Labels In The AdWords Editor! Is It But A Dream?

By , Associate Director of Services at Hanapin Marketing


For January’s series post we are taking a look at our PPC wishlists. What tools do we all wish we had available to make our lives that much easier? Where do our chief frustrations stem from and what band-aid solutions are we using to fix them?

If only life could be as simple as those days of the Jetsons where you press a single button and everything is ready just the way you want it. Instead we have to find our own routes to have our accounts structured and segmented in a way that fits our management.

Our Issue of Concern: Labels in the AdWords Editor

The beauty of labels and the fact that they are wildly conducive to analysis through pivot tables is stunted by the fact that Google does not allow us to alter them in the AdWords Editor. This means that upon any upload or alteration that leads to a new item being created, one must go directly into the AdWords interface, track down the keyword, ad, ad group, or campaign, and label it manually. Although this may not be too challenging on the campaign or even ad group level, it becomes a hot mess when working with keywords and ads.

My plea for 2014: Dear AdWords Fairy, please let us have labeling capabilities in the AdWords editor!

Short term work around:

There are ways to make your labeling more efficient that many of us have employed over the years. Again, with campaign and ad groups, it’s fairly simple to just look up your ad group or campaign and stick a label on, one by one. With ads, however, it might be a bit more complicated.

Warning:  If an ad, keyword, etc. has a label and you change it, this will delete the previous version. This means that your label will forever be attached to your deleted item. Although this shouldn’t change how you interact with your account, it’s worthwhile note to be made.

Typically, using the Search box to sort for any ads with the recently uploaded or change copy is a simple enough solution. If your new ads all say some variation of “Thru 1/31,” you’ll be able to find those pretty easily and label them to your heart’s content.

What about keywords? Or ads that don’t use an overlapping phrase?

Best quick solution for this is to have a standard label for all existing items with new labels added to any new keywords (that clearly lack existing identification).

Example: You want to expand your keyword coverage. A few keywords in this ad group. A handful of others in another campaign. And yet another group of keywords in an entirely other campaign. You then want to track how these newly uploaded keywords perform over the next 30 days.

Step 1: Label all existing keywords with something simple: Existing. Label for Existing Keywords

Step 2: Upload new keywords. Label the new keywords. Instead of having to go through each campaign and ad group, looking for these new keywords, it can as simple as setting your filter as follows:

And excluding any of the “existing” keywords.

Label Filter

Step 3: Apply new labels to any keywords that do not possess the “Existing” label.

New LabelStep 4: Run a Dimensions report showing the change:

Dimensions report

This will allow us to take a quick look at the main metrics that were affected by your upload!

Long term solution:

Alright, for those of you die-hard label fans, there is yet another way to get labels in your account in a bulk-type fashion. How? SCRIPTS. I’ve got a great shortcut that our team uses when making major changes that require lots of custom labels to be applied. And today, we share it with you.

  1. Create spreadsheet with campaigns, ad groups, and keywords (with the original match type “ “ and [ ] punctuation).
  1. Now, to use the attached script, you’ll need to insert the Google Docs URL for the spreadsheet you’re using. You’ll also want to customize the name of the label (seen in the interface), the description (shown when you hover over it), and the color (exciting, right??).
function main() {
//spreadsheet access and data ranges, Campaign Name, Ad Group Name, and Keyword
var ssURL = "";
var spreadsheet = SpreadsheetApp.openByUrl(ssURL);
var sheet = spreadsheet.getActiveSheet();
var data = sheet.getRange("A:B:C").getValues();

//create the label
var labelName = "Test 1/15-2/15";
var labelDescription = "Keyword Test 1";
var labelColor = "Green";
AdWordsApp.createLabel(labelName, labelDescription, labelColor);

//load all the spreadsheet data into keywordData
var keywordData = {};
for(var i in data){
var kwKey = [data[i][0],data[i][1],data[i][2]].join(",");
keywordData[kwKey] = data[i];

//pull all of the keywords in the account to find matches.
var keywordIter = AdWordsApp.keywords().get();
while (keywordIter.hasNext()) {
var keyword =;
var keywordtext = keyword.getText();
var adGroup = keyword.getAdGroup().getName();
var campaign = keyword.getCampaign().getName();
var kwKey = [campaign,adGroup, keywordtext].join(",");

//if there is a match, apply the label
if(kwKey in keywordData){
keyword.applyLabel("Test 1/15-2/15");

This code gets placed in your scripts library for your account and voila! Labels! While this is a bit time-consuming to set up, it absolutely saves the MAJOR frustration that accompanies the labeling of 200 keywords!

Ultimate goal:

Ideally, this blog post will ignite a fire within the heart of PPC that will convince Google to allow us to add labels as easily as we add device preferences or match types. Labels are an easy way to segment data in a way that is meaningful for your specific account and the shortcuts listed today will hopefully give you a leg up on using them without the long hours of tracking down individual uploads.

What shortcuts do you use when editing labels? Or perhaps you’re too annoyed with the whole bulk-label clumsiness that you’ve created a whole new approach? Either way, we want to know!

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11 thoughts on “Labels In The AdWords Editor! Is It But A Dream?

  1. CJ Haugen

    I recently had a hair pulling experience in trying to figure out how to label a big batch of keywords i was wanting to run a test on, without having to go in and find them all in the account through the UI. The list was much too big and there was no way I could do it in the editor, as many of us know. One quick solution that I found worked well for me was to apply an crazy high CPC amount to the keywords and upload them as paused. Once I did that, I went to the UI and filtered to show only keywords that had a CPC amount in that range. Then I selected all of them and applied a label to the keywords and changed the CPC amount to blank so that they matched the adgroup default. May not work for everybody, but maybe a tweaked version of this might be helpful to many looking to do something similar?

    1. Carrie AlbrightCarrieAlbright

      Thanks for the tip, CJ! We actually had an account manager use a similar tactic. I guess the only concern is if the find&replace process misses any bids and you end up spending WAY more than the term is worth! But until then, we’ve got to use whatever means we’ve got! Thanks for reading!

    2. joe © mathieu

      This is a great idea– to err on the side of caution, though, I’d simply recommend doing the opposite; make your new keywords only $.01, since it’s unlikely you have any actual bids set that low. This way in case they’re missed, you’re not risking spending too much.

      1. CJ Haugen

        Right good point. I think part of it was having Google’s set cpc minimum in the back of my mind, so i didn’t consider doing anything low. Thanks for the tip on that.

  2. Egan Rao

    Hey Carrie.. just dropped by after viewing your webinar of RSLA with Susan.. I’m practically new to Adwords and now I can see what is missing or would be nice to have on Adwords… Thanks a lot of compiling this.

    1. Carrie AlbrightCarrieAlbright

      Glad it’s helpful Egan, and feel free to reach out to the PPC Heroes with questions or topic suggestions!

  3. Jess

    It would be ideal if labels could apply at the Product Target Level for PLAs also. Currently only available at the AG level … sigh.

  4. Jarad Collier

    Script doesn’t seem to be working for me. I think the range is a little unconventional “A:B:C”. That part threw errors. Anyways, I WISH Adwords Editor would allow bulk labeling. Heck, I wish the interface would allow a multi-line search functionality with criteria like contains full word, etc.


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