New AdWords Interface

Last year Google announced it would be updating the AdWords interface. After 15 years of almost no changes the UI was arguably dated and in need of a face life, but it’s still taken another year for it to grace our screens. The rollout that started at the end of 2016 and finally began to gain momentum this year. We’ve now got our hands on the new interface – here’s our initial thoughts.

What to expect from the new AdWords interface

With one of our client account granted access to the promise land, we could finally get our hands on the new interface to start playing around. One of the most startling changes is the move from horizontal navigation to a left-hand sidebar. Intuitive but disorientating, even for the most experienced AdWords professional, navigation to ad extensions, demographics, keywords, and settings have all moved to the left to make room for the new graphical view.

The new AdWords interface features big visual changes with the main navigation shifted to the left hand side and additional tools in a hidden menu.

The top configuration options for filter, segment, columns and other additional options are now all represented by icons, with change history moved to the new left-hand side menu. We’re still navigating our way around and discovering where functions have moved too, but so far so good.

New icons are used to represent key data options in the interface.

Top tip: really struggling to find something? Clicking the three dots in the section you’re working in generally reveals any additional features.

The new AdWords interface has a lot more to offer beyond a rearranged navigation of course. Here’s what we think are the best of the new additions and how they might help your PPC strategy and management.

Distinctive visuals

One of the most obvious and potentially game-changing additions to the new UI are the visuals. Almost all the visual graphs you know and love have been given a cleaner look, but it’s the new Overview section that really stands out. This section can be found at the ad group and campaign level and shows a series of ‘cards’ with some eye-catching graphs.

Aside from looking nice the Overview section simplifies some key data that was previously a bit of a nightmare to organise, making it easy to see and understand at a glance. Rather than diving into data and tackling multiple reports in Excel, you can now make data-driven decisions quickly and easily. We think this section could be particularly helpful in instantly spotting problem areas or opportunities such as wasted costs and best performers for ROI optimisation. Here’s a rundown of the best from the Overview section.

Dayparting

By far the best card from the Overview section is the new dayparting section. Not only is this data important for driving some potentially significant cost and performance decisions, but it’s also the best redesigned data in the new UI.

Previously finding, reading and comparing day and hour data was more than a minor hassle. Now Google has simplified the entire process, with tabs for Day, Hour and even combined Day & Hour stats. Easy to read bar charts and a convenient heat map means you can see the numbers for a range of metrics such as impressions, search share, clicks and conversions on any given day or hour. It’s now easier than ever to find your most engaged or best converting times and make bid adjustments accordingly.

The visual day parting graph in the overview sections of the AdWords interface shows a much more in depth view of engagement to help drive scheduling and bid adjustment decisions.

Devices

As with dayparting, device data has previously been difficult to compare across metrics and campaigns. The new devices reporting in the Overview section now lets you compare stats from each device for up to three different metrics at a time. Comparing up to three metrics from a comprehensive range offers more versatile data with the potential for deeper insights and better decision making. This card will receive a warm welcome from advertisers who have started to see more traction with mobile or more diverse device activity and might reveal some undiscovered opportunities for advertisers that haven’t seen much action in this area.

The new interface makes it even easier to see and compare engagement across different devices for a range of metrics up to three at a time.

Biggest changes

The more experimental advertisers will undoubtedly benefit from this reporting area, with stats showing the biggest changes in both value and as a percent for a variety of metrics. These figures are ideal for monitoring campaigns after substantial changes and experimenting with new AdWords features. After recently taking complete control of this clients account, this report card has been particularly useful for analysing the best and the worst of each change as we work to overhaul and improve the entire account.

Get an instant and clear idea of the effects of any big account changes or updates with the biggest changes overview.

New features

The new UI is practical as well as pretty and introduces some new features, some of which were announced and began rolling out last year but will no doubt start to settle in and come into their own with the new interface. Most of the new features are simple but no less effective than the Overview reporting.

Goals

At the campaign level, Google has introduced a new goal feature that can be found under the Settings tab. This enables you to set a goal for each campaign, for example to influence consideration by encouraging website visits or to influence action like encouraging a purchase. Google will then make recommendations in the form of suggested settings and tips aimed at improving performance in line with your chosen goal. Just like AdWords Opportunities, this new feature should help to highlight some undiscovered improvement areas, and it can be seen at a glance for some quick yet effective account maintenance when you’re short on time.

You can set goals for each campaign to drive certain actions, and AdWords will then provide recommendations and account changes to help you meet your goals.

Advanced bid adjustments

Advanced bid adjustments is a new optimisation that enables advertisers to set bid adjustments on interactions for each campaign, such as placing a call from a call extension. If an interaction is converting and outshining the rest, adjust the bid and reap the rewards. It’s also an opportunity to encourage certain interactions to meet your campaign goals or to improve or unprioritise interactions that aren’t working. Plus, the new layout makes it much easier to see and track all your current bid adjustments for better organisation and quicker decision making.

