3 PPC Features That Aren’t Ready For Prime Time

There’s an old adage in the car-buying world that advises people never to buy a new model car in its first year. Why? The manufacturer hasn’t worked all of the bugs out yet, so you’re likely to encounter down time while the car is in the shop.

The same thing is true of technology: look at the iPhone 6 and all the gaffes it experienced early on. And Windows 8 is universally hated, to the point that Microsoft skipped Windows 9 and went right on to making Windows 10.

In PPC, we also come across new features that aren’t ready for prime time. Here are the top 3 PPC features that might have benefited from a bit more beta testing.

The New Adwords Editor

Last month, Adwords held yet another “announcement” event. One of the highlights, in addition to one of the speaker’s sweaters, was the rollout of a new Adwords Editor.

The current editor, while a must-have tool for PPC managers, has limitations. It doesn’t support shopping campaigns well. It doesn’t allow copying across accounts. It doesn’t have an “undo” button.

The new Adwords Editor v.11 has all of those features, and more. But it’s missing some key elements, too. And it’s buggy. Here are just some of the issues that PPC Chat users have reported:

•    Won’t load/ freezes
•    Error messages
•    Missing metrics
•    No callout extensions
•    Keyword planner is gone
•    No click data for sitelinks

I was all set to download the new Adwords Editor, and then I started seeing these reports. I decided to hold off. Perhaps Adwords is using the PPC community as one big beta test?

Bing Ads Universal Event Tracking (UET)

I was excited to get started with this much-ballyhooed tracking tool from Bing Ads. It’s called “universal” because it was supposed to be one tracking code for all accounts across an agency: “In Bing Ads, tags are defined at the customer level. This means that you can use the same tag to define and track goals across all your accounts and campaigns. This flexibility allows you to instrument your site just once (when you create your first goal) and keep defining new goals to measure without ever needing to add another tag to your site.”

In reality, while that is technically true, in practice it’s not that simple. First of all, you’ll find the tracking code in different places, depending on whether your client’s account is a “built in” account or a “linked” account.

I’m not even sure what that means, except it means I can’t see the UET code for all my clients when logged in to our agency Bing Ads account. Apparently, for some accounts, I have to log in to the child account. Which I didn’t even know existed for Bing Ads. And I certainly don’t have logins for any of these child accounts.

To make it even more interesting, Bing is retiring the old conversion tracking scripts effective in April. So we’ve all got less than 3 months to figure this out. I’m a little scared.

LinkedIn Ads

I wrote about LinkedIn back in November 2013 and the fact that they didn’t want my money. Merry Morud wrote about their terrible interface back in July 2013.

Here we are 18 months later, and the only thing that’s changed is their timeout – it takes a little longer than 5 minutes now to time out, and it doesn’t log you out when you’re actively working in the interface.

Every other complaint that Merry made about their interface still exists. It’s crazy that LinkedIn, with its $8-10 CPCs, hasn’t done a single thing in a year and a half to improve their UI. Twitter and Facebook have made huge leaps ahead, while LinkedIn sits and languishes with its awful UI and expensive clicks.

One thing that really bugs me about LinkedIn Ads is that there is no way to keep sponsored posts from displaying to people who already follow you, nor from your own employees. We’ve had clients who’ve ended up paying (at $8-10 a crack) for their own employees to “like” their sponsored posts. Crazy. The LinkedIn Ads UI is definitely not ready for prime time.

Found any other PPC features that aren’t ready for prime time? Share in the comments!

Related Posts:

LinkedIn Leaving Some Users Tapped-Out

Andrew Goodman has a thought-provoking post on his Traffick blog today about the “dark side” of LinkedIn, the social/business networking site. The timing of the article, for me, is interesting – a few of my co-workers have been building their LinkedIn networks, and I’ve gotten a lot of requests recently. I’ve also sent out a few of my own – I guess I was inspired by my colleagues to try to build my network a little bit. (I hadn’t gotten around to inviting Andrew to join my network yet – guess I’ll have to rethink that one, huh Andrew?)

Andrew’s first point is “You give people a “permission” channel, and they’ll find a way to spam it.” While I haven’t personally gotten any LinkedIn spam, I’m sure it happens all the time – especially to people like Andrew who are well-known in their field. I suppose if I wrote the seminal book on Google Adwords, I’d get plenty of LinkedIn spam 🙂

Anyway, the point about spam got me thinking about a bigger issue: If you give people something online for free, they’ll find a way to spam it. Take Blogger, for instance, or any blog platform. Do a Google Blog search on just about anything, and you’ll find hundreds of splogs full of affiliate links and scraped content. If sploggers will scrape my little blog (which they do), they’ll scrape anything.

Free email is another spam vehicle, as anyone with a Gmail or Hotmail account can attest to. Online discussion groups are another culprit: put up a Yahoo or Google Group, and watch the spam fly in. Same thing with online forums. To keep the spam away, most forums and groups have to resort to recruiting volunteer moderators, who spend considerable time deleting the spam (or interring them in the Forum Spammer’s Graveyard). It’s unfortunate, because groups and forums can be some of the best communities on the web, for both work-related and non-work-related pursuits.

What’s the solution to all the spam? Andrew suggests “declaring email bankruptcy” and culling your LinkedIn contact list. Good ideas, to be sure. What other options are there? Or should we all just accept the fact that there really is no such thing as a free lunch?

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts