $0.50 instead of $5.

Sure, I could devote a lot of time to testing and reading everything I could get my hands on and thus learn the ins and outs of AdWords, but I can't justify that from a time perspective. My time has a value and advertising is just one task of many that needs to be completed each week.

In the past I have recommended AdWords to other small business owners, but I no longer do that. The radio and print ad people, for example, make it so much easier and faster to advertise in their venues. And with them, you don't need to make daily trips to blogs and forums to have some comfort that you're not missing out on something important.



 2:38 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree that it's too complex, and that will tend to put off a lot of advertisers. It's just not worth the hassle if you have a relatively small starting budget and little time to learn the ins and outs of it. I can't picture the vast majority of mom-and-pop type businesses taking the time. Time is money, and it can take much longer to spend 50 on Adwords than the 5 or 10 minutes it might take to post an ad in the local paper. The ROI might be worse, but when you take into account the time spent, the paper wins out almost every time.

To be fair, I haven't looked into the Starter Edition, so my comments are all about regular Adwords.


 3:01 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

first off, the "why" part... we are too blame - we want more controls and the more knobs a machine has, the harder it is to learn to operate properly. BUT, the payoff is extremely huge for those that do learn the details.

I can't agree more. AdWords use to be simpler (and Overture was very simple); however, the ROI is better now even with more advertisers.

Although, I don't know another major advertising industry where the user can do everything without a 3rd party.

You can't buy TV, Radio, Newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc without a sales person or creative 3rd party. And beyond buying, try measuring those results. I remember building a correlation database early this decade just to track YP spends - and it was a lot of work. That's for a medium that's over a hundred years old.

I think that by making it self-serve, on the internet (because somehow the internet is easier (?)) many have thought it's easy to be successful online. It's not. It's not that hard to get OK. It's a lot of work to become great.

The main difference in online vs offline advertising is the barrier to entry (and exit). The low entry barrier creates a perception that isn't always true.

As with anything; examine your time. If it takes you 10 hours a week to manage AdWords - was that 10 hours better off spent on AdWords or running your business (returning sales calls, etc). If it was AdWords - then keep going. If it was run the business - hire someone to run your account.

It's a successful advertising medium; the real question is: Where is your time best spent to create a successful business?


 3:02 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Gee, if it was easy than everyone would be doing it.
From an advertiser perspective that wouldn't be such a good thing.


 3:19 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think it is too hard and I think that in this day and age, it should be. It needed to be easy when they were trying to sell the value of it. But anybody who does not understad the value of it now never will.

Sure, you can make it easy enought for Joe Shmoe to use, and he would go and do something like advertise on the one word "shoes" or something stupid like that.

Having to understand how the system works forces the user to learn how AdWords overall works. Don't have time to learn, hire someone to do and save everyone headache and time, not to mention the dollars in your wallet.


 3:41 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Digmen1 - admittedly the adwords interface can be a bit fiddly, but you really don't need to hire a professional to edit ads or change cpc bids etc. I might get a little bit of flack here but I'm going to suggest that because you are computer literate you've probably not read the help files as much as you should - I think everyone here will agree, once you know how, it's very easy to do the basic things you mentioned... I'm the same, I know quite a bit and inevitably when I have something new to use I prefer to find my own way round rather than reading the help files - a little bit of knowledge etc etc... ;)

[edited by: James_WV at 3:41 pm (utc) on April 3, 2009]


 3:47 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Interesting comments , Over the last 3 months or so I have spoken to 5 small businesses just one to 5 employees who said the same thing , all 5 had looked into it 2 were scared off before even creating adds and 3 had actually tried to use to promote their businesses and I thought bid quite high but because of nuances required ( for ad creation to match landing page etc. etc. ) to know how to use and gain traffic could not seem to get ad to gain exposure and therefore no clicks , maybe Google should create something very simple targetted to those included in Maps that auto semi writes the add for them based around their listing in Google Maps

It is easy to tell them to get a professional but the amount these type of companies would spend would not justify that type of expense or commitment



 3:54 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

There's valuable information in this thread.

Is this not a call for a tiered interface: Beginner, Experienced, and Pro Interface? Users could enable the relevant interface to get access to the more extensive tools.


 4:16 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree - and I think that's somewhat what they were going for with the Starter Edition. But in my opinion, that particular deck is stacked far too much on Google's side, and not enough on the advertiser's.


 4:32 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

You can't buy TV, Radio, Newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc without a sales person or creative 3rd party.

I disagree with that as a blanket statement. I have some such ads running for which I don't encounter a sales person or utilize a creative 3rd party.

