There's been an on again, off again conversation within the Twitter group #ppcchat regarding the future of AdWords Editor. For a very long time, PPC managers have been concerned with the lag in feature updates to the desktop utility. New features are released frequently in the AdWords web interface, so it is expected that there will be some lag time.
However, a select few features have been in use for years... and still no support in AdWords Editor.
So, what gives? My friend Larry Kim at Wordstream has something of a tinfoil hat theory that Google will eventually phase out AdWords Editor altogether. Sadly, all of the evidence points to this being the case. As Larry puts it, "One thing is clear: when Google stops innovating and deprioritizes a product, it's usually on its way out the door."
But is this really the best move for Google?
My opinion is no, at least not yet. And I'm confident that I'm not alone. The native web interface allows for many bulk actions and holds the key to all of the latest feature sets AdWords has to offer. But the majority of the PPC industry still uses (nay, relies on) AdWords Editor for their daily work flow. Simple bulk edits, copy/paste editing, find/replace, etc. and the list goes on. The web may be a much faster place to do work than it used to be, but it is pretty hard to replicate many of these capabilities in a web environment.
My opinion is that Google is once again throwing their weight around to bend web users (not just advertisers) to their will. We have very clear examples; look no further than the Chromebook. This little piece of technology was a statement: you don't need desktop apps. The internet will provide everything you need. And for everyday consumers, this is true! I love my Chromebook - seriously! But it is a challenge to do any heavy-lifting work from it. Powerful desktop apps still have an important role and allow me to be far more efficient in my work as a PPC manager.
Google has definitely taken note of the AdWords' marketplace clamoring for a change to Editor. We want Call Extensions! The ability to make changes to bidding types (Conversion Optimizer, Flexible Bid Strategies, etc.)! In a video post on YouTube, Google responded to these questions (skip to the 5:15 mark).
What struck me was the WAY they responded: with a non-answer. To paraphrase, "AdWords Editor is a desktop application, so it will be released in chunks. Whereas features will come and go on the web. Those two are not always going to match."
Sure, that answer is technically correct. Because desktop apps are released in versions, there will always be some lag when the same utility is offered on the web. But what this statement blatantly avoids answering is why features that have been available for months (or even years) on the web have never seen the light of day in AdWords Editor. If Google has the time, money and resources to create self-driving cars, they have the resources to keep AdWords Editor fully up to date (and why not? AdWords pays for the entire Google ecosystem). Google simply have chosen not to.
As much as I don't want to admit it, the signs are pretty clear. I'm afraid AdWords Editor is not destined long for this world and Larry's tinfoil hat may be right. For all I know, Google may be right, too. Maybe we don't need desktop apps? Maybe the AdWords web interface really is all we need?
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John A. Lee is an Internet marketing jack-of-all-trades with experience managing PPC, SEO, and social media campaigns. He is a Managing Partner for Clix Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in PPC, display, and social media advertising. Before joining Clix Marketing, John worked as Paid Search Manager for Wordstream and was a Senior Search Marketing Consultant for Hanapin Marketing in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was instrumental in the success of Hanapin's two search marketing blogs: PPCHero.com and SEOBoy.com. John's writing has also appeared on SearchEngineWatch.com, Acquisio's Blog, Wordstream's Blog, and within Website Magazine.
March 19, 2014