AdWords “Time Machine”?

A reader wonders:

Hi Howie, I have tweaked my campaigns to improve conversions but it’s resulted in a fall in sales, is there a way to revert to the campaign settings at a certain date?

My response:

The quick answer is no. There’s no magic “system restore” in AdWords.

You can go to the My Change History tool and see all the changes you’ve made, and then change them back one by one.

It might be a little late to say it now (for this reader, anyway), but a best practice is to make one change at a time and observe the results. If you made 10 tweaks and sales dropped, how do you know which change (or interaction of changes) caused the drop? Or what if the drop had nothing to do with your changes? (If you sell firecrackers, for example, I would expect a slow period following July 4.)

Without seeing your campaign and the specific changes you made, it’s impossible for me to offer specific advice. But I’d look for clues in the “nodes” – impressions, clicks, opt-ins, sales. Did your impressions fall off, while everything else remained steady? Did impressions hold while your CTR plummeted? Or did the same number of visitors arrive at your site, but fewer of them are converting?

Which campaigns have changed? All of them, or only some?

And here’s a case where you might find the account snapshot page handy. You can compare date ranges by lots of important metrics, both in table form and visually.

By doing some detective work, you may be able to spare yourself the task of redoing everything in the hopes of getting back to where you were.

Best of luck!

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  1. #1 • David Rothwell | Google Advertising Professional said on July 9 2008:

    Hi Howie (and reader), since I had to do a Windows System Restore just this morning, I had to answer this! There is (kind of) a Time Machine for AdWords – it’s the AdWords Editor.

    But, like Windows System Restore, you have to “enable” it. Once you have, you can download a full copy of your AdWords account and archive it. This protects you if something you changed goes wrong. Read more about how the AdWords Editor can help you manage your AdWords Account at:

  2. #2 • Howie Jacobson said on July 9 2008:


    Brilliant! I hadn’t explored any Editor features beyond the mass and offline change capabilities.

    When will your AdWords Editor tutorials be ready for the world?

  3. #3 • David Rothwell | Google Advertising Professional said on July 10 2008:

    Hi Howie,

    the Editor is very powerful once you get to grips with it – but there’s quite a learning curve.

    I recently coached a student for 6 hours and video’d it all. It’s ready for production and then available to all. I just haven’t yet had the time to learn Camtasia well enough to do it, or figured out how best to price it.

    If there was a clear interest and buyers waiting, that, of course, would change!