What is the difference between Draft Campaign and Campaign Drafts in Google Adwords

In February 2016, Google announced the launch of Google Adwords Campaign Drafts and Experiments.

It was an extremely useful new enhancements that allow Adwords users to test out their campaign settings changes to measure its effectiveness before posting these amended settings to the live campaign. I have a friend who is relatively new to Google Adwords read the following paragraph in Google’s support documentation on Set up a campaign draft:

Campaign drafts differ from drafts that are created in AdWords Editor. Although these are both ways to prepare changes to a campaign, Campaign drafts can be used to create an experiment, whereas drafts in AdWords Editor are campaigns that you don’t yet want to export to your account. Learn about AdWords Editor draft campaigns.

To truly understand what was the difference between campaign drafts and draft campaigns, she clicked on ‘Learn about AdWords Editor draft campaigns‘, she was shown the following steps to create draft campaigns:

  • In the type list, select Campaigns.
  • In the data view, click Add campaign.
  • In the edit panel, change the campaign status to Draft campaign.
  • Enter the campaign name and budget.
  • Optional: Edit the other campaign settings.

As a beginner, she thought that Google Adwords Editor is the Adwords Dashboard where she usually log in to create campaigns. She logged into her Adwords account and followed the steps provided but there was nowhere she could set a new campaign to draft! Every campaign created was automatically posted the minute she clicked on ‘Save’. She searched for hours on the internet and most of the results were about campaign drafts. No one seems to be talking about draft campaignsThe only article on draft campaign was provided by Google and it does not seem to work!

Little did she realise that there exists a Google Adwords Editor that was an offline tool and it was not the same as the Google Adwords dashboard that she logged in to create campaigns. The steps listed above was for offline Google Adwords Editor not for the online Adwords dashboard.

After showing my friend how she can set up Google Adwords Editor on her computer, I decided to write this post to clear the confusion and help people save some precious hours.


1. Adwords Account Dashboard Versus Adwords Editor

Many people who wanted to advertise on Google would have taken the step to do a search on Google with keywords such as ‘how to advertise on Google’. Whether they saw the Google Adwords advertisement directly or was referred through blogs, most people would have landed on the Google Adwords site where they will click ‘Start Now’ and be led through a 4-steps process of creating an Adwords account and campaign.  Once that process is completed, you will be led into your online Google Adwords Account Dashboard as shown below. Whenever you create your campaign by logging into http://www.adwords.google.com, you are using the Adwords online account dashboard, you are not able to set your campaign to draft because the minute you clicked on ‘Save’, your campaign is posted and enabled by default.

Adwords Dashboard

Few people realise that there exists an offline tool called Google Adwords Editor where they have to download the software to their computer. Even for some of us who attended Google Adwords lessons, there was little coverage on Adwords Editor. When you visit the Google Adwords Editor site, you will see a download link on the top right corner for you to download the Editor software:

Adwords Editor Download


If you create your campaign using the offline Google Adwords Editor, you can create campaign and set the status to ‘Draft’ as shown here:

Draft Campaign in Adword Editor


2.Draft Campaigns versus Campaigns Drafts?

A draft campaign created using Google Adwords Editor is a new campaign that have not been posted live. Once you have posted the campaign, i.e. once the campaign is enabled,  you cannot set the campaign back to draft. You can only pause or remove the campaign.

After you have posted (enabled) a campaign and should you want to make changes to the settings, instead of making changes and impacting the campaign immediately, you can have the option to create a draft to this live campaign. After creating the draft, you can choose to post the updates to the live campaign or create an experiment from your draft to test how your changes perform against the original campaign before making a final decision to post the updates. The video below by Google Adwords provides a very clear explanation on campaign drafts and experiments:

For more information on how to create campaign drafts, visit Google Adwords Help.

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