Your Prep Guide to the New Google AdWords UI
Written by Kass Botts, Paid Social Account Manager
In March 2016, Google announced that it would be redesigning the AdWords interface to meet the needs of a mobile-first world. In October 2017, it announced that the new AdWords experience was available to all advertisers. The initial response was varied; many users expressed via social media chats that they were resistant to change, relying on the ability to return to the previous AdWords experience. However, in “mid-2018,” Google says that advertisers will be permanently moved to the new experience. In anticipation of the inevitable, we’ve created this practical guide to the new AdWords experience.
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First Impressions and Big Ideas
At first glance, a few things about the new interface really stand out. We noticed three “big idea” changes in particular.
Look and Feel
It features a design language that Google calls “Material Design.” This takes a digital approach to a paper-based look and feel, utilizing elements such as light and shadows to add depth and give users context around the actions they can perform. It also takes a mobile-friendly nesting/expanding approach that we think would be particularly helpful on a tablet or smartphone.
If in the old interface it was arranged horizontally, then it is probably now vertically arranged in the new AdWords experience, and vice versa. What was once in the left-hand navigation (e.g. conversions, shared library, bulk operations) is now in a top-right dropdown. Campaigns, ad groups, ads and extensions are now part of the left sidebar navigation as well. Basically, it seems that everything has flip-flopped from the old interface. While this may take a bit of time to get used to, it actually allows for more seamless moves between campaigns and ad groups to make changes in the interface that were once only easily made in the AdWords Editor.
High-level, Strategic Reporting View
The pragmatic focus of the new AdWords experience seems to be on a high-level look at performance for aesthetically-pleasing information to present to clients or decision makers. The highlights of the new interface focus on visual representations of the information that matters. Automated performance improvement is a focus area as well. The new interface gives us the ability to save the information we care about in one place.
New and Exclusive Features
There are many all-new features in the new AdWords experience that we’re excited about. Here is a list of all the new features we could find, and an image demonstrating where each is located in the interface:
The Overview page gives you access to customizable information to fit your performance and reporting at-a-glance needs. It contains cards that are curated to show data at each of your account levels.
Once called “Opportunities,” the Recommendations page gives a list of all of Google’s recommendations to improve account performance at various levels (account-wide, bid & budget, keyword, and ads recommendations).
With an additional two lines of text, promotion extensions allow you to highlight specials, deals, and sales in your search ads. As with other ad extensions, you are charged for a click when someone clicks your promotion extension.
Custom In-Market Audiences
Custom in-market audiences allow an advertiser to deliver its message to people who are likely interested in buying the products you offer. You can create your own custom audience based on topics and website data, or you can allow Google to use its own data and machine-learning to find customers who are in the market for your product.
Household Income Demographic Targeting
Previously, advertisers could target locations based on relative household income, but with the new interface you can target individuals based on household income demographics. You can also target by parental status in the search network, which was previously a display network feature only.
Showcase Shopping Ads
Curate related products to appear grouped together in shopping ads at the top of the search engine return pages (SERPs).
In the “Drafts & Experiments” section navigated via the left-hand sidebar, you can access the “Ad Variations” tab which allows you to select ads for which you would like to create variations. You can find and replace words, update text, or swap headlines for your ad variations.
source: Search Engine Land, 2017
Located in the top navigation dropdown, the audiences page is where your google display network audiences and remarketing lists for search ads can be managed all in one place.
Bid Adjustments for Calls
With the “Advanced bid aj.” section, you can now place bid adjustments to drive actions from the SERP such as calls from call-only campaigns or call extensions.
Landing Page Report
The landing pages report serves as a mobile performance assessment tool for each of the landing pages used in the ads in your account.
source: Karooya, 2017
You can easily move from one report or page to the next by utilizing these keyboard shortcuts available with the new interface:
Search Terms: N-Grams
Available as a card on the Overview page, this is an n-gram view of the most common words appearing in the search terms for your account. The darker the border around each word, the more impressions the word received.
source: Clix Marketing, 2018
Custom Columns at Keyword/Ad Level
While custom columns were available at the campaign and ad group level in the old interface, with the new AdWords experience you can customize columns for your keywords and ads pages as well.
There are many exciting new features, but a few key differences can make the new AdWords experience daunting to learn to navigate. Some things are located in a different place from the old interface, while others are renamed or have distinct feature changes. For example, the interface defaults to showing only enabled campaigns/ad groups/keywords/ads, and you have to use that section’s dropdown to choose to show paused or removed elements. A few actions such as modifying columns and segmenting data are now indicated by icons rather than labeled buttons as well. In addition to these differences, Google provided a list of key changes in this chart here:
What’s No Longer Available?
There are some features that are not even available any more in the new interface, (such as saved columns that used segments that no longer exist) or that at least are not yet available and require returning to the previous AdWords experience to access. Google has also listed these for us in a handy reference chart:
Though it will certainly take some getting used to, advertisers should make a permanent move to the new AdWords experience sooner rather than later if we want to be efficient when the switch is made for us in mid-2018 (when the “Return to previous AdWords” button will presumably disappear). We hope that this guide will help make the transition as smooth as possible for users experienced with the old interface, as well as serve as a guide for new users who want to know the features the new interface offers.