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Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

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# 1
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I've got a bit of an odd one here!

 

Every couple of weeks I need to refresh hundreds of Adgroups updating the heading text of the ad and the keywords they target. The data to do this comes from an external csv file which I import.

 

Ideally I want to delete all the keywords and ads and then import the new ones but the actual behaviour of Adwords Editor doesn't allow this. If it sees a keyword is marked as removed it will skip the import.

 

Here's an example:

  • Say my adgroup is targeting the keywords 'red', 'green', 'yellow'
  • My csv file update contains keywords 'red', 'yellow', 'blue'
  • I delete all the keywords in Adwords and then run the import.
  • I'm left with an adgroup that only targets keyword 'blue'

It seems to be saying "You marked 'red' as removed so I won't import it". I see the logic but its giving me headaches Smiley Happy

 

For the ad text it is even worse. Many of the new ad texts in the csv file will be the same as the old ones. If I delete all the old ads and then import from csv all the ads where the deleted ad matches the csv file are ignored and I end up with hundreds of ad groups without ads!

 

Anyone know if there is a fix for this?

 

Many thanks

1 Expert replyverified_user
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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
May 2017

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Google Employee
# 2
Google Employee

Instead of Import > From File, perform Import > Paste Text. At the top of the dialog that appears, there's "Bulk Change Action" drop-down - you want Replace. Open your CSV file in Excel or similar, select all copy, then paste into the grid on the dialog (use "Paste from clipboard" button).

 

Do not manually delete keywords or ads before running the import in this mode. "Replace" option marks for deletion any entity that a) wasn't mentioned in the CSV data, and b) is located under the same ad group or campaign as another entity of the same type that *was* mentioned.

 

In your example, assuming all the keywords are in the same ad groups, Editor will add 'blue', keep 'red' and 'yellow' unchanged, and mark 'green' for deletion.

 

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by MosheTLV (Top Contributor)
May 2017

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Google Employee
# 2
Google Employee

Instead of Import > From File, perform Import > Paste Text. At the top of the dialog that appears, there's "Bulk Change Action" drop-down - you want Replace. Open your CSV file in Excel or similar, select all copy, then paste into the grid on the dialog (use "Paste from clipboard" button).

 

Do not manually delete keywords or ads before running the import in this mode. "Replace" option marks for deletion any entity that a) wasn't mentioned in the CSV data, and b) is located under the same ad group or campaign as another entity of the same type that *was* mentioned.

 

In your example, assuming all the keywords are in the same ad groups, Editor will add 'blue', keep 'red' and 'yellow' unchanged, and mark 'green' for deletion.

 

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
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Makes Sense but it doesn't work?

 

I have a campaign with 547 Ad Groups and 1,031 keywords. I tried to replace it with 12 Ad Groups and 26 keywords and made one change to Headline 2 in one Ad Group (which were all in the original campaign).

 

During the import Adwords editor said it had 'added' on Expanded Text Ad but the original remains (and is marked with a green dot as active) and the campaign still has 547 Ad Groups and 1,031 keywords.

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Google Employee
# 4
Google Employee

If you import, in Replace mode, CSV data consisting of a single row (besides headers) that adds one ad of a particular type (e.g. Expanded text ad) to one ad group, Editor should create that ad and also mark all the other ads of the same type in the same ad group for deletion. It won't touch any other ad groups, nor items of any other type. This is how it works for me. Is this not how it works for you?

 

Similarly, if you import, in Replace mode, CSV data that mentions 26 keywords in 12 ad groups, Editor should mark for deletion all the other keywords in those 12 ad groups (the 26 that were explicitly mentioned could be either added, edited or kept unchanged). It won't touch any other ad group, nor items other than keywords. Is this not how it works for you?

 

It sounds like you haven't actually set Bulk Change Action to Replace. The behavior you describe sounds like the usual "And or update" mode.

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 5
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"It sounds like you haven't actually set Bulk Change Action to Replace. The behavior you describe sounds like the usual "And or update" mode."

 

I have to agree that is exactly what it sounds like but I am most definitely selecting replace. I've tried this now just on one Ad Group. It will always add the new ad or keyword but never marks the ones that don't exist in the import data for deletion. I tried posting the data to Adwords just to see if it would mark the ones for deletion as removed when it went live but ... nope. I have all the new ads and keywords along with all the old ones that are not in the import data ....

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Google Employee
# 6
Google Employee

It appears you've found a bug in Editor. Replace mode works when you use Make Multiple Changes button on a particular view, but not in Account > Import > Paste text (where you can import a mix of different types). It's supposed to work either way. We'll look into it.

 

Meanwhile, as a workaround, you could import keywords and ads separately, via Make Multiple Changes button on a corresponding view.

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
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Yes ... just spent an hour on the phone with Google Support who came to the same conclusion and its also not possible outside of Adwords Editor either.

 

The Make Multiple Changes button might be a work around but one critical issue is this:

 - This week I want to target keywords 'green', 'blue' and 'red'

 - Next week I want to target keywords 'green', 'yellow' and 'red' (no problem, 'blue is marked as removed')

 - The week after I want to target keywords 'green', 'blue' and 'yellow' ... but 'blue' was marked for removal previously so it won't bring it back.

 

Is there any work around for this?

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 8
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OK - it seems the way to do it is to delete all the keywords and adverts, post these changes to Adwords and then use Make Multiple Changes to import the new keywords and Ads. This seems to confuse Adwords itself a little because in the list 'All but removed' it won't show the new keywords that are the same as ones that are previously removed however in 'All enabled' it does!

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

Google Employee
# 9
Google Employee

After you import (in whatever mode), or in fact make changes in any other way, you need to Post to make your changes live. At which point all keywords (and anything else) marked for deletion will be actually removed from the account.

 

In your scenario, you import changes, then wait a week with those changes sitting in Editor, unposted - while ads are still served with the original set of keywords. Then you want to import another set of changes (and presumably not post those, either). I'm not sure I quite understand the goal of this exercise.

 

But if that's really what you want, simply revert all changes before importing the second time. Select all relevant keywords, then choose Edit > Revert from the menu.

Adwords Editor - Delete all keywords and replace with new set issue

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# 10
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Just an update for anyone who stumbles across this and to reply.

 

I need to make small adjustments to the ad headline and keywords of hundreds of Ad Groups every couple of weeks to make sure the contents is up to date with our databases just like a concert venue might have an Ad Group called 'Current Show'.

 

I've now found the best work around which is to delete all ads and keywords from a campaign in Adwords Editor and post the changes. Next import all the ads and keywords in via csv for the entire campaign and post the changes. The csv file has to be complete with the Campaign name and Ad Groups but otherwise this seems to work in achieving my goal.

 

Thanks to all for their help!