4 Useful Features Hidden in the New AdWords Interface

We’ve already talked broadly about some of the new AdWords (and AdWords related) features revealed this week at Google Marketing Next. The event featured a bit of everything, from shiny new toys (circuit boards! New Google properties! Voice stuff!) to puppies.

Unfortunately, despite fanfare and legitimate use cases for everything revealed, most AdWords advertisers aren’t going to notice the new stuff at their disposal; many won’t take advantage of Life Event targeting (sad!) and fewer still will make use of potentially game-changing tools like Google Optimize or Surveys 360.

Come December, though, every single one of us will come face to face with “the new AdWords experience,” the pet name Google’s given to their complete overhaul of the AdWords user interface.  

Screenshots and demos of the re-skinned UI have been floating around online for a few months now, and many WordStream clients have already been granted access to the Alpha; don’t worry, you can revert back to the good ‘ol fashioned AdWords we all know and love with the click of a button.

The new UI is aesthetically pleasing, sure. It’s full of data visualizations and expanding three-dot menus and colorful representations of account data. But while it might feel intuitive to the uninitiated, seasoned vets will quickly find themselves lost in search of features they’ve used a thousand times.

There’s a flip side to this coin, though: the reshuffling of just about everything means there are some pretty great new features at your disposal. Some are right in front of you (see: the uncountable number of colors painted across the dozen graphs that greet you), others are hidden gems.

Let’s take a quick look at five things buried in the new AdWords UI that should excite advertisers and agencies alike.

1. New Demographic Targeting Options!

Recently, Google released Demographic Targeting for Search Ads as a powerful tool for advertisers to cater their reach and messaging to users of different genders and ages. These targeting options were immediately powerful for advertisers of countless verticals.

In the old AdWords UI Demographic information was available for advertisers to use. For search, at least, it looked a little something like this:


In their new UI, Google doubles down on these demographic targeting options, allowing advertisers to target users based on their household income and parental status as well.

Previously, only display advertisers could target by parental status. Likewise, advertisers could previously target locations based on their relative average household income under their locations targeting, but not target individuals. These two additions grant advertisers additional flexibility in who and how they reach different audiences on line.


Parental status targeting could be a game-changer for several industries. Sure, brands that sell baby products or childrens’ toys will enjoy this one, and parents become an increasingly important audience during the holiday shopping periods and Back to School shopping. But savvy real estate and auto advertisers could potentially take advantage of this targeting and attempt to sell larger homes or cars to larger families!

Household income targeting can be particularly powerful in helping you cater your ads to audiences with different price sensitivities. If your product or service is competitively priced, promote that in your ads targeted at low and average income audiences. Conversely, if you’re selling high-end luxury products, you may want to bid more aggressively for affluent (or price-insensitive) users.

2. Promotion Extensions [Still Coming Soon!]

Google’s newest extension – Promotion Extensions - is currently in beta.

If you have access to the new UI, though, it’s listed among the other extensions (in the conveniently renamed “Ads & Extensions” tab).


Promotion extensions will allow you to highlight a special sale on your website. By doing so through an extension, you’ll save yourself valuable, limited characters in your ad copy. You can also use the opportunity to double down on your promo, referring to it in one of your two headlines, a URL path, and the extension as you close in on the end of your offer to hammer home the value it represents.

Early beta tests of the new extension are promising: we’ve seen very high CTRs – often well over 10%.

3. Reporting Gets a Facelift

The new UI offers plenty of powerful reports to make analyzing your PPC campaigns easier. AdWords now visually displays the breakdown of clicks, cost, and conversions across desktop, tablet, and mobile, making it easier to manage your campaigns and optimize your device bid adjustments.


The new AdWords also highlights bar graphs and heatmaps for how your ads perform across different days of the week and hours of the day, making it easier to manage your campaigns’ ad scheduling.


This one hits home for me: I’ve been making heat maps in Excel for Managed Services reps for years now. It’s nice to see Google’s finally ready and willing to take some work off my plate.

Finally, Google now lets you sort both the search terms and words within your search terms in word clouds so that you can easily identify new keyword ideas and find new negative keywords for your campaigns.


Logophiles and data-junkies rejoice!

4. Advanced Bid Adjustments Make Life Easier

Managing your bids can be tough, guys.

But it’s even more difficult when you’ve got active adjustments in one direction or the other at six different levels in nine different places. This is shockingly common. It also guarantees weekly headaches.

Well, managing all your bid adjustments just got easier.

The new UI introduces advanced bid adjustments, which allow you to adjust your bid to drive certain actions from the SERP, such as placing a call from a call extension or call-only campaign.


Better still, it simplifies the way you can view and use bid adjustments, (almost) eliminating the desire to pull your hair out.

Some downsides of the new AdWords UI

First, and this is a big one: It’s not complete yet!

Advertisers have a lot to be excited about within the new interface, but they shouldn’t forget about their old AdWords experience just yet.

Although powerful, the new interface doesn’t include everything in the old AdWords, at least not yet. Advertisers may need to navigate back into the old AdWords UI to manage popular features such as display remarketing audiences and price extensions.


While it’s safe to assume that these features will be addressed through addition or consolidation before the December rollout, the fact that they aren’t currently available to trailblazing advertisers makes it unlikely that many of us will spend much time performing any actual account work in the new UI.

Exploration, though, is totally encouraged.

One more disadvantage of switching: Everything's different! So if you're used to the old UI, you're going to have to spend some time relearning where everything is.

If you find something in the new AdWords UI that seems obscure, out of place, or just plain interesting, let us know on Twitter and in the comments, below!

About the Author

Mark is a Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. He was named the 14th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2016 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.

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