The New Google Ads – Your 2019 Guide

What You Should Know

In response to years of complaints and feedback with regards to the complexity of incorporating analytics with ads, Google came up with a rebranding solution; making a complete switch from what was previously AdWords, to what is now Google Ads.

Google has also merged its other digital marketing tools into Google Marketing Platform (GMP), and Google Ad Manager (GAM). This presents 3 key digital marketing platforms for marketers to use.

The change is aimed at making it simpler for small businesses to serve ads across all availablePPC channels, and for big business  advertisers to take advantage of advanced intelligence and forecasting tools.

Navigating this new and updated system, requires adjustments that are necessary on our part. Mastering this new interface is paramount for campaign success. It won’t do to blame missed goals and burnt budgets on your inability to dominate the new Google Ads.

We hope to smoothen your transition from Adwords to the new Google Ads with this guide.

The Big Three

google ads

To enable digital marketers reach their customers more efficiently and effectively, Google’s rebranding includes the release of three new platforms.

The first platform is the result of Google’s transition from AdWords to Google Ads. The second platform merges Google Analytics 360 with Google’s DoubleClick advertising tools. This merger is aimed at providing big businesses with more efficient partnerships.

The third platform is Google Ad Manager, a combination – that has been in the works for 3 years – of DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers. This new brand is aimed at making advertising less complex for advertisers and publishers.

Let’s go into detail on what these new platforms offer;

Google Ads

It’s important to note that the core functions in what is now Google ads, have not been changed despite its rebranding. PPC marketers will continue to manage their campaigns, keywords and ads here.

At its center, this reinvention is illustrative of the fact that Google’s advertising platforms provides access to both Google Display Network (GDN) and Google Search Network (GSN), whereas the former name “AdWords” indicated a focus on text/search advertising. Google wants to be recognized for more than text ads, therefore a new name seemed essential.

The user interface on the new Google Ads has been rearranged but we will address these changes in the ‘New Features’ section.

The new Google Ads has also included ‘Smart campaigns’, to automatically optimize campaigns based on chosen goals/goal actions. These goals/actions include purchases, calls, in-store traffic, amongst other options. This was especially developed for small businesses, to help them achieve more with their digital advertising.

Google ads’ ultimate goal is to make the processes of account set-up, maintenance and activity simpler for digital marketers to efficiently undertake. With the complexities of these activities out of the way, marketers have more free time to concentrate on campaign optimization and strategy.

More on the new functionalities of Google Ads will be discussed later in this post.

Google Marketing Platform (GMP)

The Google Marketing Platform has been set up to enable marketers take control of the many marketing channels they use.

With the availability of multiple social media channels, search engines Youtube videos, emails etc. marketers can appreciate a platform that allows them to manage their distinct projects in one place.

This is easily achieved with the new Google Marketing Platform.

To identify the major priority of digital marketers on a new advertising platform, Google pooled a survey, and the results show that amongst online marketers, their no 1 priority is to understand their customers better.

The Google Marketing Platform achieves this by combining Google Analytics 360 with DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform. Incase you’re unaware, the GA360 is Google’s paid and extended version of Google Analytics. As a paid tool, it provides more data paid audiences and campaigns.

This Google Marketing Platform upgrade also comes with Search Ads 360 and Display & Video 360. Both features will merge the search and display facets of DoubleClick correspondingly.

With the GMP, Google aims to merge the best part of their marketing and analytics tools, to enable digital marketers plan, optimize and measure their media and customer experiences in a single place.

Providing over 100+ combinations for various optimization, tracking and analytic tools, the Google Marketing Platform is positioned as the singular platform for the marketing management needs of digital marketers today.

 Google Ad Manager

google ads

How digital marketers buy media, and the way people view content has evolved over the past few years.  As digital marketers make the switch to programmatic buying and consumers opt to view content from manifold screens, advertisers need a more efficient way to manage their advertising businesses. This why the Google Ad Manager was brought to life.  It’s a one-stop platform that allows digital marketers to increase their digital ad profits while protecting their brands, anywhere their audience is concentrated, and in whatever way media buyers are looking to collaborate with you.

A fusion of both DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) and DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX), Google Ad Manager (GAM) is Google’s way to adapting to the expanding number of channels and fresh content that publishers and digital marketing use.

As marketers are calling more programmatic access, Google aims to simplify the process of managing exchanges and auctions for publishers.

Publishers now have access to a comprehensive sales platform with the integration of AdX into Google Ads Manager. For instance, publishers can sift and sort who can access their stock list, to concentrate on the media buyer relationships that bring the most profit.

The greatest benefit to publishers and marketers alike however, is that Google Ad Manager provides a single platform for measuring, optimizing and delivering ads at exactly where the audience is most engaged.

This is most convenient for publishers and marketers with ads in a myriad of platforms and with consumers viewing content on so many platforms. What differentiates a PPC pro from an average digital marketer is the ability to manage multiple campaigns and channels and optimize budgets towards the best opportunities.

