When changing the name of a business it is common to also change the domain name of the business website. When this is done, AdWords ads need to be updated to use the new domain as well. There is some "special sauce" to doing this in a way that results in a smooth transition that maintains the history on the account. In this post we cover what it takes to do this right.
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How to change Ads without losing performance history
Whenever you change an ad in an AdWords account something strange happens... the old ad is actually deleted and a new ad with your change is created in its place. You would think this is just an advertising change but in fact it is an entirely new ad. The reason for this in AdWords is that every little nuance of text and settings results in a measured effectiveness for that specific combination. This intelligence is used by Google to determine when to show a specific ad. By changing the Ad all that intelligence may be inaccurate, and so it is thrown out.
There is a huge problem because of this!
When changing an ad, the performance history is lost on the account overview and reports!
To avoid this problem a different strategy is needed: Creating side-by-side ads with the change.
Instead of changing an existing ad we want to make a copy of the existing Ads (and maybe ad groups and campaigns) and change the copy. This preserves all the performance information and intelligence of the original ads while allowing the new ones to become public.
If you are just changing the title or copy of an Ad, create a copy of the Ad with a different name so that it can live side by side with the existing ads. If there are a ton of ads you need to work on, see the bulk changes section. You want these Ads to be left in a Paused state after you create them.
If you are changing the website domain name, you're going to want to create a new Campaign with a duplicate of the Ad Groups, Keywords, and Ads that are then modified to use the new domain name. The reason for this approach is revealed in the upcoming PPC section, for now, trust us. Now, if this involves making a lot of copies of things, see the bulk changes section for details on how to get this done quickly. Set the AdGroups to Paused so that nothing runs.
So, at this point I'm going to assume that you have:
- The existing Ads, which are active
- The new Ads (either along side the existing ones or in a copied Campaign, Ad Groups, Keywords, Ads set), which are paused
How to migrate to the new Ads without destroying advertising cost
At this point you have the new Ads that you need created. We're going to deal with copy changes first, then domain changes. The reason for this section is that if you turn off existing ads and turn on new ones all at once, Google AdWords doesn't have any intelligence about the new Ads and so PPC will go way up until it is figured out again.
If the only change is to Ad copy, just turn on the new Ads. Google AdWords will start experimenting with the new copy and you can start to see the results. This will allow the existing ads to keep running and bringing you clicks while the new ones are tested.
If you're changing the domain name (and so have a separate Campaign setup) we're now going to reveal the WHY. The WHY has to do with operating within the existing budget. Here's how to get this change going:
- Set the budget on the existing campaign to 75% of the original setting.
- Set the budget on the new campaign to 25% of the original setting.
- Turn on the Ads and Ad Groups in the new Campaign
- Come back daily to check progress
- Once the Ads in the new Campaign are meeting your expectations for PPC you can adjust the budget on the campaigns by 25%
- Again come back daily to watch progress
- If the PPC results on the new Campaign continue to be met then continue in 25% increments until the new campaign is running with 100% of the original budget
How to make bulk changes to migrate to a new business name or domain name
First, there is no way to make bulk edits to Campaigns, AdGroups, Keywords, and Ads in the web version of AdWords. To do this you need to install the Google AdWords Editor which is a windows-only program that allows for copies and bulk edits.
I'm not going to dig in to the details of how this program works because it is updated regularly and any instructions we create will be out of date. So, look at the help documents available at the download website to understand how this downloads, changes, and uploads the Campaigns you're working with.
Since you already know what you want to accomplish this will be straightforward. Post in the Facebook Group if you need assistance.