Demographic targeting

At the end of last year, Google introduced demographic targeting for Search, although it was still more limited than Display targeting with just gender and age data available. With the new interface, this data is available for both Display and Search along with a wider range of demographics that now includes parental status and household income. The handy chart at the top lets you compare two metrics from a comprehensive list and should allow for even more in-depth analysis.

The new Google AdWords interface features even more in depth demographics for Search campaigns, helping to drive better targeting decisions and bid adjustments to convert better and spend budgets more wisely.

As just one example, our client showed some interesting results as seen above. While the youngest 18 – 24 age group showed the least performance in terms of impressions and clicks, they by far had the highest conversion rate. Incidentally, the CPA for this age group was also the lowest. An increased bid adjustment could make better use of the budget by winning more conversions at a better price. For retailers and some other industries, these insights could be even more beneficial, with gender specific messaging or specialised bid adjustments that target your biggest spenders.

Promotion extensions

A new promotion extension is now in beta and is only available for those with access to the new AdWords interface. Shown prominently at the bottom of a text ad and signified by a shopping tag icon, the promotion extension allows you to tell customers about special deals, sales and other promotions.

The new promotion extension is only available in the new Google AdWords interface and is shown with a shopping tag icon under ads on the SERPS.

Previously advertisers had to create separate ads for promotions that might only last a couple of days, resulting in a lot of extra work and taking up precious text space. Building on their Black Friday and Cyber Monday structured snippets, Google now takes out most of the leg work. Not only will it save advertisers time, it also uses more valuable search page real estate with a simple yet attention grabbing design.

The new extension is easy to navigate to in the UI and lets you choose the type of promotion, the occasion (if there is one) and extra details such as a minimum order value or a promotional code. Delivering all the promotional information up front could drive significant increases in CTRs and, potentially, conversion rates. With that extra headline freed up advertisers can afford to include brand names in conjunction with the product, price and promotion to begin building awareness, bringing the brand front of mind for their product lines and attractive prices.

The new promotion extension is easy to set up and allows advertisers to select the holiday if applicable along with promotion details such as dates and voucher codes.

What not to expect (for now)

While the new interface has plenty to offer in the way of convenient visuals and smart features there are a few things currently missing in the beta version.

Dimensions

The dimensions tab might one of the most missed by advertisers. Providing advertisers with the ability to compare a wide range of metrics across campaigns and ad groups, it enabled the creation of customised data segments that could provide much more insight than many other AdWords reporting features. Fortunately, it’s still early days for the new interface and we may see the reappearance of dimensions soon.

Price and message extensions

Both the message and price extensions are currently missing including the creation, management and reporting for these two extensions. Price extensions have only recently been rolled out to desktop and may be one of the reasons this feature isn’t available yet. As with dimensions, both features should be enabled at some point during the rollout of the new UI.

Some campaign sub-types

This includes dynamic search ads, mobile app engagement and mobile app install subtypes for Search Network campaigns and mobile app installs, shopping and bumper ad subtypes for video campaigns.

You can also see below for more primary features that are currently missing from the new AdWords interface.

There are some features not currently included in the new AdWords interface but many of these features should be included by the end of the roll out.
Image Source: WordStream

For many advertisers, more than just a few of these features may be necessary for daily or weekly adjustments and reporting. As a result, when you do get your hands on the new UI you may find yourself switching back to the old AdWords interface regularly if only to get back to more familiar territory every now and again.

Our verdict

While the key functionality of the new interface is the same, the overall look is very different. Even just the absence of dividers to separate the table columns has a dramatic effect on the appearance of the data. For a while, at least, advertisers should get used to taking a little bit of extra time finding the right tabs and reading information.

However, the main drawbacks so far are all likely temporary; missing features will should all be reinstated by the end of the rollout and advertisers will undoubtedly grow familiar with the aesthetics changes over time. The new AdWords interface seems faster and more intuitive, and the new advanced visuals and reporting features will hopefully help encourage even more data-driven decisions and better overall analysis.

Are you a business owner managing your own AdWords ? If you’re more than a little confused by the new interface this could be perfect opportunity to go back to basics and start building your PPC strategy from the ground up. Take a look at our AdWords training packages for more information on how we could help with everything from maximising ROI to tracking and reporting, or contact one of our team today on 01344 266 844.

Katy Smith

Katy Smith

Digital Marketing Executive

Katy is a Digital Marketing Executive at Netmatter with a degree in Marketing. She has so far gained experience in various areas of marketing including email, copywriting, social media and SEO.

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