And beyond buying, try measuring those results.

This month, I have an ad running for one of my sites in each of 7 different trade publications. I'm no computer geek, yet at the end of each day, I know how many visits each different publication generated, how many of those visitors made a purchase, signed up for a newsletter, etc. And I don't have any sophisticated software to do this, just a few little things I did on my own.



 4:56 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well Adwords has two hurdles - its complex interface, and the complex algo.

If a user somehow manages to stumble their way around the cluttered user-interface, then for their reward they get to sort their way through the ever evolving algos.

I'm a former Adwords user who was an avid user in the early years of Adwords... as Adwords evolved it became for me more time consuming and more a headache than it was worth. I recently logged in a couple months ago to get a couple campaigns up and going and gave up after a couple frustrating hours.

Bottom Line: Adwords has evolved into a system that if used properly by the properly trained people can be richly rewarding. However, it just isn't worth it anymore for the webmaster with a few websites to try to stay abreast of the ever changing Adwords system/algos... especially if you're in a semi-competitive field.

Low quality score? Whatcha talkin bout Willis?


 6:30 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I spend approx $3000 per month on Adwords to promote my business and have been using it since it was launched. I have to say that Adwords has begun to annoy me in recent years due to increasing complexity and the number of changes. I get a feeling of dread when I get an email from Adwords about some "exciting new update" that I am going to have to waste my time learning about. I suppose I could pay someone else to look after my account - but why should I have to pay an additional cost just because Google keep fiddling with the system?


 6:42 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

AdWords is a complicated machine. I would never expect to jump in a car without a whole long series of complex lessons teaching me how to change gear, move off on a hill, turn in the road, reverse around the corner.

I've had an AdWords account since '05 and it was a different beast back then. I basically let a single campaign run without guidance for nigh on four years and only last month got back to AW to start increasing my spend and optimising the campaign. I can tell you, it was like being back at school on day one. It had changed out of all recognition. It took me a whole evening just to start feeling like I was "at home" again. But you know what? I'm happy it's like that. As I say, it's a complicated machine that does a thousand wonderful things and you need to do the time to master it.

Now, whether the help section needs improving to allow you to do that faster is another question. I'm one of those many people who learn by doing so I rarely use the help pages unless I get really stuck down a dead end street.

And, totally subjective opinion: I actually don't think it's THAT complicated but it certainly needs a good while to get accustomed to it.


 12:37 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think the problem is that there are two distinct groups of AdWords buyers:

1) Experienced search marketers who want lots of ways to slice, dice, and track ads; and...

2) People like the owner of a vacation home in the Outer Banks or a home seamstress in the dog booties business who simply want to buy the online equivalent of a classified newspaper ad.

It's important for Google to meet the needs of the first audience (which spends a lot of money with AdWords), but to fully exploit the potential market for search and content ads, Google also needs to make life easier for the second audience. Is that a realistic goal or an impossibility?


 3:49 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

The people who jump in blind, blow their wad o'cash and then complain about it not working, ever, are my complaint. Although their "I wont read a manual no matter how much it will cost me" attitude has paid and will continue to pay my bills for a very long time especially when it becomes time to make it work right.


 5:38 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

PPC would be tolerable if it were only G but I also use Yahoo and now MSN. Try locating the links that get you into the new dayparting on any of them!

I've never spent so much money on something I know so little about. But after 7 years on G, I **think*** I know more about PPC fundamentals than 95% of our competitors.


 7:56 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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.
Google help screens just seem to tell me what I can do, but not what steps to take, and when I do take notes and try the Google, the terms on the screen do not match the terms on their help screens,


 8:41 am on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why is Google Adwords so hard to use ?

Back in the early days of Adwords it was very simple. Since then every year it gets more and more complicated.

Unfortunately, it gets more and more clear that 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?


 4:38 pm on Apr 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wildbest, media buying is more complicated than it used to be, period. In the 1950s and 1960s, an advertiser would buy a sponsorship on a TV show, and you'd have "Alcoa Presents" or a half-hour of Marlboro commercials on a Western show. Today, media buyers might use a TV advertising plan that involves networks, regional spot TV buys, cable programs, you name it.

Web display advertising is complicated, too: Advertisers can opt for geotargeting, targeting by "daypart," etc. Why would you expect AdWords to be any simpler?

As I mentioned earlier, the challenge for Google is finding a way to provide the tools that professional media buyers want while meeting the needs of people who, like you, just want to buy ads with the least possible fuss. That's a tough challenge, and it may be impossible to meet.

This 61 message thread spans 3 pages: 61 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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