March 28, 2016, 3:14 PM

How Google’s AdWords facelift could help retailers

Google is revamping the AdWords interface for the first time in 15 years.

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Google is slowly rolling out the first major overhaul of its AdWords interface since it introduced the online advertising service 15 years ago. The search giant says the redesign will help it serve retailers and other marketers who use AdWords to deliver ads to consumers on multiple devices in “better, smarter ways.”

The new look focuses its navigation around a retailer or marketer’s specific goals, such as driving consumers to physical stores, downloading a mobile app or leading consumers to a merchant’s website. The approach aims to streamline the interface so advertisers will only see relevant metrics. For example, an advertiser running a video campaign will only see a “video” tab.

“From the way you express business goals to the way you measure and manage your ads, we want to make it super easy to execute and optimize campaigns based on your unique marketing objectives,” Jerry Dischler, vice president of product management, AdWords, writes in a blog post. “You want the data you care about at your fingertips. From the campaigns that drive the most profit to the percentage of traffic coming from mobile, we want to surface insights and help you visualize them in more actionable ways. By seeing the data most relevant to your business goals, you can spend more time optimizing campaigns and identifying opportunities.”

The changes are necessary, Google says, because the advertising landscape has changed. Google launched AdWords in 2000, nearly seven years before Apple Inc. rolled out its first iPhone, which helped spark the mobile computing revolution. Now consumers do more searches on mobile devices than they do on desktops.

Those changes have led AdWords to evolve from a tool that helped retailers and other advertisers place text ads on search results to a robust tool that encompasses display and video media that is bought on YouTube and across the Internet.

The new interface should reflect those changes, says Andrea McFarling, director of marketing at digital marketing vendor Adlucent LLC.

“Consumers are more mobile than they ever have been before, moving seamlessly between devices and channels,” she says. “Google's AdWords new user interface aligns with the way consumers are researching and purchasing products—whether that's through paid search, YouTube videos, remarketing ads and more. The hope is that advertisers will now be able to focus on their overall business goals instead of individual activities."

Google says it will soon begin inviting select AdWords users to try out the new interface to help it gather feedback on the revamp. The search giant says the reimagining of AdWords will take more than a year. 

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