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Google AdWords' Default Settings

Posted by Steve Cameron
Steve Cameron
Steve Cameron is the Director Owner of Advent Communication. With more than 25 years experience he has a deep...
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on Friday, 10 February 2017 in Google

adwords defaultsThis week we have taken over the management of a Google AdWords account that was floundering.

This is not something new... often, we are contacted after a small or medium business has taken the plunge into the inviting waters of ppc only to find that the water is deeper, colder and a lot murkier than it looked to be from the shore.

But this particular account led us to consider some fo the default settings in a new account set up. Some of them we have complained about before: why, for example, is the keyword quality score column not activated by default in the reports? Or why is auto-tagging "yes, please" not the default setting? but neither of these directly affect the costs of the advertising. The default setting double whammy we discuss today does...

A new ad campaign's default setting is for "standard" settings. It doesn't matter which type of campaign you choose - by default, you will only see the standard set of configuration options. That in itself is not such a problem - or wouldn't be if other default settings were not combining to favour Google over the advertiser.

standard adwords settings
Bear with me.... so the new campaign is set to "Standard" and one of the next things the advertiser has to choose is the location. Let's suppose the advertiser wants to reach people in London. So they select London and everything is hunky dory, right?

Well, maybe... if the advertiser wanted to reach anyone in London, plus anyone, anywhere else in the world who show an interest in London.... which, frankly, could be almost anyone.

I have yet to meet an advertiser who actually understood that this was the case. Every time I have discussed this with novice advertisers, they had believed that what they had selected more closely resembled the more restrictive "people in my targeted location" option.

advanced location settings
I firmly believe that the default option for anything should be the one which most people believe to be the one they are selecting. But here's the thing - and this is where I cannot help but become cynical - by making the less restrictive option the default, Google can simply serve more ads to more people. And, by hiding this option by default (in the standard settings), they are making the default even more likely to pass through the set up process.

As I say, I may be accused of being cynical, but where you are trying to offer a self-serve advertising platform where advertisers can come and run their own campaigns, you should probably try and ensure that they get the best results at the lowest cost and I'm not sure these settings do this very well.

Thi sis certainly a combination of default settings I would encourage Google to change - and I'd be interested to hear what other defaults you feel are harmful. Please use the comments!

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