First Look: The New AdWords Experience

With all of the recent news spreading about all of the upcoming changes in AdWords, as Paid Search managers, we have been eager to start testing some of these new additions to AdWords.  As part of our continued partnerships with Google, we are fortunate enough to be included in the early Alpha testing for The New AdWords Experience and we want to share our first look with you.  The new AdWords experience is essentially a complete redesign of the AdWords User Interface (UI).

Setting Expectations

Both as a reader of this post and for us, as experienced marketers and Alpha testers in this case, there are a couple of things that are important to keep in mind here in order to properly set expectations.  First, AdWords as we know it will still function the same as it ever has and all of these changes to the responsiveness and design are essentially on the surface.  Also, as we all know, any product still in an Alpha stage has a lot of growing still to do.  This iteration of AdWords is very basic and has a subset of the features that will be available in later versions. You can learn more about what is currently supported by visiting the Google AdWords Help Center.

Speed & Efficiency

After spending some time working in the new UI, you can definitely notice changes in the overall efficiency of the platform.  This is not only great for cross device support, it saves us time. There are some slight and some definitely noticeable improvements in the speed at which tasks are carried out.  Having run into the spinning “Loading…” wheel while working in an AdWords account many times, we have been on the lookout for speed changes. We’re happy to report that we haven’t run into any delays in the new AdWords UI and zero “Loading…” screens. Even more, some tasks now seem almost instantly completed. Also, the existing “Loading…” circle has been replaced with a slim blue bar that I’ve yet to see move much at all before the pages are fully loaded – it was a bit tough to capture. Over time we can probably expect to see this new version of AdWords run faster and more efficiently, using less resources along the way.

Old vs New - No more 'Loading..." screen.

Old vs New – No more ‘Loading…” screen.

Navigation Changes

One of the more noticeable set of changes are to the general navigation around the platform.  AdWords is currently tab based for a majority of functions but that has morphed into a stacked column navigation setup. There are 3 main areas for navigation in the new interface.

  • The top bar which essentially has breadcrumbs that update dynamically as you browse through your account providing quick access to higher levels in the account.
  • The main Navigation bar on the left side of the screen, which is collapsible, is where you can explore your campaigns and ad groups as well as navigate to other accounts (for AdWords Manager Account users). Also with this update, you will notice a new organization of your campaigns in the Navigation bar by status: enabled, paused and removed.  By default you will always see enabled elements in your account but can easily toggle the ‘Show paused’ and ‘Show removed’ options to see these campaigns in these respective groups.
  • Finally there is the new Page navigation bar.  This is replacing the existing tab structure and also updates dynamically as you explore through your account providing access to settings, ads, ad extensions and more.
The new AdWords user interface has a sleek and improved navigation.

The new AdWords user interface has a sleek and improved navigation.

New Look & Feel

If you’ve ever spent any amount of time in an AdWords account, you likely noticed that it was quite monotone.  Thankfully, those days are soon behind us.  The color schemes of the new UI have changed dramatically and it is no longer dominated by white space.  Google has included a cool blue theme throughout the newly redesigned UI and it is definitely easy on the eye. You’ll see this blue influence in all of the data graphs and the current page highlight as well as the button to create a new account element. Also, the date range picker has been given a nice overhaul and is more interactive.

Along with a visual overhaul, a number of features were updated.

Along with a visual overhaul, a number of features were updated.

The Overview Report

Upon logging into your account, you’ll be welcomed by the account Overview report.  This is Google’s new take on a quick account snapshot. It is meant to replace the reporting functionality currently found on the Home tab in your account.  The Overview report is available at the Account, Campaign, and Ad Group level and will display the most relevant information and insights based on where you are browsing within your account. This is a much more lively iteration on what would be considered a commonly unused report and with continued support for customization and the export functionality, the Overview could become your new favorite executive report.

The new Overview report is great for a quick glance at account performance.

The new Overview report is great for a quick glance at account performance.

Additional Improvements

We’ve certainly noticed a lot of subtle changes, far too many to outline in one blog post, but there are a couple of final experiences worth mentioning.

  • When choosing an entity to edit, your edit options, whether they are to change bids or edit ads, dynamically appear once you make your selection based on the type of entity selected.
  • The new design is definitely 100% responsive.  We’ve only tested it out briefly on a few devices but our initial reports are that the platform is stable and usable. You’ll find the same experience on all devices, just responsively adjusted for your device.
  • The new workflow for campaign creation is goal based. We’ve seen some of this in the existing version of AdWords, but it’s clear that goal driven decisions will become a more integral part of AdWords.
The campaign creation workflow has also been given an upgrade.

The campaign creation workflow has also been given an upgrade.

Final Thoughts

At this point, we can’t wait to further explore this redesigned version of AdWords. There is sleek, comfortable feel and approachable sophistication apparent throughout this new design and we’re really excited to see how this progresses over the next year. We’ll definitely be back with more updates. If you have had the opportunity to explore the new AdWords experience, we’d love to hear about it.

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