Google AdWords – Everything You Need to Know About Interface Changes Over the Past Year

Want to expand your knowledge on AdWords? In this comprehensive guide, we take a look at the many changes and updates made to Google AdWords over the past year.

Google AdWords allows advertisers to create ads that appear to potential customers across web pages on Google and other search partner sites. Being one of the biggest online advertising platforms, it’s vital that Google AdWords constantly updates its service.

By fully understanding these updates and the way in which AdWords works, your business will be able to improve the performance of your account and ensure that all of your campaigns are running as well as they can be.

Google AdWords

In our guide, we cover the six main sets of changes made to AdWords since December 2014. These are:

  • Upgrades and improvements to features
  • New features
  • Google Shopping improvements
  • Reporting improvements
  • App improvements
  • Best practice guides

Upgrades and improvements to AdWords features

Google AdWords upgrades and improvements

Since December 2014, Google AdWords has made 20 different updates and improvements to its features, from upgrading URLs to new campaign setups.

December 2014

Interest-based capabilities

Google AdWords added new interest-based capabilities for audience targeting, including:

  • Affinity segments – helping ads reach target audiences at scale, based on broad interests
  • Custom affinity segments – helping ads reach a niche audience with more specific interests
  • In-market audiences – letting you connect with people who are ready to buy

These new interest-based capabilities are very useful for targeting a particular audience. Targeting ads at the right audience means you won’t be wasting ad spend showing ads to people who are unlikely to be ever interested in what you’re trying to sell.

Lightbox ads and AdWords Editor

AdWords also made Lightbox ads available across a range of screens, making it easier to advertise on mobile. AdWords Editor was also updated to include a faster interface, which helps you easily make changes to your account.

January – April 2015

During this time period, Google:

  • Introduced new and improved URLs, making them easier to track
  • Implemented improvements to help merchants join Google Trusted Stores
  • Updated TrueView (a YouTube video ad format that gives the viewer the option to skip the advertisement after five seconds) in order to create greater interactivity and more precise accounting for audience engagement

May – June 2015

Four businesses for location searches and micro moments

Between May and June 2015, AdWords started showing up to four individual businesses for location-related searches. Additionally, new insights were also introduced to help catch micro-moments (mobile moments that require only a very short amount of time to identify and deliver quick information).

Better click quality on display ads

As well as this, better click quality on display ads launched, enabling a better experience for both users and advertisers. This means Google now automatically blocks ad clicks that frequently lead to accidental clicks. This way, users don’t get frustrated when they click an ad they didn’t want to click, and advertisers don’t receive an ‘artificial’ click-through rate and aren’t paying for clicks that will never convert.

September – November 2015

TrueView joins AdWords interface

From September to November, TrueView joined Search, Display, and Shopping campaigns within the AdWords interface, making it a whole lot easier to make changes across campaign types.

TrueView joins AdWords interface

CPM campaigns viewable on Google Display Network
As well as this, AdWords made changes to ensure that all cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) campaigns are viewable on the Google Display Network. This means advertisers’ display ads now gain a lot more visibility.

February 2016

Reinforced botnet protection

Google AdWords reinforced its botnet protection across ad systems. The updated botnet protection automates the filtering of traffic between three of the top ad fraud botnets in order to improve defence against invalid traffic generated by ad fraud malware.

New features

New features on Google AdWords

AdWords continued to enhance its interface by adding many new features to fulfil users’ ever-expanding needs and requirements.

February – June 2015

Between February and June 2015, Google AdWords introduced:

  • Two new resources – the Google Best Practices series and a New AdWords Features page – within the ‘Learn tab’ in the Help Centre, helping advertisers understand any changes made
  • Call-only campaigns , meaning businesses can now reach potential customers by showing their phone number, business description and a call button
  • Ads on Google Play Music , allowing advertisers to reach a larger audience

July – October 2015

360 degree videos

Across July and October 2015, AdWords created new 360 degree videos. This exciting video format puts a spin on how videos can be viewed, with viewers given more control about what they actually look at in the video. Viewers can now discover every angle of a video by simply dragging the mouse or moving their finger on the ad. More forward thinking advertisers have started using the format to promote products, so it’s only a matter of time before a 360 ad format is made available.

