Google Ads

Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool: The Skinny

Have you ever wished there was a way to see a “clean” set of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), unaffected by your past browsing history, personal settings, and location? Believe it or not, there’s a tool for that!

Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool provides a near-identical search page to, with some minor formatting changes that make it more clear you’re not using the real search page (the tool adds a watermark, for example). It was created by Google to allow users the ability to search and view their ads without creating false impressions.

For every time that an ad is displayed in the SERPs, one impression is generated and recorded in the reporting for the AdWords account that is serving that ad. A valuable indicator of performance in an AdWords account is known as Clickthrough Rate (CTR). Clickthrough Rate is calculated by dividing the total number of clicks received by the total number of impressions. Each time an advertiser uses to check the position of their ads, they generate a “false” impression which can skew the Clickthrough Rate data.

Many advertisers assume that they can simply disregard the extra impressions they know themselves to be responsible for when evaluating their AdWords reporting. However, many advertisers don’t know that CTR data is also used by Google to evaluate the performance of ads. False impressions can cause the AdWords reporting to reflect poor Clickthrough Rates, and poor Clickthrough Rates can actually increase costs in the AdWords account, meaning the advertiser gets less clicks for their allotted budget!

If you’re advertising with Google AdWords, it is essential to the success of your ad campaigns that you avoid generating false impressions or worse, unwanted clicks. By using Google AdWords’ Ad Preview Tool, you will be able to view your ads without generating false impressions or unwanted clicks. Ideal Positions strongly recommends that you use this tool each and every time you search for your ads.

Using the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool will give you three distinct advantages:

  1. You’ll be able to check your ads’ positions without having to worry about generating false impressions.
  2. Once you’re viewing your ads’ positions, you wont be able to click on the ad and rack-up unwanted costs in the AdWords account.
  3. You will be able to see a “clean” set of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that have not been customized to your browsing history, location settings, and more.

How to use Google’s Ad Preview Tool:

  1. Navigate to the tool, which can be found here. (You may be asked to log-in to an existing Google account, such as gmail, Google+, etc)
  2. Enter your search query into to the text box next to the blue “Preview” button.
  3. Directly beneath the text box you should see which location the tool is set to simulate. If applicable, hit “Edit” and change the targeted location.
  4. Beneath the location options you will see device targeting options. Edit your device type (if needed) to select desktop, mobile, or tablet devices.
  5. Click the “Preview” button and a “clean” set of Search Engine Results Pages will display.