how to delete or pause a campaign in google adwords

A typical well performing Google Adwords account will have several campaigns and ad groups. Over the course of time, your marketing strategies change. Some campaigns in your Adwords account will fall out of favor or might lose its effectiveness. Some might be just seasonal and needs to be put on hold till the next year. Or you could have made a mistake with one of your campaigns and just need to start over…Whatever the reason might be, you will need to pause or delete campaigns in the Adwords account at some point in time.

Pausing a campaign

Pausing a campaign will put it into a dormant and inactive state. This will preserve all the data, statistics, ads, keywords and settings of the campaign allowing you to activate and run the campaign at a later date easily. When the campaign is paused, the ads are not shown and it will not accrue any costs during the period. This can be particularly useful in several situations

  • Seasonal Campaigns : You might have some campaigns which run only at particular times of the year, such as the holiday season. You can pause it so that you can activate and run the same campaign again next time, or preserve the data and stats for the next time around to see what worked previously.
  • Budget Constraints: The marketing budget does not remain the same at all times. Sometimes it is leaner than others, hence putting some campaigns in a pause mode will allow you to cut down on the budget temporarily.
  • Ad Variations: Cycling through a set of equally well performing campaigns that cater to the same set of keywords using different sets of ads, can provide some variety to your campaigns and reduce ad fatigue.

Deleting a campaign

There are times when deleting a campaign altogether is much more desirable than merely pausing it.  You could have created one at some point which never really worked well. You could have devised a different and better marketing strategy than the one you were pursuing. Or you might have just broken up a successful campaign into multiple better targeted campaigns.

The funny thing about the deleted campaigns is that you can enable them again at a later day just as the paused campaigns can be. So, what is the difference between pausing and deleting? It actually works pretty much the same and the difference is merely semantic. It allows you to keep track of the campaigns by having different status: paused are those that you plan to re-use later in the near future and deleted are the ones that you want to discard completely (and forever!).

By default all your campaigns are visible when you view the account. That means all the ones that you have ever created, which can be quite a few if you have a long running account. It will show you all that have been deleted or paused as well, which can be quite distracting.

You cannot completely delete a campaign. Actually you cannot even delete the campaign at all in the truest sense of the word delete. There are some reasons for it, mainly reporting and auditing. There could well be other reasons specific to Google….

  • Reporting: Currently you can generate reports dating back to when the account was setup. Deleting one or more campaign and its associated data for a period of time within this time period will cause inaccurate reports.
  • Auditing: Google collects money from you for a service that was provided. It seems prudent and smart that they keep records as to why, when and whom they collected it from.

The only way currently to remove all the deleted campaigns completely is to create a brand new account. Then you can recreate the campaigns that you are currently running…… but it usually is not worth the effort.

If your prime concern is the fact that all the deleted campaign shows up visually on the page thus making it un-maintainable and cumbersome then you can choose to hide them from the interface. The Google Adwords interface provides three different views that can be used

  1. All: This shows you all the campaigns that has ever been created, deleted and paused.
  2. All enabled: This shows only the campaigns that are currently active and running.
  3. All but deleted: This shows you all the campaigns that have not been deleted. This includes various statuses such as enabled, paused, suspended, pending and ended.

Restricting campaign views in adwords

You can find this option on the top left hand corner of the campaign tab as a drop down menu. Using this option only changes the list of campaigns that are displayed (as in hiding the rows). You will see that the actual numbers that are shown in the table do not change. The totals at the bottom of the table will still include the data from the deleted campaigns. A new row at the bottom called Total – all enabled campaigns provides you with the table totals.