You can see an example of a 360 degree video ad for Nike Hypervenom football boots below.

Structured snippet extensions

At the same time, AdWords launched the structured snippet extension. Structured snippets are very convenient for easily displaying specific features about your products and/or services and are displayed just below the ad copy.

Here at Fresh Egg, we use structured snippets regularly – similar to the example ad shown below, which displays the different styles of bags available.

Structured snippet extensions for Fat Face bags result

For more information about ad extensions, read our blog post – ‘Basics of Biddable: Exploring the Ad Extensions Tab’ blog post.

New Google Display Network Tools

Furthermore, AdWords introduced several new tools to the Google Display Network, including audience insights. This gives advertisers information about people on their remarketing lists, including demographics, interests, locations, and device usage. Along with this, AdWords made enhancements to dynamic remarketing so that ads can be automatically re-shaped and re-sized to fit all devices.

November 2015 – December 2015:

Google AdWords introduced:

  • New enhancements to manager accounts across AdWords, including Google Analytics account linking, remarketing tags, and list sharing. (Manager accounts let you access all your accounts with one single login. You can also grant access and control to other users within the AdWords accounts.)
  • Google click share , which helps advertisers discover when they’re missing out on valuable traffic
  • New interactive ads , including Trail Run Ads, which let users play a game within an ad for up to 60 seconds, and Interactive Interstitial Ads, which are HTML 5 ads that offer a customised user experience. These new interactive ads will be very beneficial for advertisers as they will increasingly drive app installs
  • Three new reporting features , including status annotations, status over time reporting and target over time reporting. These features allow advertisers to gain a better understanding of their bidding and to save time troubleshooting any issues that could be impacting their performance

Google Shopping improvements

Google shopping improvements

AdWords is constantly making improvements to Google Shopping as it becomes increasingly popular.

Google shopping results for brown boots

Google Shopping result for ‘brown boots’

March – August 2015

During this time period:

  • Product ratings were introduced to the UK, France and Germany
  • TrueView was introduced for Shopping campaigns , meaning you can now advertise products using video
  • A suite of bidding strategies for Shopping campaigns (including Maximise Clicks, Enhanced CPC and Target ROAS) was introduced, letting you go further than manual CPC bidding to deliver precise bids for each auction
  • Automated extensions for Shopping ads (PLAs) were launched. These extensions automatically show existing information advertisers provide in their Merchant Center and data feed, such as free shipping and price drops, to in their Shopping ads

October 2015

In October, Google introduced Shopping Assortment Reports, giving retailers insight into demand for popular products they do not stock.

New shopping tools and insights were also produced, including:

  • Remarketing lists to optimise shopping bids and get better insights into the products with high demand
  • Product group filtering
  • Mobile bid adjustment simulator
  • Conversions estimates

November 2015

Towards the end of November, the entire Google Shopping interface was redesigned. Now, shoppers can:

  • Filter options
  • See which merchants carry the product they are looking for
  • Locate nearby stores

Reporting improvements

Google AdWords reporting improvements

Reporting tools are a crucial part of advertising online. It is vital to stay on top of how ads are performing – both those that are performing well, and those that are not. To get a better understanding of the new Google AdWords reporting tool, read this blog post.

Google AdWords reporting tool

Google AdWords reporting tool

April 2015

Easier reporting for multiple campaign types

AdWords introduced easier reporting for multiple campaign types, enabling advertisers to have a clearer view of how successful their campaigns are. AdWords also enhanced its reporting tools, including:

  • Campaign details reports
  • Custom columns
  • Top movers report

June – August 2015

Improved reports for manager accounts

Across June and August, AdWords improved its reports for manager accounts, allowing advertisers to create better and more insightful reports, as well as navigate faster between multiple accounts. Besides this, AdWords also helped advertisers view and analyse data instantly with its new report editor.

