No More Shared Ads: Good or Bad?
If you’re a regular user of Google AdWords, chances are good that you have plenty of ads you use on an ongoing basis—both as-is and as templates for new campaigns, split tests or special promotions. And if you do a lot of that kind of templating then you’ve probably been saving them in AdWords’ Shared Library. But that option is going away.
Google made the announcement just a few days ago, and set the deadline for killing Shared Ads as February 11. That gives users just a few scant weeks to figure out how they’re managing their campaigns going forward.
Understandably, the announcement has caused some outcry in the AdWords user community. But Google claims the other tools it has rolled out recently will more than fill the gap that Shared Ads leaves behind. So do those tools really measure up? And what exactly will disappear when the deadline rolls around?
What You Need to Know
First off, the end of Shared Ads isn’t as catastrophic as it sounds. None of your ads will be lost; they just won’t be located in the Shared Library anymore, and sharing them across campaigns or ad groups will be a little different. Every ad from the Library will still be found safe and sound in whatever campaign it came from, along with all its performance data. If you used it as a template for in another campaign, that version be found in its campaign as well.
That doesn’t mean everything’s totally automatic, however. Google recommends you re-sync your Editor or AdWords API account after February 11 to make sure your list of ads is totally up to date. If it seems like an ad is missing after the cutoff, this is likely the culprit.
Using Customizer Instead
So what if you really liked using Shared Ads? Do Google’s other tools really do the same thing?
The answer from PPC professionals has been mixed. This past fall Google rolled out the powerful Ad Customizer tool. There have been several new tools added to AdWords, but this is the one that seems to be the intended replacement for Shared Ads. It does not do the same thing, but it does something many people consider better. It lets you grab any existing ad and then swap out any text as a dynamic variable with just a few clicks. In other words, that ad that for “Buy 3 Get 2 Free” can instantly become “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” and that “Sale ends this weekend” ad can become “Sale ends in 3 hours!” (Yes, countdown support now exists without any complicated scripts. Very nice.) And get this: you can tweak the dynamic text across campaigns or ad groups.
Basically, Google has swapped out one mechanic for a different one. If you want to take an ad from your Atlanta campaign and use it in your Decatur specific campaign, instead of saving it to a shared library you fire up Ad Customizer, make the tweaks, and push it out to the right campaign.
The mixed reaction from advertisers seems to come down to those who have tried out the new Customizer tool and found that they liked it, versus those who haven’t really found it useful yet. No one likes being forced to do things a new way when the old way worked just fine. But, at least with AdWords, we have no choice.
Our recommendation? Take some time this weekend to play with the Customizer and get a feel for it—before the old Shared Ads go away for good.