The AdWords Editor can be a huge time-saver for managing AdWords accounts. Although the standard AdWords interface introduced basic copy/paste in late 2013 it doesn’t provide the same level of flexibility and speed provided by the AdWords Editor.
However, one area to be very careful with in the Editor is copying and pasting audiences linked to your campaigns. I like to add retargeting audiences to most search campaigns – particularly for bid adjustments for Retargeting Lists for Search (RLSA). As these audiences exist at ad group level AdWords Editor is a great method for quickly duplicating general / all user audiences across multiple ad groups.
It is reasonable to expect that the associated settings of the Audience will be copied. But as you can see from the example below, if you copy an Audience with a targeting setting of ‘Observations’ (previously known as Bid Only) and paste into another ad group, the settings can automatically switch to ‘Targeting’ (previously called ‘Target and Bid’).
As you may know adding a ‘Targeting’ audience to an ad group dramatically impacts who will see ads in the ad group. In the ‘All Users’ example here posting these changes would lead to ads only being served to users who have previously visited the website. Whilst this is a valid targeting strategy it was not the intention from a simple copy/paste in AdWords Editor, as we had expected ‘Observation’ which would allow us to make bid adjustments based on the audiences defined rather than exclude them.
Although it appears to be a bug in the Editor it is simply the case that fields for targeting strategy are contained within the ad group header settings. So to resolve this problem click into the campaign, choose to list ad groups and then click the flexible reach tab. Use the drop-down menu to adjust Interests and remarketing and set this to ‘Observations’ (you can quickly adjust this for all ad groups by selecting all or multiple groups in the Editor’s main window).
From now on, when you copy and paste your audiences in AdWords Editor all will be set to the much safer targeting setting of ‘Observations’.