September 2015

New reporting columns for multi-channel advertisers

New reporting columns for multi-channel advertisers were presented for the first time within the AdWords interface. This permits advertisers to manage reporting for specific campaign types without any complication. These reporting columns include:

  • Interactions – The main user action associated with an ad format (clicks for text ads and shopping ads, views for video ads etc.)
  • Interaction Rate – -Used to measure how often people interact with your ad after it’s been shown to them
  • Avg. Cost – The amount you’ve paid per interaction

Reporting column in Google AdWords

App improvements

Google AdWords app improvements

As smartphones are now part of everyday life, staying on top of app updates is a necessity. As a result of this, Google has brought out a number of new features and updates to its AdWords app.

March – July 2015

AdWords app launched on Android

Between March and July, AdWordslaunched its app on Android, as well as expanding where you can promote Android apps across the entire Google Display Network.

New media partnerships and promo tools

New ad solutions and media partnerships for mobile app promotions were also introduced, helping app developers drive installs and engagement. And lastly, new app promo tools were brought to AdWords, making it easier for people to discover apps. These tools include:

  • Improved conversion tracking for Android
  • An easy way to scale your app install ads across Google networks
  • Search Ads on Google Play

August 2015

  • AdWords updated its app, allowing advertisers to access billing, column and performance tables with ease
  • New designs were launched for in-app ads, meaning they can now be displayed full-screen

October 2015

  • Universal app campaigns were released , meaning that developers can now expand their user base at scale directly from the Google Play Developer Console

January 2016

  • The AdWords app is now available on iOS . This means advertisers can now manage campaign activities from their iPhone

Best practice guides

Google AdWords best practice guide released

Over the past year, Google AdWords has produced six different best practice guides to help users get the most out of their AdWords account.

February 2015

AdWords introduced the ‘Better Together: AdWords and Google Analytics best practice guide, which helps advertisers discover:

  • Which parts of the account drive actual onsite engagement
  • Which keywords attract new users
  • What messaging and landing pages connect with the different users on the site

The image below shows an example of a Google Analytics table displayed within Google AdWords.

Google analytics table displayed within Google AdWords

March 2015

AdWords produced a best practice guide called ‘Remarketing Right on Cue’, which helps advertisers achieve crucial moments when shoppers are most likely to purchase.

Also in March, the ‘Good Call: A Guide to Driving Calls with AdWords best practice guide was launched, which helps advertisers decide:

  • If they want to drive clicks, calls, or both
  • The best ways to measure the calls they achieve
  • How they can update their messaging and bidding to enhance the number of calls they receive
  • What changes they can make to increase the website’s value to callers

May 2015

AdWords launched a new best practice checklist: ‘Put Your Best Image Ad Forward . This helps advertisers:

  • Create the right message for the right customer
  • Choose noticeable visuals and animations to gain attention from potential customers
  • Assess overall design with colour schemes, text, etc.
  • Arrange and test display ads

July – August 2015

Across July and August, AdWords created a best practice email newsletter. This is a monthly email containing useful insights, such as quick videos and recommendations for advertisers using AdWords.

As well as this, Google introduced a best practice checklist that contains useful recommendations and tips to help users optimise Dynamic Search Ads.

As a result of AdWords updating and launching a lot of new tools and features, these best practice guides help advertisers stay on top of what is changing within the AdWords interface.

Overall, AdWords is constantly changing its interface to help advertisers get the most out of their paid advertising. It’s so important to stay on top of these changes, as more and more updates aremade to Google AdWords. Paid advertising is becoming more sophisticated, so by keeping yourself up to date with these changes you’re ensuring that all your campaigns are running as efficiently as possible.

We’ve given you a pretty comprehensive list of the changes that have happened, but it’s a lot to cover in one guide. To find out more information about the changes to AdWords click here to explore the Inside AdWords blog. If you’re looking for more information about a particular topic we’ve mentioned, you can search the blog easily.

Here at Fresh Egg, we have an experienced biddable team that has a vast knowledge of the AdWords interface, as well as being certified by Google AdWords.

We’ve helped clients with their paid advertising for years. If you are interested in advertising online and want to get the most of AdWords, contact our team to find out more.