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Surely the Default Setting is Wrong!

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, 19 December 2014 in Google

I got caught out again this morning. I hate it when that happens. I overlooked to change one of Google AdWords default settings.

On a client's new campaign the ads were set to "Optimize for clicks: Show ads expected to provide more clicks".... the campaign is a day old... How do you presume to know, Google??

So I changed the setting to Rotate Indefinitely and make a mental note to actually prepare that basic checklist of default settings I need to remember to change.... on every campaign I set up. EVER!

And this got me thinking - there are some default - out of the box - settings that simply go against Google's own best practices.

They tell us to always test different versions of our ads, and then send all the traffic to the first ad that got the first click on a new campaign. OK - it's not quite as bad as that, but, almost - this particular campaign had four ads in the ad group. Of 1,768 impressions, 1,175 were sent to a single ad.

And there are other settings that I question.

How about Auto-Tagging... who wouldn't want auto-tagging switched on as the default. On Google's own forums many questions relating to AdWords tracking in Google Analytics are down to the fact that auto-tagging was not switched on.

I struggle to come up with a single reason why the default setting should be "No, thanks". If you are experienced enough to be manually or dynamically tagging your destination url's, then surely you are also experienced enough to know how and where to switch off the auto-tagging. The 99% would benefit with this change at the expense of the experienced 1%.

The other setting I've never understood is why, when I open up a new report window I have labels (relatively advanced function) and view through conversions (relatively confusing) and yet Quality Scores are hidden. Again, I ask: Why? Almost every discussion we have about campaign performance centres on QS and improvements, so why is this hidden from the default view?

Surely a factor so important should be pushed into users faces at every opportunity instead being buried like a dirty little secret... oh, yes, by the way, so pleased you mentioned it - this is how we decide how much you are going to pay for your click and where your ad is going to appear in the results, but it's not a biggie.... really?

So what are your pet peeves? What is the one (or two, or three) thing you change on a new campaign's default settings - and why?


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Jordan Friday, 19 December 2014

The auto tagging can break the destination URLS for some sites completely (not many these days though). I guess if Google require you to turn this on explicitly, and then you don't notice that you are paying for loads of clicks which don't actually work - then they can blame you?

Steve Cameron Friday, 19 December 2014

Good point - although Google do also check the destination urls and will disapprove ads if the page fails to load. It shouldn't be too hard for them to determine if this happens with their query strings in place. I still feel that making auto-tagging the default setting would benefit far more people than it would inconvenience.

Marcos Friday, 19 December 2014

I thought it was more because of privacy reasons of sharing information with analytics, but not very sure.
One thing we've been asking for some time is the possibility to keep your columns configuration across accounts (even download it to editor!), but we still have to keep configuring them over and over again :)

Steve Cameron Saturday, 20 December 2014

Yes! It is frustrating to have to configure the configuration we are happiest with each time we set up a new account. We get used to seeing things in a certain place and I for one get confused easily when I'm looking at one thing and think I'm looking at something else. Downloading to editor is a cool idea - and then have a "My Columns" button... joy!
It's the same kind of feeling I get whenever my wife has used my car.... nothing is the way I left it :p

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