5 New AdWords Experience Features to Know in 2018

5 New AdWords Experience Features to Know in 2018

Gear up for the new year with new AdWords experience features to run more-successful promotions, target and segment prospective customers and enhance your PPC testing.

5 New AdWords Experience Features to Know in 2018

Google started rolling out the new AdWords experience back in 2016, and now it’s the main interface for most PPC marketers. But Google did more than just give the dashboard a makeover. The new AdWords experience offers all sorts of new features, and Google continues to add more. Some features can help you increase conversions, save time, improve budget allocation and boost overall performance. Here are 5 recent updates to the new AdWords experience that performance marketers should know about and be ready to utilize if they aren’t already.

1. Promotion extensions

Promotion extensions are a new ad feature that make it easier to highlight seasonal sales and promotions on your existing ads. In the past, AdWords offered featured snippets for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but now you can easily highlight promotions for the rest of the year as well.

The extension includes 2 lines of text about your promotion and bold text for the special ocassion you select, such as “Black Friday.”

Promotion extensions

You can use the extension to include percent discounts for your products or services, as well as other relevant promotion information like a coupon code or spending limit.

Here are the occasions you’re currently able to select for your promotion extensions:


Start date

End date

New Year’s

Dec 1

Feb 28

Valentine’s Day

Jan 15

Feb 28


Mar 1

April 30

Mother’s Day

Mar 15

June 15

Father’s Day

May 15

June 30

Labor Day

Aug 15

Sep 15


Jun 1

Feb 1


Oct 1

Nov 15

Black Friday

Oct 15

Dec 15

Cyber Monday

Oct 15

Dec 15


Nov 1

Jan 15

Boxing Day

Nov 1

Jan 15

You can set your promotion extensions to show within the date of the occasion specified, or customize it to appear on specific days, dates, or times-of-day during that period.

Probably the biggest benefit of promotion extensions is time saved, since they help you highlight your sales and deals without having to create new ads. You won’t lose any of your existing performance statistics by adding an extension.

You can also use more of your ad real estate for other important content like your brand terms or a call-to-action (CTA). Promotion extensions can help improve your e-commerce conversion rates as well as encourage in-store sales.

2. Custom intent audiences

Custom intent audiences is a new feature designed to help you reach shoppers with high purchase intent on the Google Display Network. Google can now auto-create these within your display campaigns based on your campaign data, website and YouTube channel.

AdWords uses its machine learning technology to auto-create audiences based on the common keywords and URLs people use when researching specific products or services. For example, if one of your campaigns shows that shoppers who have visited your online furniture store have also researched outdoor decorations, AdWords can auto-create a “yard decorations” custom intent audience.

With custom intent audiences, you’ll be able to easily see reach and performance estimates for each custom intent audience. This new feature is perfect for busy marketers who don’t have time to research new audiences themselves. For high-level account managers, custom intent audiences can serve as a launching point for your own research.

3. Ad variations

A/B testing your ads is essential for improving PPC conversions, and the new AdWords experience makes this a whole lot easier. Ad variations let you make mass changes to your ads, such as a testing a different CTA or headline text. With just a few clicks, you can make minor changes to any or all of your ads, such as changing your CTA from “Buy now” to “Buy today.”

To start using ad variations, choose your desired account from the new AdWords interface, then scroll down the bottom of the side bar and click “Drafts & experiments.” Then you’ll see an option called “ad variations.”

Ad variations

Before you create your ad variation you’ll need to define its scope. You can apply ad variations to:

  • The entire account
  • Specific campaigns
  • Custom parameters

Next, you’ll create the variation (such as testing “Call Now for a Free Quote” as your new headline), and select important test details, like when the test should start and end, or what percentage of your traffic to show the new variation.

Once you do make changes, AdWords will notify you as soon as the results of your test become significant. If your new variation improves conversions, you can quickly replace your original ads with the new version.

4. Gmail remarketing

If remarketing or dynamic remarketing are big components of your ad campaigns, then you’ll be happy to hear about the introduction of Gmail remarketing. AdWords now lets you reconnect with your audience right in their Gmail inboxes.

Once a user clicks on one of your dynamic remarketing ads, it can direct them to an immersive shopping experience like this one:

Gmail remarketing

As you may already know, dynamic remarketing ads let e-commerce advertisers display relevant products in their image ads, tailored to users based on their on-site behavior.

But before now, dynamic remarketing was only available on the Google Display Network. Introducing them to the Gmail platform is a prime opportunity for advertisers to extend their remarketing reach.

5. New opportunities

In the old user interface, the Opportunities tab was an often-neglected feature of AdWords. With the new Opportunities page’s features, this should hopefully change. The Opportunities page now offers more insights and recommendations to improve campaign performance and meet business goals.

The Opportunities page can help businesses:

  • Identify optimization improvements
  • Estimate cost and traffic
  • Estimate performance impact across markets
  • Quickly implement efficiency improvements

Using your manager account, you can also easily view and apply opportunities across accounts and campaigns.

The Opportunities page may offer a variety of suggestions tailored to your specific account. They’re segregated into categories including bids & budgets, keywords & targeting, ads & extensions and repairs.

Here’s an overview of some of the opportunities that are new to or more prominent in the new AdWords experience:

  • Maximize Conversions – Use Maximize Conversions instead of manual cost-per-click bidding. With this setting, AdWords eliminates location bid and time-of-day modifiers because they’re already factored in.
  • Target CPA – Choose your desired cost per acquisition and let AdWords optimize your bidding for you. Google recommends using Target CPA bidding only when you have at least 15 acquisitions in the past 30 days.
  • Add new keywords – These are suggestions from Google’s Keyword Planner. Marketers should use them to help generate new ideas for their own keyword research.
  • Optimize your ad rotation – With ad rotation, AdWords allows you to rotate them indefinitely or until the algorithm manages to identify your best performing ads. Use this setting to automate the process.

You can read more about the available opportunities here, or better yet, just keep checking back to your Opportunities tab to see suggestions most relevant to your account.


Google has made a lot of changes to the AdWords interface that PPC managers are just beginning to discover and benefit from. While some features (such as Maximize Conversions and other automation opportunities) are designed with busy business owners in mind, others are just the kind of tools performance marketers need if they want to stay ahead of the PPC game.

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