Pros of the new Google Ads

With the provision of simpler and more exclusive features, the new Google Ads eases the experience of growing your business and reaching new customers.

Benefits include:

  • Exclusive tools such as new Shopping campaigns that are goal optimized and call bid adjustments.
  • The ability to use your distinctive business goals to create flexibly and optimize
  • Speedy access to the tools you used the most, to help save time and achieve more, faster.
  • New and better analytic, reporting and measuring tools for extensive and actionable insights.
  • Campaigns will continue to run in the fashion you are familiar with, as it is the Google Ads you are used to.

The New Google Ads Interface

It would take up to 3 blog posts to extensively detail all 3 brands and their offerings, so in this post, we’ll concentrate only on Google Ads and what this rebrand really means with regards to upgrades.

Firstly, the reinvention from Adwords to Google comes with a brand-new user interface. We’ll be going into detail about how to navigate this UI.

Find below a map for reference, as provided by Google Support:

(Labelled 1.) The Navigation Menu is located on the left side of the screen in dark grey as a part of the new UI. While many of your actions were once located in this menu in the AdWords UI, this new menu only consists of your distinct campaign view options:

You’ll see your campaigns fill up your main screen under the four major tabs in your Navigation Menu, based on which view option you click.

(Labelled 2.) The Page Menu is where all the distinct levels of each of your campaigns can be viewed. For instance, you can click-through to your different Ads, Ad Groups, Audiences and Ad Extensions etc. Everything you need within each campaign can be viewed via the Page Menu. Even better is the fact that you can view all the campaigns you want and possibly compare them, just to the left of this page i.e. the Navigation Menu. It’s a convenient arrangement.

In terms of arrangement, the new Google Ads UI also provides a Subpage Menu. This is labelled ‘3’. The Subpage Menu features alternate based on what options you click in the Page Menu. For instance, if you click on ‘Ad Groups’ in the Page Menu, the Subpage Menu will show you Auction insights and Ad Groups.

On the other hand, if you to click through to the Ads & Extensions tab, the Subpage Menu would look something like the image below:

What you click in the Page Menu or Navigation Menu determines the options that will feature in the Subpage menu. The new Google Ads has done well with creating a layered arrangement in this new UI.

(Labled 4 and 5.) This is where the toolbars are located in the new UI. ‘4’ is the top or consistent toolbar that enables you move around your Google Ads account. The search bar is also located here, but we will address that in a bit.

Many PPC marketers will recognize ‘5’ from the old AdWords UI. It is the Table Toolbar and it is where you can create segments and filters for your data or reports and adjust your columns and tables.

Since we’ve addressed the basics of the user interface on the new Google Ads, let’s look at the latest and most exciting features that have come with this upgrade.

The Overview Tab

This tab is located at the top of the Page menu. When you click on any campaign, this is the page you land on. When Google Ads was Adwords, the Overview tab didn’t matter much. Now, the Overview Tab in the new Google Adwords offers more.

You can access a fast and simple view of your campaigns on the Overview page, that come in different new and semi-tailored windows. For instance, you can access a live view of the biggest percentage changes in your active campaigns, via the ‘Biggest Changes’ window.

The search term clutters that Google Ads provide you for each of your campaigns is another neat little function in the Overview Tab.

These nifty changes aim to reflect Google’s switch from a focus on keyword-based advertising to audience-based advertising. Hence it follows that Google would add a feature that informs you on what new search terms are being used to find your ads.

You can also access the live performance graph on your Overview tab that was also available on the old AdWords Interface. Advertisers can view a quick summary of their campaigns’ performance via the KPIs at the top of the graph.

Among these KPIs are Cost/Conversion, Clicks, Total Cost and Conversions, but you can access more detailed data in the Reporting Tab.

The new Overview Tab provides a perfect bird’s eye view of active campaign performance and new optimization suggestions. If you can effectively measure your campaigns’ performance, you can celebrate wins and disable problems as soon as they arise.

 Tools Tab Consolidation

The Tools Tab constitutes one of the biggest alterations between the old AdWords and new Google Ad UI. These clickthrough options were previously located on the left side of the page, in the old AdWords.

However, the Navigation is situated on the left side of the page and provides views of certain types of campaigns. The Toolbar is now located at the top of the page and is still the source of all your actual tools.

Identify the Toolbar as a wrench icon at the top of the page. Clicking it prompts a drop down menu that shows you distinct options available within five categories namely:

  • Planning
  • Shared Library
  • Bulk Actions
  • Measurement
  • Setup

Some of these options are easily recognizable from the old UI in Adwords, but because they are so extensively relevant, it’s safe to say that Google reassigned and redesigned these features with simplicity in mind.

The Keyword Planner can be accessed under the Planning feature, where you can also preview your ads. This is where you will find your Display Planner, in case you are also running display campaigns.

You can manage your important targeting data under the Shared Library category. You can also access and manage your  audiences, bid strategies, and budget, not to mention your placement exclusion lists and  negative keyword lists – both of which are incredibly valuable assets that are easily ignored by advertisers.

