Dear Saint Google,

Bob Dumouchel

Every year in the fine tradition of the Christmas letter, I write an open letter for the things I want to see in Adwords.  Before I get started with the details I would like to note that many of the things I asked for in prior years I actually got, so maybe this letter isn’t as silly as it seems.

Advanced Keyword Matching
Keyword matching in AdWords is too simplistic and needs additional functionality. Support for wildcards, broad word extenders, must be there, and list substitutions as a minimum. Wildcards should be expressed with an asterisk like normal SQL. The “must be there” function could be as easy as implementing mixed match types within the keywords. So a search could have a phase, broad, and exact mixed within the keyword. List substitutions should allow us to create a list and then extend the keyword by attaching the list to it. This would be very useful when you want to extend a keyword by a list of city names that localizes the keyword.

Drilling into Keywords
The Adwords interface stops at the keyword level and many times it would be useful to be able to drill into the keyword to see the chart pattern of traffic for that word. You can do this today with a filter but that is a lot of work and it could be reduced to a single click.

Search Query Report with 100% of the Data
In the olden days the SQR had an “Other Search Queries” record that made everyone crazy so Google did away with that only to have it return as a subtotal line “Other Search Terms”.  Part of the reason for this is the search partners that cannot or will not report at a search query level and my thinking is they are not really search partners if they cannot provide the SQR data.

Negative Keyword Search Query Report
This one has been on our list since 2008 and it amazes us because this is a billion dollar suggestion that would go directly to Google’s bottom line. The report is simply the search queries that were lost because of a negative keyword. Right now a negative keyword just silently takes traffic away with no feedback of what is being removed. It is very likely that negative keywords are removing things that were not considered when it was first set up.

Give us back the location control
In the olden days the system had a position preference and it really worked but it was more like position rules. If you selected that you only wanted positions from 1-3 that was all you got and the rest were, we hope, counted toward the impression share. I am sure that someone in Google felt that this allowed people to opt out of the higher positions costing Google money but in many cases that was not true.

Give AdWords Control over Merchant Center
This year Google moved the Merchant Center from the organic to AdWords but they still left it out there as a standalone system. The merchant center needs to be connected to AdWords so people with access to one have access to the other.  AdWords needs to be able to update the AdWords specific data elements like the grouping and labels.

Better Control Click Fraud Data
Click fraud is a danger to our entire industry and nearly impossible to completely solve but we could be give some controls that would help. Google will not give us the IP address data related to the traffic because of privacy concerns; even though every server on the planet has this in its logs. At least give us control over how many times the ad will appear for a specific IP address much as they do with Display Network limits.

Limit Analytics Accounts
This is my personal pet peeve and on my list of worst changes ever.  Prior to the last update to Analytics when you used the tab inside of AdWords you got only the accounts connected to that AdWords account. Now you get all the analytics accounts connected to your profile forcing you to search for the one you want. This is fine if you only manage a few accounts but for people like me it means searching through over 300 accounts and I hate to even think how many profiles.

Unmask Quality Score
Most of the time Quality Score makes sense but sometimes it’s just crazy and there is no way to get to what is causing the problem. The system has recently added some break down of the quality score but it is too little. We need actionable recommendations not vague comments.

Competitor Matching
Now if Google really wants to make money they should implement this idea. Allow advertisers to bid on auctions that a specific website shows in the results – organic or PPC. To make this work you simply add the domain name just like a keyword and if that domain appears in the search results then your ad is eligible and subject to the normal ranking process.  Then Google should send us 1% of the additional revenue this creates for them.

In closing… And to all a good night
Twas the night before Christmas and all though the interwebs not a page was stirring, not even in the cloud. The impressions were hung by the SERP with care, in hopes that Saint Google soon will be there.  The AdWords Experts are nestled all snug in their beds while visions of conversions danced in their head and I am sure you know all the rest.