Long-time readers of this blog have probably figured out by now that I’m a bit of a Google fanboy. Understandable, because I’d probably be out of a job if it wasn’t for AdWords. For the most part, I’ve been pretty impressed by the changes and improvements they’ve made to their AdWords platform over this year. But recently, they’ve changed some things in the reporting features that have me fuming mad.
You might have noticed that you can no longer run account, campaign, or ad group reports in the reporting tab. Instead, Google has decided to move these features to the “Control Panel and Library” section of the campaign and ad group level views. To me, this seems utterly ridiculous. Why would you move a reporting feature from a section of your application titled “Reports”? Or, at least offer users the option to get their reports in both sections of the platform?
What’s more, the part where you actually get your reports is unlabeled and counter-intuitive. When I first found my reports missing, I checked the Google help file. It said to look for the reports in the “Control Panel and Library” section of the campaign tab. After I went there, I spent a good ten minutes looking for the small text link that would take me to the section (it’s on the left side of the page, halfway down, by the way). What really got me frustrated was that after I clicked on the link, there were no reports and no way to generate new ones. After a few days of yelling at my computer and finding no help from the “help” pages, I finally figured out that the solution to generating a new report was in clicking on an unlabeled button with an ambiguous graphic. Of course, even after all of this you can only export your current view in report form. No looking at stats by day or using other segmentation features that Google has rolled out over the last couple of years.
This reporting change screws over both veteran users and customers new to the AdWords platform. Vets lose functionality that they’ve grown accustomed to, and have to change their way of doing things unnecessarily. Newbies are bound to be perplexed by the terrible usability of the new feature and stuck looking frantically for their reports where they should be – in the “Reports” tab. All of this hassle for a feature that wasn’t even broken in the first place.
I really hope that Google wises up to their error and reverts their ill-guided change. You would think with the legendary obsession with user testing that Google supposedly has, they would at least split-test the reporting feature before they rolled it out. Unfortunately, it looks like somebody went with their gut instead of their head on this change, and we’re stuck with this ill-guided “improvement.”