Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Meet the New Boss- My Take on the New AdWords Interface

I’ve had a few weeks to try out the new Google AdWords interface and I like it a lot. In fairness, it is still in beta and there are some kinks to work out, but I find it to be very effective and intuitive. Part of that may stem from my familiarity with AdWords Editor. The branching folder system for campaigns and ad groups with tabs across the screen for settings, ads, keywords, and networks seems to have been taken directly from Editor.

Numerous people have complained about the speed of the new interface based on the Twitter comments I’ve seen. That hasn’t been my experience at all. Although there now is a small load time when you begin looking at campaign information, it’s not much longer than it was in the original interface. Other sections that used to take forever to load, like the Account Access screen or Billing Summary, now come up almost immediately.

I have no doubt that for the day to day setup and management of a PPC program, the new interface is much, much faster. It goes back to that branching structure. Instead of tabbing through every ad group to see keyword performance and make changes, you can view all the keywords in your campaign on one screen, and edit them in-line. Pause keywords, change bids, even edit match types without leaving that screen. The same goes for campaign status and daily budgets; it can all be changed from one screen. Setting up new ad groups with keywords and ad copy can also be consolidated to one screen.

They’ve even added a copy function that allows you to replicate keywords and/or ads in another ad group. This is a good beginning, though it feels incomplete to me. If Google could somehow reproduce their off-line drag-and-drop, cut-and-paste, and copy-and-paste functionality, I might not even need AdWords Editor anymore.

The new interface is not perfect. Although the Search Performance Query report can now be run from the campaign management screen, without needing to go to the report center, it still results in “138 unique queries.” Rumor has it that a more detailed (read “useful”) version of this report is coming, but it sounds like it may be a slow process.

There are also some display issues. You occasionally have to scroll left and right to see all the information on screen. Some drop down menus don’t display properly in Chrome. (Explain that one to me- they work fine in IE, but not in the browser developed by Google.) For some reason, the Ad Preview Tool will not load from the Tools menu for me. These are minor complaints, and I expect them to be ironed out by the time the new interface is out of beta.

My overall impression is that the new AdWords interface is faster, more intuitive, and more functional than the previous version. It’s easy to gripe about Google’s near monopoly of the search environment, but they have consistently put out a product that is far and away better than all of their competitors combined. Yahoo and Microsoft have their work cut out for them.

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