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Using labels in AdWords

With labels, you can organize the elements in your account into meaningful groups so you can quickly and easily filter and report on the data that is of most interest to you. You can apply labels to keywords, campaigns, ad groups, and ads, which enables you to see how the custom categories you create are performing relative to each other and to the unlabeled entities in your account.

Bob is an online retailer that sells apparel and accessories for men and women. He has campaigns for shoes, clothes and bags for each of his three major markets (New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania) and within the campaigns has separate ad groups for generic and brand keywords. This structure (ex: New York - Shoes - Generic and Massachusetts - Shoes - Generic) means that he has the same ads and keywords in different parts of his account. Without labels, Bob can't easily sort his account or run a report to see how well sneakers are selling in New York compared to Massachusetts. With labels, however, Bob can create the label "sneakers" and apply it to all sneaker-related keywords across his account. He can then filter by this label on the Keywords tab to only see sneaker keywords, or can use the Dimensions tab labels reports to aggregate performance by label. These reports allow him to compare, for example, how sneakers perform against all other shoes, or how the label "sneakers" compares with other individual labels.

Understanding labels

The diagram below illustrates how you can use labels to gauge the performance of custom categories across your account. In this example, you've applied two labels, "Favorite" and "Brand" to different elements in your account. It's important to know that labels aren't inherited down throughout the campaign. This means that if you apply a label to a campaign, the label only applies to that campaign, not the ad groups and keywords that are within that campaign. If you want a label to apply to an ad group or individual keyword as well, you'll need to specifically apply the label to each.

Labels applied at different account levels

There are four kinds of labels reports you can run, one for each element-type: campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords. They're located on the Dimensions tab in the "labels" view.

Blue circle corresponding to Label illustration Campaign-level Reporting

When you run a labels report for your campaigns, you see the label "Favorite" is associated with 18 clicks. That's because the total clicks for all the keywords under the Campaign #1, which has the "Favorite" label applied to it, was 18. The label "Brand" is associated with 15 clicks because the keywords in Campaign #2, which has the "Brand" label applied to it, received 15 clicks. The "Everything Else" row is blank because there are no campaigns in this account without labels.

Label Clicks
Favorite 18
Brand 15
Everything Else 0

Blue circle corresponding to Label illustration Ad Group-level Reporting

But, because labels are not inherited, things look different when you run a report at the ad group level. In this account, there is only one ad group with a label applied to it: Ad group #2 in Campaign #1. The keywords under this ad group received a total of four clicks. So, when you run a labels report for your ad groups, the label "Favorite" is credited with four clicks. The label "Brand" received zero clicks at the ad group level because there are no ad groups in this account with the label "Brand". The "Everything Else" has 29 clicks because that's how many clicks there were on keywords in unlabeled ad groups.

Label Clicks
Favorite 4
Brand 0
Everything Else 29

Blue circle corresponding to Label illustration Keyword-level Reporting

Reporting at the keyword level provides a different view. Here, "Favorite" received 17 clicks (keywords A and E), and "Brand" received 12 clicks (keywords A and F) because those are the total clicks on keywords with those labels. Note that the seven clicks for keyword A are counted in both rows because keyword A has both labels applied to it. Because it's likely that many of your keywords will have more than one label, it's unlikely that the number of clicks in each row will add up to the total number of clicks. In this report, "Everything Else" has 11 clicks because that's the total number of clicks triggered by unlabeled keywords in this account.

Label Clicks
Favorite 17
Brand 12
Everything Else 11

Managing labels

There's more than one way to manage the labels in your account. You can create, add, and remove labels directly from the labels drop down menu above your statistics tables on the Keyword, Campaign, Ad groups, and Ads tabs. However, if you want to add or remove labels as well as edit your label names, description, and colors, or see how many elements are designated with a particular label, you can visit the Labels admin page by clicking on the link on the left side of your screen.

Click the links below for steps on how to do the following:

Apply and remove labels using your Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords tabs.
  1. Click the Keywords tab (or the Ad groups, Ads or Campaigns tab). Keywords tab
  2. Using the "Modify columns" button, add the "Labels" column to your statistics table if it's not there already.
  3. Select the keyword you'd like to apply a label to. Select the keyword
  4. Click the "labels" drop down menu. Labels drop down menu
  5. Select the labels you'd like to apply, or create a new one in the drop down menu. Select labels
  6. Click "Apply". Apply labels
Applying labels in bulk

To apply a label to all entities in a table, including the ones on subsequent pages that aren’t shown on the first page, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the Keywords tab (or the Ad groups, Ads or Campaigns tab).
  2. Using the "Modify columns" button, add the "Labels" column to your statistics table if it's not there already.
  3. Check the box on the upper left corner of the table. This will select all of the keywords (or ads, ad groups, or campaigns) currently visible in the table.
  4. Click the message at the top of the table that says “Select all rows across all pages.”
  5. Then click the “Labels” button above the table and select the label you want to apply (or create a new one).
  6. Click “Apply.”
  7. You’ll see a message that your labels are being applied. If it’s a large job, this may take some time. Click “Run in background” if you’d like to leave this page. To monitor the progress, you can check on this request by clicking “Bulk Operations” and selecting “Bulk Edit.” Here you can view the status of all your bulk editing requests. Learn more about Bulk edits
Filter by label using your Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords tabs.
  1. Click the Keywords tab (or the Ad groups, Ads, or Campaigns tab)
  2. In the "Filter" drop down menu, select "Filter by label"
  3. Using the additional drop down menus, select the label or labels you would like to filter by
  4. Click "Apply"
  5. In the statistics table, you can see all the keywords (or ad groups, or ads, depending on what tab you are working under) with that label (or combination of labels) as well as the other labels applied to each entity.
Manage labels from the Labels admin page

You can get to the best place for managing your labels by clicking "Labels" in the left panel of your AdWords account. Here you can see all your labels, and how many campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords are designated with each. If you click on a number in either the campaigns, ad groups, ads, or keywords columns of this table, you'll be taken to a new table filtered for just that label and entity.

You can also add and remove labels as well as edit label names, descriptions, and colors.

Labels page

To change the name of a label, or its color, or to add or edit a description, click the label name or the color square and a pop-up box will appear allowing you to type in a new name, or select a new color.

View your performance data by label

Here's how to view your Labels performance data on the Dimensions tab:

  1. Click the Dimensions tab
  2. Click "View"
  3. In the drop down menu, select "Labels"
  4. Then select whether you'd like to view Labels data by keyword, ad, ad group, or campaign.
  5. In the statistics table you'll see your performance data broken out by label at the level you selected for the date range you've specified. The last row, called the "Everything Else row" shows a summary of performance for all elements that are not associated with the labels in the table.


The "Everything Else" row shows a summary of performance for all elements that are not associated with the labels in the table. In the case of an unfiltered labels report, the Everything Else row will contain the total performance for all keywords without a label. But, if you filter the report to show two of five labels, the Everything Else row will contain results for all keywords without those two labels.

This row comes in handy, for instance, when you are labeling branded vs non-branded keywords. Since your branded keywords likely represent 10-20 keywords, you do not need to create a label for the thousands of non-branded keywords in your account. Rather, you can simply run a report on the branded label and see the results from the non-branded keywords reflected in the Everything Else row.


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