Building your negative keywords list and your placement exclusion lists can help you optimize your budget while improving your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).

As with the previous feature in AdWords, the Bulk Action category still features all of your bulk actions for ad groups, campaigns, etc (i.e. Uploads, Scripts, Rules).

Your conversions and attribution model options are located under the Measurement category. Here you can access Google Analytics, if more data is needed.

The Setup category features your Account access, Google Merchant Center and Billing options.

Keep in mind that the new Google Ads is the official consolidation of digital advertising across search, display, video, and shopping. As a result, it is important that all important features be readily available all in one place.

 Search Feature

The new Google Ad has a new search feature that is getting paid account managers excited.

It serves as a go-to function at the Top Bar, located beside the Reports and Tools buttons and allows you to access any page in Google Ads. However, it functions more as a directional tool than a discovery tool because you can only access pages within the Page Menu and you may be unable to access certain campaigns via this tool.

Search marketers who use keyboard shortcuts to move through the UI, will find the search feature a helpful tool. You can automatically opens the search feature with the G then T keyboard shortcut.

You can move around within campaigns without touching a mouse if you know what you’re looking for.


A consolidation of advertisers’ ad settings, Mute This Ad and Why This Ad preferences was released by Google in 2015, in form of Google Accounts

However, Ad Settings now come in a new version in the new Google Ads.  This upgrade is aimed at bettering the transparency of control that advertisers have over what ads they see and why they see those ads.

Why This Ad?

Google Ads has also extended their refurbishing to the now generalized ‘Why this ad?’ feature as a part of the search engine marketing UI.

While this link only featured on Google Search Networks, it now features on all of Google’s ad format, to uncomplicate the relationship between advertisers and consumers, as well as build trust and focus the search engine market on the consumer rather than the ad or advertiser.

Ergo, Why This Ad? Is now located on every single Google ad, no matter the format.

 Brand New Features

Google has set out to simplify the process of advertising on its’ platforms, we will discover as we address the brand-new features that come with the rebrand. These features aim to make paid advertising easier to manage and optimize. So, let’s have a look.

 Smart Campaigns

This new feature is Google’s attempt to simplify the campaign booking process for beginners. Beginners in this context means amateurs, small businesses and brands that are just beginning their digital marketing journey.

The way search engine users interact with ads and digital media is becoming increasingly different. Different ad formats, multiple screens and engagement of different levels are taking place at the same time. Smart campaigns aim to help paid marketers make sense of Google’s increasingly complex audience.

According to Google, 90% of small businesses have a primary goal that involves an action that directly leads to sales, be it calling, visiting a store, or making a purchase. Smart Campaigns can make the most of your campaigns based on the specific actions you choose. It’s a good place to gain a primary knowledge of Google best practices.

The Image Picker

google ads

This is still in the works and will play the same role as the Smart Campaign feature, but for Google Display campaign images.

The core purpose of A/B testing is campaign optimization but Google is aware that not every digital amateur will have the time, patience or knowledge to set up, measure and manage split testing.

With the Image Picker, you can choose 3 or more images when creating your display ads, and Google will split test them for you to help recognize which images perform best. With the image picker, your display ads are already predisposed towards optimum performance and you can continue to extend your efforts with manual split testing.

Life Event Targeting

This feature lets paid advertisers to narrow in on precise shifts in purchase behavior. For consumers, their purchase and search history will change based on what life events are occurring for them. With this feature, advertisers can target those changes. You can also pile on your targeting to optimize campaign location, using location for instance.

You can target already existing audiences for your campaign. Once again, Google aims to ultimately simplify the most technical aspects of advertising, right down to providing the opportunity to create the smallest niche audiences possible so that users get the most relevant ads and your campaigns reach the most relevant consumers.

 Google Optimize

The Google Optimize feature lets you set metrics to track and set goals with. (For instance, you can increase or decrease in a specific metric). This feature also offers suggestions on the best changes to implement and works on more than just landing pages.

 New Landing Page Report

Google released a distinct set of guidelines for the landing pages within the new Google Ads. While both landing page reports in the old AdWords and the new Google Ads serve the same purpose, the new land page reports feature allows you to;

  • See the expanded landing pages associated with each of your landing pages
  • Check a page’s mobile-friendliness or, if the page loads as a valid Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)
  • Identify which of your pages could provide a better experience on mobile devices

Google Sheets Integration

The Google Sheets plugin aims to make measuring, tracking and analyzing reports easier for agencies who want to achieve excellent in-team and brand-agency communication. This feature lets you keep your team and clients in the loop about the progress of your campaign. Google has also made it possible to add notes within the Google Ads UI. This is big for accounts with multiple managers, as information can be communicated, and errors can be rectified faster.

Are you ready?

We intend to update this post as Google continues to improve their Advertising products and we hope this post has shone enough life on Google’s transition from AdWords to Ad.

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