Benefit From Better Search Functionality In AdWords Editor 11

By Jacob Fairclough | @RealSecretJake | Senior Account Analyst at Hanapin Marketing

Google recently launched version 11 of AdWords Editor. Besides feature updates, the editor received an overhaul to the search functionality. Although it takes a little time to get back up to speed with the rearrangement, I’ve fallen in love with the new functionality and search bar. It takes the set up out of the menus and puts it rights back in your hands.


To get started, simply click the search bar or use a short cut. CMD + F for Mac and Control + F for Windows.


Using the UI


Rather than hiding the details behind menus in the advanced search functionality, everything is now out in the open. Similar to using a web browser, your journey starts in the search bar. Click on the magnifying glass on the left hand side to open the builder.


You will now see a plethora of options. You’ll notice that it is initially set to default. This option means that the search will occur depending on what you are actually looking at. If you are looking at a list of campaign names, your search will return matching campaigns. The same goes for ad groups, keywords, sitelinks, and so on.


If you want to get more specific, you’ll want to select the parent group option to filter by ad group or campaign.


One item that isn’t immediately clear is that the builder basically uses one filter at a time. Unlike previous search functions, which allowed you to select multiple options, the new builder goes piece by piece. To add additional parameters simply reopen the builder and add them.


Adding the predefined view filters it just as easy. Simply click them on the menu and they’ll activate instantly.


As you can see it’s very easy to use the search builder to find exactly what you need in your account. One menu has all the options you need with nothing being hidden.


Forget the Builder


As you’ve probably found with other programs, it’s often fastest to skip the builder entirely. Thankfully, this option exists in AdWords Editor 11. If you’ve paid attention to the search builder you may have already connected the dots.


When the builder applies a filter, you will notice that it’s very similarly formatted with the only change being the specifics you are searching for.


Rather than using the builder you can type these directly into the search bar and create your own queries. If you’ve ever utilized Google’s advanced search functionality these will look very familiar.


For instance, if you want to search for an ad group you can use adgroup: “red shoes” to search for any ad group with red shoes in the name. Do you only care about your boots campaign? Type campaign: “boots” adgroup: “red shoes” to find entities that match both.


Of course you don’t always want to search for entities containing as you might also want to find items that match exactly or don’t include. There are six of these you’ll need most of the time.


  • Contains -> campaign: “campaign name”
  • Does not Contain -> -campaign: “campaign name”
  • Contains Whole Word -> campaign:= “campaign name”
  • Equals -> campaign = “campaign name”
  • Greater Than -> maxCPC > 0.25
  • Less Than -> maxCPC <0.25


The same goes for the views. Simply type view: followed by the name of the view. A few examples:


  • Edited Items -> view: edited
  • Unposted -> view: unposted
  • Errors -> view: errors


These are just a few of the options to keep in mind. With so many variables you may need to use the search builder a few times to pick up on the names. If you are close though, the editor features an autocorrect that’ll rename what you entered.


If you need an example for how this is quicker, lets imagine I need to drop my CPA bids for a selection of campaigns. In this case we’ll use Nike basketball shoes. Rather than going through all the clicks needed to set the filters in the interface or the search builder in the editor, I can type:


Campaign:= “Nike” adgroup:= “basketball” cpaBid > 7.00


With one step, I’ve found what I needed and can quickly make the necessary edits.


Other Features to Keep in Mind


If you find yourself performing the same searches over and over, you can quickly save them through the search menu. This is a major time saver for intensive or repeated searches.


You’ll also notice X’s next to each part of the search. By clicking these you can remove just that part of the query. The same goes for the X on the far right side, which will clear the search completely.


If you want to eyeball how many items are included in your search, take a look in the bottom left corner of the editor. A fraction next to each entity will show how wide a net you cast. This is a great troubleshooting tool, as you should have a solid estimate of how many items will be impacted.


Final Thoughts


Overall, I love the new search features and the ability to use the toolbar to quickly perform searches in accounts. Although one of the big pushes lately has been overhauling the web interface, it is still not as efficient as utilizing the editor.


What are you best search tips? Have you found any great time savers you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment and help someone out.