Our 3 Favorite New Features in the Google Ads UI

December 27, 2018

By now search marketers should be comfortably using the new Google Ads UI to manage their campaigns. While the adoption may have initially been painful, Google has gone through great lengths to continuously update the interface with (almost) all of the features we came to love in the old UI, and added a few cool new features as well.

In this blog series we will be covering some of our favorite new features in the new Google Ads UI.

1. The left-hand sub-nav

left hand sub nav

When this new layout appeared I was apprehensive, upset, and even a little intimidated: Didn’t Google realize they were messing with our routines and slowing down the processes search marketers had built over years of using the old UI?

The original left-nav menu has been around for a while, first launched around 2010, it too felt a little annoying, but it was an addition to the UX, not a complete re-vamp. I accepted it readily, finding it a time saver for navigating my campaign lists and accessing the newest features like shared audiences. Then, with the new UXI thought angrily, “Great! Another menu? Why don’t they just add 4 more left navs for all the good it was doing.” But after a few short days of constant use, I realized, this new nav system was incredibly intuitive and useful.

Gone were the days of searching through menu after sub menu to drill into specific features like audiences or demographics data. I could see this data at any level and I could get to it in 1 click. Not only that, but the menu system also feels more intuitive: I start with the left most tab to all campaigns or an isolated set, then move to the next nav to drill down even further.  No clicking on the left nav, then top nav, then adding filters. I can see almost every feature about a campaign or set of campaigns and their sub-elements in 2 clicks. I hope you too learn to love it as much as I have.

2. “Go To”. AKA Search!

go to feature

We’ve all had our brains slowly re-wired by search engines for years, and Google took advantage of this by adding this tool front and center at the top of every page in the UI. This feature was extremely useful from the onset, allowing us early adopters to find (or not) those features that we were familiar with in the old UI but couldn’t seem to find in the new UI.

After 8 months of daily use, I still find myself using the search feature at least 2-3 times a week. This is especially true when new features, reports, or metrics become available. Google Ads continues to become more specialized and I have to be a specialist across all of these features to be a successful marketer. Search, Display, Shopping, Video, Remarketing, Audiences overlays, Demographics, Custom Metrics, the list goes on and on. Search is the life-saver for finding these elements in an ever more complicated tool.

One cool feature for those newbies: Search goes beyond just taking you to specific elements of the UX! Use the search tool and search for “Guided Steps.” These allow you to access Google’s  overlays that introduce you to the new UX. A must for anyone who wants to be proficient at using Google Ads.

3. Recommendations

search feature

Previously known as the Opportunities tab, Google gave us a fantastic new tool for identifying areas of improvement in an account.

Recommendations start with a grade out of 100%. This tells you how “optimized” your account or campaign is to Google Ads idea of an ideal structure. The tool then breaks down what elements are causing you to not be at 100% and organizes them from high to low in terms of how much they are counting against your perfect 100% score.

This report can be found in the second nav, and gives customized recommendations based on the element you are drilled down into. If you have selected a specific campaign, you will see the ranking and recommendations for that specific campaign. If you are at the account level, you’ll be given an aggregate score and recommendations for all campaigns.

Some of these recommendations may not make sense for your business, so don’t take them at face-value. However they will offer insights into how Google’s automation evaluates your account. Maybe you think your keyword organization is good because it helps with your workflow or is in-line with how products are listed on your website, but that’s not how Google sees it. They see your account as a series of quantitative variables: relevance, performance, quality scores, each one with an “ideal” setup.

By carefully reviewing these recommendations you can identify what Google wants and therefore what will help you get the most out of its automated tools and potentially, how to improve your Quality Scores. This is especially true with their Ad Group and Keyword organization recommendations. If the tool says you can show more relevant ads by organizing your keywords by theme, it is our belief that the tool is telling you how Google’s Automation see’s keyword relationships to ads. We are working to test this theory and see how much these specific changes help Quality Score. Again, your business needs may vary, but it will steer you towards an organization that will help your relevance in Google’s eyes.

The tool is insanely useful and I strongly recommend that the next time you are in Google Ads you go check it out and see what low-hanging fruit you may be missing. Best of all, a lot of these recommendations can be applied automatically through the Recommendations interface simply by clicking on the “Apply All” button.

Some things to watch-out for:

You don’t have to have 100% optimization to truly be 100% optimized. I have campaigns graded at 80% and the 20% fix is to move to an automated bid strategy. That doesn’t mean I have to move to an automated bid strategy.

Google doesn’t know your business as well as you do. They often recommend new copy, which is great! But you should be vigilant and review ads carefully before launching them willy-nilly.