New AdWords Interface vs Old: the Good and the Bad
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you know that Google AdWords (or should I call it Google Ads?) has got a facelift. And like any serious change, the new AdWords interface wasn’t welcomed by many advertisers, especially those who’ve been working in the old one for years (I’m with you, guys).
After switching back and forth between the interfaces, I decided to make myself study the new one, so I researched it and created this post. Its main purpose is to make you comfortable with the new UI, especially in terms of finding good old features in new places (as if somebody has made a rearrangement in your room and you can’t find anything). Here is a full summary of this post:
General Overview of Old and New AdWords UI
The old AdWords UI is to be sunsetted soon, but I’ll leave its screenshot here so we’ll be able to show our grandchildren how it used to look.Old AdWords interface:
And here comes the new interface:New AdWords interface:
As you can see, the main navigation has been moved from a horizontal bar to a vertical bar in the new AdWords. The campaigns and ad groups have remained in the same place, just got a refreshed look.
In this post I’m not going to point out each and every change that has been made, I’ll concentrate on those options that changed place and can be hard to find in the new AdWords interface compared to its older brother. Additionally, I’ll list features that are exclusively present in the new interface. Aaaand there will be a bonus at the end of this post! So keep on reading (too eager to discover the bonus? Jump to it!).
Well, I lied to you. The following navigation changes are applicable to not only campaigns but also to ad groups and keywords.
When you first look at the new AdWords interface, it might be challenging to find how to add labels to campaigns. In the old interface, you are always able to see the Labels option even if no campaign is chosen, in this case, it’s just inactive:Old AdWords interface: Labels
In the new UI you won’t see an option to add labels unless you choose a campaign:New AdWords interface: Labels
Tools for Analysis
I’ve created 2 screenshots to compare the placement of the following tools in the old and new AdWords interfaces:
- Expand/collapse the chart
- Chart view options
- Auction Insights
I used different colours to highlight those options in both interfaces:Old AdWords Interface: Analysis Tools
New AdWords Interface: Analysis Tools
While most of the settings are quite easy to spot, the chart view (daily, monthly, weekly, etc.) seems to be challenging. It’s just an icon with no description and, to be fair, it’s found in an unexpected place. Here is a closer look:
I’ve mentioned it in the previous point, but I’ll expand it here.
In the old interface Auction insights are buried under Details -> Auction Insights:Old AdWords Interface: Auction Insights
In the new interface you have 2 options to access the Auction Insights:
- On the top – it’s always available
- Under the chart – available only when you choose a campaign/campaigns to analyze
I like the placement of Auction Insights in the new AdWords interface, it’s more prominent here compared to the old one.
The dimensions tab used to be found in the main horizontal menu in the old Google Ads interface:Old AdWords Interface: Dimentions Tab
Now it’s called Predefined Reports and is hidden in the right side navigation under Reports:New AdWords interface: Predefined Reports (Dimentions)
This view follows the same pattern as the campaigns view in terms of the settings placement. But there are also a few things to point out.
They are called Search Keywords in the new UI (not to be confused with search terms).New AdWords interface: Search Keywords
Old: Details -> Keywords DiagnosisOld AdWords Interface: Keywords Diagnosis
New: More -> Diagnose keywordsNew AdWords Interface: Keywords Diagnosis
Ad Extensions (manual and automated)
Manual ad extensions are easy to spot in both interfaces, they are in the main navigation. The main difference is seen when it comes to finding automated ad extensions: they are buried in the old UI while in the new UI you will find them in 2 clicks.
Old: Main navigation – Ad extensions – view -> Automated extensions reportOld AdWords Interface: Automated extensions
New: Ads & extensions -> Automated extensionsNew AdWords Interface: Automated extensions
Shared Library and Tools
These two sets of tools are combined under the Tools tab in the new Google AdWords interface, just click the spanner icon, and here you are:New AdWords Interface: Tools
In this case, I like the new interface more. Those tools are logically structured and grouped while in the old UI they are all in different places which creates a mess.
As you can see, this new Tools tab combines the following options available in the old UI:
- Shared Library (including bid strategies, business data, budgets, negative keywords lists, placement exclusions)
- Gear icon found in the top right corner
And here are some examples of specific settings that were initially not so easy for me to find.
Negative Keyword Lists
Old: Shared Library -> Campaign Negative KeywordsOld AdWords Interface: Negative keyword lists
New: Tools -> Negative keyword listsNew AdWords Interface: Negative keyword lists
Business Data Feeds
This one was especially hard to find when I need to upload a Page feed for Dynamic Search Ads.
Old: Shared Library -> Business Data -> FeedsOld AdWords Interface: Business Data Feeds
New: Tools -> Business Data (under Setup) -> FeedsNew AdWords Interface: Business Data Feeds
Conversions & Attribution
Old: Tools -> Conversions / AttributionOld AdWords Interface: Conversions / Attribution
New: Tools -> Conversions / Search Attribution (under Measurement)
Note that ‘Attribution’ became ‘Search Attribution in the new AdWords interface.New AdWords Interface: Conversions / Attribution
In the old UI Location, Ad Schedule and Devices options were hidden within the Settings tab:Old AdWords Interface: General Settings
The new UI makes it easier to get an overview of general settings for all campaigns: Settings, Location, Ad Schedule, Devices:New AdWords Interface: General Settings
Here you also have an easy access to Account Settings.
New Options available only in the New UI
There are some cool features that Google made available exclusively in the new UI. It was one of the measures to help push advertisers to it.
Promo Ad Extensions
If you have special offers, sales, this ad extension is worth trying. It looks like this in the search:
To set up a promotion ad extension, go to Ads & extensions -> Extensions -> Extension type -> Promotion extension:
AdWords notes are very similar to annotations in Google Analytics: whenever you have an important update of your campaigns, you can mark it and display on the historical data chart:
Notes are available on 3 different levels:
- Ad Group
To add a note you will need to open a notes panel either from Campaigns or Ad Groups views. Go to More -> Open notes panel:
If you want to test different aspects of ads (e.g. a call to action) across multiple campaigns or the whole account, ad variations are your best friend.
They can be found at Drafts & Experiments -> Ad variations.
Responsive Search Ads
Testing, testing and even more testing – this seems to be one of the main priorities of the new Google interface. Damn, I like it!
Well, responsive search ads are not entirely for split testing but they do use machine learning to determine best performing variations of your headlines and description and show them to users. So technically it can be treated as testing.
To add a responsive search ad, navigate to Ads & Extensions -> Plus -> Responsive Search Ads. Currently, this type of ads is in beta.
This tab seems to be a replacement of the old Home tab which wasn’t that helpful, frankly speaking, I’ve hardly ever used it.
But the new Overview tab contains valuable information on the account performance, including:
- Biggest changes
- Search terms
- Most-shown ads
- Auction insights
- Devices breakdown
- Day & hour, etc.
No more words! Go and check the Overview tab yourself!
As promised, here is a bonus: a list of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate the new AdWords interface much faster. Fell free to save it.
Well, the new AdWords interface is not that bad after all. However, its most advantages are the new features that are exclusively available there compared to the old UI.
In terms of the colours choice, the old AdWords interface is still my favourite as it makes easy to scan numbers at a glance.
Anyway, we’re leaving in a constantly evolving world, and though some changes are not welcomed, they might be good. There will definitely be a learning curve but one thing is for sure: the new AdWords interface is not going anywhere whether we like it or not.
Which interface do you prefer: old or new? Was it hard to switch to the new one? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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