AdWords: Embracing the new interface

You may have noticed over the latter half of 2017 that you were being constantly followed by a shadow, unwanted and often quite persistent. Akin to the facehugger creatures from the Alien franchise, every now and again it would leap in front of your view, taking over your vision until fended off.

That alien, that phantom you have been fighting, futilely avoiding for the past six months has taken root in the cranium of agency and advertiser alike and it IS here to stay – so if you can’t beat them, join them. But how do we assimilate with such a creature? Well, embracing change and finding the pros that outweigh the cons allows for a more seamless, less hostile takeover.

Google Adwords

Of course, the above metaphor relates to Google’s long-awaited AdWords interface update (it was the word ‘interface’ that guided my tangent on facehuggers getting all up in your face… it’s how my brain works, please accept me for who I am), and although initially resistant to change, as is common in the human species, eventually I conceded and allowed Google to impose its shiny new platform on me.

In all honesty, when I wasn’t roaming the vast new universe looking for things that were “…just there a minute ago!” or gasping, tutting and sighing with disbelief, I actually discovered a few things. Those pros mentioned in the above paragraph have actually started to aid my assimilation – and I am going to share them with you as the inevitable hard switch is coming and you need to be ready.

Additional demographic targeting

In the original interface, demographic targeting was a somewhat limited option for search, but the recent release of demographic targeting for Search brought with it a very powerful opportunity for advertisers to cater their messaging based on their users’ gender and age – this proved very successful.

So, what’s changed?

Well, our new reality is similar to the original, with gender and age still a targeting option, but with additional options to target users based on household income and even parental status now available. Demographic targeting has become a much more impressive offering, previously reserved for display advertisers only. It is clear that this level of intelligent demographic data could make for some incredible targeting combinations moving forward, and you can only begin using the complete set if you switch to the new UI! Tempted yet?


When we’re not optimising accounts to drive performance improvements, more often than not your typical agency or advertiser can be found compiling data –  building insightful dashboards to track performance or show investment results. What I’m saying is that we spend a large part of our lives reporting. There are many external reporting suites available to make this task much easier and frankly, if you don’t already, you ought to be looking for one. That being said, our new alien friend has quite a few reporting options available for us now that are far superior to the drab old interface.

In terms of device reporting, the new interface gives us a visual breakdown of key metrics across desktop, mobile and tablet devices, allowing for a much more joined-up approach to the management of devices. But it doesn’t stop at devices, oh no – you are now able to view heat maps of performance across hours of the day, days of the week etc., which is a game-changer for ad scheduling management.

Oh, and if that’s not enough to tempt you to embrace your new role as alien host, you need to check out the new addition of what are essentially word clouds – you sort your keywords and search terms and a visual is presented that allows you to identify new keyword ideas and find negatives much more easily than before.

Keyboard shortcuts

This one is great if, like me, you don’t have the time to roam about the place looking for everything – the new UI now comes with nice easy shortcuts to aid navigation. You access the guide by typing the question mark on your keyboard.

For your benefit dear reader, here is a handy list of the shortcuts available – write them down, print them off, memorise them… whatever you do, use them, as these are sure to improve your workflow if embraced now!

  • G then T – Search page
  • G then S – Open settings
  • G then O – Open Overview
  • G then C – Open Campaigns
  • G then J – Open Ad groups
  • G then A – Open Ads
  • G then X – Open Extensions
  • G then K – Open Search Keywords
  • G then Y – Open Opportunities
  • Shift + W – Show/hide navigation panel
  • Shift + A – All campaigns
  • Shift + N – Create New

We’re loving that little facehugger now, aren’t we?

The overview page

Finally, and from my perspective, the best change to the UI has got to be the overview page. Once you open an account, you are presented with an unfamiliar view of your account. It is the overview page that we have been chased by since the new interface went live. It is this page that we often switch back to old AdWords because we just can’t stand the different view. But it is this page that we need to embrace.

The overview page has so much information available in one area that it essentially gives you a snapshot of performance without any navigation. You can review search terms in word cloud format (as mentioned above); you can see how your devices are working; you can review your peak times of the day and even get a snapshot of the competition on the landscape; and all you have to do is scroll down. Now honestly, how much better is that?!

Along with all the options available on the overview page, the visual presentation of these is actually pretty attractive and, like all good symbiotic relationships, the overview page dynamically changes depending on where you navigate most when managing the account… it’s always watching and it really knows you!

Now, I know there are a few bugs in the new interface currently, and to be honest, none of us like change all that much, but what Google has done is improve and add to an already incredible platform – if you can, persevere with it, spend time navigating it and you will eventually find your way to enlightenment. You + New UI = Awesome!

Google Adwords

by Chris Moon
23 March 2018



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