New AdWords Interface vs Old: the Good and the Bad

Choose the Service You Need

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).

Scary Change

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: 

Old Google AdWords Interface - Campaign Management

And here comes the new interface:

 New AdWords interface: 

New Google AdWords Interface - Campaign Management

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!).

Campaigns view

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 

Old Adwords interface - setup labels

In the new UI you won’t see an option to add labels unless you choose a campaign:

 New AdWords interface: Labels 

Old Adwords interface - setup labels

Tools for Analysis

I’ve created 2 screenshots to compare the placement of the following tools in the old and new AdWords interfaces:

  • Segment
  • Filter
  • Columns
  • Expand/collapse the chart
  • Export
  • Chart view options
  • Auction Insights

I used different colours to highlight those options in both interfaces:

 Old AdWords Interface: Analysis Tools 

old AdWords - Tools for analysis-min

 New AdWords Interface: Analysis Tools 

New AdWords UI - Tools for Analysis

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:

New AdWords UI - monthly, daily, quaterly chart view option

Auction insights

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 

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
 New AdWords Interface: Auction Insights 

New AdWords Interface - Auction Insights

I like the placement of Auction Insights in the new AdWords interface, it’s more prominent here compared to the old one.

Dimensions Tab

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) 



Keywords View

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 

New AdWords - Search Keywords tab

Keyword Diagnosis

Old: Details -> Keywords Diagnosis

 Old AdWords Interface: Keywords Diagnosis 

Old Google Interface - Keyword Diagnosis

New: More -> Diagnose keywords

 New AdWords Interface: Keywords Diagnosis 

New Google AdWords Interface - Keyword 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 report

 Old AdWords Interface: Automated extensions 

Old AdWords interface - Automated extensions report

New: Ads & extensions -> Automated extensions

 New AdWords Interface: Automated extensions 

New AdWords interface - Automated extensions report

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 

New AdWords interface - tools overview

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:

  • Tools
  • 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 Keywords

 Old AdWords Interface: Negative keyword lists 

Campaign negative keywords - old AdWords interface

New: Tools -> Negative keyword lists

 New AdWords Interface: Negative keyword lists 

Campaign negative keywords - new AdWords interface

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 -> Feeds

 Old AdWords Interface: Business Data Feeds 

Old Google AdWords - Business data feeds

New: Tools -> Business Data (under Setup) -> Feeds

 New AdWords Interface: Business Data Feeds 

New Google AdWords - Business data feeds

Conversions & Attribution

Old: Tools -> Conversions / Attribution

 Old AdWords Interface: Conversions / Attribution 

Old Google AdWords - Conversion - Attribution

New: Tools -> Conversions / Search Attribution (under Measurement)

Note that ‘Attribution’ became ‘Search Attribution in the new AdWords interface.

 New AdWords Interface: Conversions / Attribution 

New Google AdWords - Conversion - Attribution

General Settings

In the old UI Location, Ad Schedule and Devices options were hidden within the Settings tab:

 Old AdWords Interface: General Settings 

Old Google AdWords - Settings Tab

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 

New Google AdWords - 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:

New Adwords Interface: Promotion Ad Extension

To set up a promotion ad extension, go to Ads & extensions -> Extensions -> Extension type -> Promotion extension:

New Adwords Interface: How to Add Promotion Ad 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:

New AdWords - Notes

Notes are available on 3 different levels:

  • Account
  • Campaign
  • 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:

New AdWords - how to add Notes

Ad Variations

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.

Performance Overview

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.

New AdWords Keyboard Shortcuts-min

Wrapping Up

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!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *