Millions of businesses around the world have relied on Google AdWords. In July, Google announced that AdWords would soon become unavailable. In its place would be a more efficient and streamlined interface with an entirely new brand, Google Ads. Here we will discuss some of the positive and negative changes in the transition to the new platform.
WHAT WAS INCLUDED IN THE UPDATE
July 24th was the day that Ads officially took over and forced users to use the new interface. There were many new changes and updates with the initial rollout as well as additional improvements since then. Some of the many changes that occurred were: the ability for new ad copy parameters and options, accelerated mobile page speeds, increased landing page parameters, and a completely new brand, look and feel of the site.
INITIAL REACTIONS TO THE NEW INTERFACE
When it was announced that AdWords as we knew it would eventually become obsolete, reactions weren’t positive. It was challenging to understand why Google was changing a platform that clients were used to and comfortable with. There are some things that are better in the new interface, but this list is far smaller than the list of negatives. In the new interface, there is an overview tab that has many visual charts to represent your account data. You can easily see things like trends in conversions, where spend has increased or dropped off, and how you compare to your competitors, among many other things. These charts are very helpful for just a quick overview of how the account is performing. Besides the overview tab, the entire layout of Google Ads is more visually appealing and user-focused than AdWords. While it took time to get used to, the various components of the platform seem to fit well in their new location and logically make sense, but just because it looks better, does not mean that the changes were necessarily positive.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK WELL WITH GOOGLE ADS
Although there are some beneficial components of the new interface, here are 4 places in which it falls short in comparison to its predecessor.
- The Search Query Report (SQR) is much harder to navigate. The SQR is found in the keywords tab. Ideally, the filters applied to the keywords would then apply to the search queries when you switch to that subtab, but this is not the way it works. You must reset filters once looking at search queries. If you click on a specific keyword and then go to the search queries, this seems to keep the filters in place, but this doesn’t always work. The new interface was designed, in part, to save the user time, but this ads time and effort to what use to be a simple report to pull.
- Moving quickly between keywords, campaigns, and ad groups is not as easy as it used to be. You can no longer select more than one campaign and see all the ad groups for those various campaigns without adding a filter in the ad group tab. This takes more time and is less efficient. At each level you must apply a new filter unless you click into a single ad group or campaign.
- Filters don’t go away unless you delete them. No matter how far you navigate off the filtered screen or what you do outside of Google Ads, no length of time will remove your filter. When using the new platform, it is essential that you check the filters you have before drawing conclusions from your data. There may be an incorrect filter applied that is skewing your analysis.
- The keyword planner is nowhere near as robust as it used to be. When trying to create new campaigns, the keyword planner tool was very helpful in the brainstorming process. With the update, this tool seems less reliable for a couple of reasons: 1) Search volume for the same keyword is portrayed to be much less in the new interface versus the old. Search volume is important because it helps us to determine if the keyword is practical to bid on and if it will get enough traffic to drive results. 2) The “find keywords” portion of the keyword planner isn’t as targeted as it used to be. Now, keywords show that barely relate to the core term, instead of populating highly relatable and useful keyword opportunities. This now takes more time to manually sift through to get decent keywords.
While the new interface is more visually appealing (and looks more similar to the Google Analytics experience than it used to), it takes more time to perform the same tasks due to extra steps that were not necessary in the old interface. The new platform was designed with the intention of creating a high-quality user experience and fast load times which, in turn, would be more efficient. While I have not seen a major difference in load time one way or another, I have noticed how much longer tasks take due to the extra steps involved. I believe the overall switch to Ads has the potential to be very effective and promising, but at the current state of the interface, that potential has not yet been met. Like any new advancement, continuous optimizations based on user feedback are necessary to take a good product to a great product. If Google Ads can adapt and find a utilize the best of the old and the new interfaces, I believe it can be an incredible tool to aid in search engine marketing efforts for advertisers worldwide.
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