Stop searching for your Paid Search ads – use the preview tool instead!

It is only natural that when running a Paid Search campaign you will have an inclination to check the search engine results page (SERP) to ensure that a) your adverts are actually appearing and b) where they are positioned in the listings. However, by searching in this way, did you know you can actually negatively affect the performance of your campaign?

Why? Well, every time your advert is displayed, your campaign reports an ‘impression’. And because you are unlikely to click on your own advert (that would be rather silly!), this impression that you create does not lead to a click on your advert. Google, in particular, measures the performance of your adverts, in part, by comparing the number of times the advert is shown (impression) compared to the number of times it is actually clicked. This is called the click through rate or CTR. Therefore, if you are continuously searching for your own adverts and not clicking on them you will lower the CTR.  A low CTR can negatively impact upon the ‘Quality Score’ given against the advert, which in turn can actually increase the click costs. (Phew – that’s quite a difficult thing to explain in plain English!).

To reduce the impact of a less favourable Quality Score and a misrepresentation of the number of impressions you receive in your reporting; you can use an ‘Ad Preview Tool’ to view your ads as they would appear on the SERP’s without accruing any actual impressions.

An ‘Ad Preview Tool’ is available for both Google and Microsoft Ad Center campaigns.

How to use the Google Ad Preview Tool:

You can view the Google Ad Preview Tool here.

To use the tool, enter the search query you want to check.

Ensure the domain, i.e. and the Language, i.e. English is selected.

Under Location, you will need to select UK if it is targeted to the UK.  Alternatively you can enter the co-ordinates of your geo-targeted campaign.

Co-ordinates should be entered in the following format:


You can get the co-ordinates for your campaign under the Campaigns Tab, then under Settings.  You can then copy and paste one set of co-ordinates as per the above example under the ‘Locations’ section.
When you press ‘Preview Ads’, you should then see your ad displayed as it would on Google Search.

**Please Note**

If your daily budget has exhausted for the day, you will not see your ad appear.

If you have ad scheduling set up and you are checking your ad during the time it is set to be offline, then you will not be able to view your ad.

Also, if your budget is not sufficient to allow for all day visibility, Google will spread your ad delivery across the whole day to ensure your budget is not exhausted too early.  This again could lead to you not being able to view your ad.

How to View the Microsoft AdCenter Ad Preview Tool:

For Microsoft Ad Centre, you need to log in to your actual account and click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab.  Go to the top right hand corner and you will see the ‘Ad Preview Tool’.

You simply enter the keywords you want to view your ad for in the keyword box and press ‘preview ads’.

There you go, easy as pie! You know now how to avoid the possibility of negatively impacting your campaign with the use of this rather clever tool.

Need help? I’m on Twitter and always happy to answer any questions.

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