As I’ve been growing my expertise in Google AdWords over the past few months, I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options and customizable features that make AdWords so powerful. I do not complain about this incredible flexibility of features because I know that businesses that can master Google AdWords can reap some major benefits over traditional methods of advertising and gain some serious ROI.
But the thing that does kind of drive me crazy is how difficult it can be to manage multiple campaigns for multiple clients in Google AdWords because lets face it… most businesses do not interact with AdWords directly – they hire a consultant to manage their ad campaigns for them. So for these consultant agencies with many clients it seems, from my limited experience, that this be very well simplified.
I have been using AdWords for a few months and only a few weeks ago did I stumble upon what you might call a sub-service called AdWords Express. Intrigued, I checked it out.
I set up a new campaign in AdWords Express and what I found was a streamlined process that sacrificed some of the intricate customizable options for a simplified user experience. I setup a new campaign in a matter of minutes and let it run for a couple days. When I returned, I saw a solid number of impressions with a modest clickthrough rate (CTR), but very few conversions. Zero, in fact. No big deal. But then I tried to switch over to my full-scale AdWords campaign and make some adjustments because I had campaigns running for the same client in both environments. That’s where I noticed something peculiar.
I had to log in to Google AdWords separately from AdWords Express. Initially I thought this was just a security measure to make sure I was still myself, since AdWords is far more complex and therefore sensitive to malicious behavior. But once in AdWords, I saw a yellow box above my campaigns telling me I could manage my AdWords Express ads. I clicked the alert and was met with this additional notification:
“Your AdWords Express ads can be managed only in your AdWords Express account.”
So Google has completely neglected integration of two closely related services and instead force the user into two separate accounts. Interesting, and highly annoying. Especially since they seemingly invited me to quick access for AdWords Express, only to then tell me “oh, yeah… about that… you can’t do that from here.” I expected a seamless experience from Google. Then, I thought the answer arrived in the form of Google Engage.
I received an invitation of sorts to join Google Engage for Agencies. I read up on it and even though I’m still a novice, I met the qualifications to join this new community. The activation process was very simple but intense. I had to speak on the phone with a Google representative and answer questions about my AdWords activity and client base. They wanted to make sure I was legitimately and actively managing AdWords campaigns for multiple clients. Not just some Google fanboy that wanted a new toy. It made sense.
So once I get my Google Engage account I think okay great, now I’ll be able to touch base with all my clients in one place. Thanks, Google!
Google did mail me a package with some AdWords discount vouchers that I can pass around to new clients as an incentive to buy into Google AdWords. That was pretty neat. But Google Engage itself did not satisfy my need for a unified login whereby I could manage many campaigns whether they were of the regular or express variety.
Instead, Google Engage seems to be more of a resource hub for agencies to assist them in selling AdWords. I literally feel like I’m being trained as a salesman except without commission – I get an email routinely from Google Engage with tips and tricks to helping new customers get acquainted with online ads. I get tutorials about useful tools that will integrate my Google Analytics with Google AdWords. This is all valuable information (useful talking points when selling the product) and I’m glad to have it… but where’s my unified interface?
It’s entirely possible that I’m missing a step and have just gone about this in the wrong way. Maybe I missed a checkbox during my account creation with AdWords. Maybe I’ve just not found the right Help article that explains how to integrate these 3 services (or at least to combine AdWords and AdWords Express I mean come on! They share a branded name!). But ultimately I expect Google to make this painfully simple, without my searching for it if it does exist. That’s their reputation: extremely simplified stuff. Google Docs? Easy. Gmail? Natural. Search? Nothing to it.
So I put my mediocre Photoshop skills to use and decided to build the interface I was expecting out of the pieces I’ve been given. Here’s what I came up with:
Pretty simple right? I didn’t do anything groundbreaking. With so few options in the top bar, this feels natural to me. Keep all the resources to build a volunteer sales army for Google AdWords. That makes good business sense, and I appreciate the assistance Google has provided to help me bolster my consulting business. But user experience failure is not Google’s game. I hope they eventually get this figured out and make this experience better, because I’m eager to maximize my time spent in AdWords campaigns.
Or, never discounting the possibility that I’m an idiot, I hope someone will leave a comment that shows me where I can make AdWords + AdWords Express + Engage work better for me.