Getting The Most Out Of AdWords Editor Exports

My absolute, number one favorite tool for PPC is Google’s AdWords Editor. Sure, it’s ugly and occasionally slow, but for making massive changes to your AdWords account, it can’t be beat. Even better, Google is constantly updating it with new features, making it a much more appealing alternative to slogging through changes in the web interface. But enough gushing about how great Google is. This week, I want to go over some often-overlooked functionality in AdWords Editor: exporting campaign data.

To get started with AdWords Editor exports, click on the “File” menu in the top left corner of the program:

AdWords Editor File Menu

There are a couple different formats to export to:

CSV (Comma Separated Values) – a pretty straightforward format, compatible with Microsoft Excel and most other spreadsheet programs. This will probably be your go-to format most of the time.
Spreadsheet With Images – same as CSV, but also exports any images associated with the selected campaigns/ad groups.
AEA (AdWords Editor Archive) – a special, proprietary format that only works with AdWords Editor. Used for creating backups of account data.
AES (AdWords Editor Share) – another proprietary format, this one is used for sharing account data with other AdWords Editor users. Note: AES is used more for review than importing, so if you want to re-import your changes at a later date, it’s better to use a CSV or an AEA.
HTML – the same format as a standard web page. Much easier to read than your usual CSV spreadsheet, but can’t be imported back into the account if you want to change something.

Now that you know the formats, let’s get down to the uses of AdWords Editor exports:

  1. Account Review – Editor is pretty great for doing large-scale account review, but sometimes you need to do a more robust analysis. By exporting to a CSV, you can apply filters to your data, create some pivot tables, and even perform some statistical analysis on large groups of data. Or, if you’re tired of looking at spreadsheets all day, the HTML export option creates a prettier (and easier to read) summary of campaign contents, although you won’t get performance statistics like you get in the other formats.
  2. Large-Scale Account Edits – Got a lot of things that need changing? Editor already makes this pretty quick, but sometimes it’s a little faster to export your data to a CSV, do some find-and-replace magic, and then re-import the CSV into Editor. This works especially well for tricky custom URLs with multiple parameters.
  3. Account Backups – When was the last time you backed up your AdWords account? Not recently enough, most likely. Fortunately, an AEA export only takes a couple of minutes (depending on the size of your account) and gives you some peace of mind in case something goes wrong. It’s a good idea to create a backup whenever you’re about to make some significant changes to the account. It’s also a good idea to add backup creation as part of your weekly or monthly PPC routines.
  4. Peer Review – Even the most experienced PPC manager benefits from a little teamwork now and again. Editor can make it difficult to review changes with others, though, due to local changes being saved to individual copies of the program before they are uploaded. Fortunately, there is AES exporting to help alleviate this situation. Export the file, share it with your buddies, and they can leave comments on proposed changes before you upload them.

Now, you should be an Editor Export Expert. Go download some campaigns and get cracking!

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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2 Responses to Getting The Most Out Of AdWords Editor Exports

  1. Dustin Lange says:

    Exporting to CSV from AdWords Editor is also helpful when you want to copy a campaign into Microsoft adCenter. Once you have the CSV file simply login to the adCenter web interface and on the Campaigns tab click Import Campaigns. From my experience this works fine most of the time but it’s definitely a good idea to double-check that the campaign settings, keywords, ad copy, destination URLs, etc look ok. I have had the best results when exporting/importing one campaign at a time.

    Do you know of a better way to export from Google and import into adCenter?

    • Great tip, Dustin. CSV export seems to work best for me when I want to move a campaign from Google to MSN. But if anyone else knows of a better method, I’d be interested to hear it.