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Using labels in AdWords

With labels, you can organise the elements in your account into meaningful groups so that 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 that you create are performing relative to each other and to the unlabelled entities in your account.

Bob is an online retailer that sells clothing and accessories for men and women. He has campaigns for shoes, clothes and bags for each of his three major markets (London, Bristol and Manchester) and within the campaigns has separate ad groups for generic and brand keywords. This structure (e.g.: London - Shoes - Generic and Bristol - 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 trainers are selling in London compared to Bristol. With labels, however, Bob can create the label "trainers" and apply it to all trainer-related keywords across his account. He can then filter by this label on the Keywords tab to only see trainer keywords, or can use the Dimensions tab labels reports to aggregate performance by label. These reports allow him to compare, for example, how trainers perform against all other shoes, or how the label "trainers" 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, "Favourite" 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.

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 "Favourite" is associated with 18 clicks. That's because the total clicks for all the keywords under the Campaign no.1, which has the "Favourite" label applied to it, was 18. The label "Brand" is associated with 15 clicks because the keywords in Campaign no.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
Favourite 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 no.2 in Campaign no.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 "Favourite" 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 unlabelled ad groups.

Label Clicks
Favourite 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, "Favourite" 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 unlabelled keywords in this account.

Label Clicks
Favourite 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 colours, or see how many elements are designated with a particular label, you can visit the Labels admin page by clicking 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).
  2. Using the "Modify columns" button, add the "Labels" column to your statistics table if it's not there already.
  3. Select the keyword that you'd like to apply a label to.
  4. Click the "labels" drop-down menu.
  5. Select the labels that you'd like to apply, or create a new one in the drop-down menu.
  6. Click "Apply".
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. Select 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 that 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 that 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 upon 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.

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

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 down by label at the level that you selected for the date range that 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 labelling branded vs non-branded keywords. Since your branded keywords are likely to 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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