Okay, we’ll admit it. Until recent months we have been logging into the new AdWords UI, and then running back to the trusty old beaten up sofa that is the previous interface. Like most ‘normal’ people we fear change, especially when we can navigate the old interface blindfolded.

However, slowly the lure of the new features and pretty graphs started to lure us in; now we actually really love the new interface!

The Good Stuff

Even though there are missing features, and we often have to return to the old UI to use them, there is much to embrace with the new.

1. The Ability to Quickly Find Features That Were Previously Buried in Menus…

  • Time of Day Segments – Before? Not without a load of effort and conditional formatting. Now? Lovingly heat-mapped right when you login. Bid adjustments are even highlighted for you!

  • Easy Navigation – Once you are past the overview screen, the new navigation menu means that all of those hidden gems you used to ‘love’ digging out, are now only one click away.
  • Auction Insights – Always a pain to find but now, POW! located directly on the home-screen.
  • Finding Useful Trends in Traffic – No need to go looking anymore. Pretty, meaningful graphs, straight off the bat!

These are just a few examples, and with almost all of the new oversights providing links directly to the relevant page within the AdWords interface, you can take action as quickly as you can see the data.

2. New Features and Capabilities.

Everyone loves an ad extension, and the ability to add promo extensions is only available in the new UI. These saw great results over Black Friday, and also worked well for clients running ‘gift with purchase’ promos as you can add the code details to the promo extension.

For businesses who depend on leads from calls, the new UI features the ability to make use of Google’s machine learning, and adjust bids up for searches more likely to result in phone calls. It will also increase the chance of call / call only ads and extensions showing.

Add to this the fact that the new shopping showcase ads are only available in the new interface, plus the ability to finally create Gmail campaigns by ticking a box, and there are plenty of reasons to hang around in the new UI.

3. Keyboard Shortcuts.

Navigating in the old UI was fast because of familiarity, but trying to teach newbies the idiosyncrasies always highlighted its complicated nature. ‘How do I get back to see all campaigns?’ – ‘Well it’s simple. You just click here, here and then here whilst standing on one leg and whistling the theme tune to the A-Team’ would be a typical response.

The new UI provides super quick navigation by providing keyboard shortcuts, mostly triggered by pushing ‘G’ followed by something. Now the discussion would be ‘How do I get back to see all campaigns?’ – ‘Push ‘G’ and then ‘C’.’

There is also a cool ‘spotlight like’ search triggered by pushing ‘G’ and then ‘T’, and even a shortcut to see the list of shortcuts (push ‘?’ in case you hadn’t found it).

On top of the bigger features highlighted here, it is also much easier to manage ad extensions, and create and use shared negative lists, so lots to love!

The Not-so-Good Stuff

Despite all of the cool stuff mentioned above, there are still parts that frustrate, annoy, or are simply missing from the new UI.

1. Quality Score Component Parts.

We waited forever for Google to report on the 3 component parts of quality score, and then it doesn’t feature in the new UI. Thanks a bunch Google! -UPDATE, this now exists!

2. Ease of Reading the Main Table.

This could just be down to personal preference, but we find the main tables in the new UI harder to read. This is possibly because of the lack of vertical lines to separate columns. Sometimes when you segment you don’t even get horizontal lines, which can make data hard to read.

3. Filtering Seems Harder.

The old way of filtering seems to work better with different filters under sub-categories. The new UI just puts everything in a big list. This is made slightly easier by the fact that some predetermined filters have been added, such as ‘good quality but low traffic keywords’. There is also the ability to search for your filter, but it just doesn’t feel as intuitive as it did before.

4. The Ability To Preview Ads.

One of the things both direct clients and agencies often ask for is screen-grabs of the ad previews. It helps visualise the ad copy when people may not be aware what a ‘path 1’ or ‘headline 2’ mean, and can also show how an ad will render much better than data in a spreadsheet ever could. -UPDATE, this also now exists!

Well, you can’t do that in the new interface anymore so we’ll be going straight back to the old one for this for the foreseeable future!

The verdict so far…

As you can probably tell, the things we love are all pretty major ‘life-changers’ whilst the things we’re not so keen on, are probably a little on the petty side of things, annoying us due to our familiarity with the old interface. (UPDATE, some of these things have recently been improved, suggesting that Google are listening to user feedback!).

The truth is that here at Pratt Digital, we’re not quite ready to say ‘Adios old AdWords interface’ just yet but are loving many of the new features only available in the new version. We can see Google are heading in the right direction with it and look forward to seeing more new functionality in the future!

Want to learn more about AdWords? Check out our guide on how to avoid losing money through this marketing channel. Part one can be found here!