I saw a tweet from @bgtheory with a link to his article about an email he got saying that one of his clients will be forced to use the new AdWords interface in 30 days. According to seroundtable 56% of advertisers prefer the old interface and I’d count myself as one of them. People seem to hate it whenever a familiar web interface changes (I’m talking about you, Facebook) so, rather than dislike it because it is new and unfamiliar I thought I’d try and think of some more rational reasons to hate it.
The purpose of the new Adwords interface is, of course, to help you manage your AdWords account as efficiently as possible. To test this efficiency I made up a scenario and then recorded the number of clicks required to complete it using each interface (quite a stupid metric but the best one that I could come up with that didn’t require weeks worth of complicated productivity measurements, which Google is probably doing now). The tasks are as follows and will be completed in sequence:
- Look at the campaign overview.
- Compare the metrics for two time periods. Notice that something has changed
- Run a report. To find more detail about what has changed and why.
- Navigate to an ad group. To make adjustments based on what was found above
- View the adverts. Which one is better?
- Adjust keyword bids.
Using the old interface I can do the above tasks in 13 clicks (I’m running a report from a template). Lets see how the new interface stacks up.
1. Look at the Campaign Overview.
Simple, the campaign information appears as soon as you login. The interface is very green (is that meant to be easier on the eye?). It also seems to have fitted itself to the width of my screen rather than the width of my browser which is pretty irritating. Total so far: 0 clicks
2. Compare time periods
The menu for this is on the opposite side of the screen to what I’m used to. I’m sure that is something I can get used to. Apart from that this seems to be about as simple as the old interface. 1 click for a standard time period, 3 clicks for a custom one.
3. Run a report
This is a bit of a disappointment. It takes 1 click on the reports tab, but then I’m reverted back to the old interface making this task a draw between old and new at 3 clicks each.
4. Navigate to an Ad Group
In the old interface going from the reports tab to an ad group was a major ball ache. I always ended up on the completely useless “Account Snapshot” screen so I’d expect the new interface to begin to pull ahead here. Unfortunately this part of the test is broken because I’ve been switched to the old interface. A click to change back to the new one takes me to the campaign summary page. Then it takes 2 clicks to get to the ad group. Total for this step 3 clicks.
5. View the Adverts
As with the old interface this will take 0 or 1 click depending on what tab you were viewing the last time you looked at an ad group.
6. Adjust Keyword Bids
In the old interface this took 5 clicks. The new interface makes this much easier and finishes the task in 3.
It seems like the only task that the new interface is significantly better at is adjusting keyword bids or destination URLs. I normally do this within AdWords Editor, but if you do this a lot in the web interface then using the new version will help your mouse last 67% longer.
Of course, this is a massively unfair test. I didn’t use any of the unique features of the new interface (graphs, filters and more) and just adding one more step in my test (view another ad group) would have put the new interface even further out in front with its sidebar navigation menu. However, all these points could only act in the new interface’s favour so I think it is safe to say that, at worst, the new interface is at least as good as the old one.
Now I feel like an old man trying to use a new video recorder; I know it is better then the old one, but I still don’t prefer it.