Using Google’s AdWords Ad Preview Tool

Topics: PPC

When you’re managing client paid search ad spend to the tune of millions every year, it’s all about testing, testing, and more testing. While the various search engines will allow you to see what the ad will look like as far as formatting, you won’t know what position those ads will be slotted in unless you do an actual query search. While it would seem intuitive and easy just to jump to and conduct your search, you should actually use the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool for a variety of reasons.

Google themselves recommends this for testing purposes. Google recommends that any advertiser use the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool to check you ad positions for keywords you are bidding on. But why not just go to and search there?

First and foremost, if you’re searching your own keywords all day long, you run the risk of artificially inflating your impression counts, which will also directly affect your click through rate, and worst of all, your quality score factor! Lower quality score, the lower your ad position will be, and the more likely you’ll be paying higher costs for those clicks.

I once had a client contact me that they stopped seeing their own PPC ads, despite the fact that they were spending thousands everyday on keywords. The reason was that they were repeatedly searching for certain keywords over and over. The search engines will detect this and start to stop showing you certain ads, due to the fact that they’ve now shown you this ad over and over, without any clicks to that particular ad. I had to recommend that they use the Ad Preview Tool, not to mention they were inflating my click through rate!

But that’s not the only reason.

Another great reason to use the Ad Preview Tool is to check various geographic regions to see they are seeing there. Be sure to check out our follow up article, “How to test geo target Google Ads”, for more information on how to do that. As geo targeting becomes more and more popular, it’s important to an advertiser to see what ads are being displayed in a certain geographic region. Let’s say you were targeting a national audience, but now you only wanted to target, say, the Texas market. You could specify in the Ad Preview Tool that you only wanted to see how ads would be displayed in Texas, or even certain cities within Texas. Google has provided an excellent way for advertisers to preview their ads on Google without impacting their costs and quality score. Use it!

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