After launching an AdWords campaign, the reaction most new advertisers will have is to immediately search their own ad. However, that is the last thing they should be doing. What they don’t realize is that doing so may lead to the campaign being negatively impacted and costing them money. In this blog post I will explain the right way to view your ad, and I will outline the top five reasons why you shouldn’t search for your own ad. Without future ado, let’s jump right into it!

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

You’ve just launched your AdWords campaign and want to see how you stack up against the competition. You are curious to see your work of art displayed prominently at the top of the search results page. You decide to type your keyword directly into Google and hit enter. It is extremely tempting, however, this is the last place you should be checking to gauge the performance of your ad. The correct way to view your ad is through the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool in AdWords. As the name implies, the tool allows you to preview your ad, and will help diagnose why your ad may not show up.

To navigate to the ad preview tool, click on ‘Tools’ in the top menu. From there, click on ‘Ad Preview and Diagnosis’. Once you are there, fill in the location, language and device you would like to preview the ad on. Enter the search term you would like to check and hit ‘Preview’.  If your ad is eligible to show it will appear in a rendering of the search results page. If your keyword does not trigger anything, a message will display explaining why your ad did not show up. The Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool is the best way to search for your own ad without negatively impacting your campaign. Below is a screenshot of the tool in the AdWords interface.

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool

Don’t Search For Your Own Ad

The last thing you want to do is waste budget, and that’s exactly what happens when you search for your own ad, whether directly or indirectly. This should go without saying, but, if you do search for your own ad: do not click on it. This is the reason with the most obvious negative impact. If you click on your ad you will have to pay for that click and end up wasting part of your budget. Not only will you have to spend money for a wasted click, your ad may not be eligible to show up later if you run out of budget early. Clicking on your ad will not only cost you money, but it may end up increasing your cost per click. Also, if you click on your ad and immediately bounce you run the risk of Google decreasing your landing page experience. A high bounce rate and average session duration are the perfect recipe for an inflated cost per click. The next few reasons I’m going to cover may be a little less obvious to advertisers who are new to AdWords, but they are just as important.

Daily Budget Restrictions

You may be thinking, what is the big deal if you do search for your own ad but don’t click on it? Most advertisers have their ad delivery set to standard. The standard delivery setting attempts to spread your budget throughout the entire day. Meaning, that if you do search for your ad, for example, early in the day, some users who search your keyword won’t see your ad because AdWords is trying to conserve your budget for traffic later in the day. On the opposite side of the coin, accelerated delivery will try to spend your daily budget as quickly as possible and you will have used part of it up.

With your ads using the default delivery, if you search for your own ad and it does display, you may be taking an impression away from another legitimate user. That user may have gone on to convert. So by searching for your own ad you could potentially lose out on a sale. When advertising on AdWords, every single impression and click counts!

Click Through Rate Will Decrease

Click through rate is an important metric to take into consideration when making optimizations in your AdWords account. CTR is calculated by taking the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of impressions it receives. If you search for your own ad and do not click on it, you will be causing your click through rate to decline. Advertisers who have ads with higher click through rates will pay less per click than those who have ads with a lower click through rate.  Not only will you pay more per click, but you potentially could make an incorrect optimization decision based on an artificially lowered click through rate. The ad may appear as though it is under performing when it is actually performing well.

Your Quality Score Will Decrease

Quality score is one of the most important metrics to keep track of when managing an AdWords account. Your quality score plays a huge role in calculating Ad Rank. Quality score, max CPC and expected impact of ad extensions are the components of Ad Rank. It determines where your ad shows up on the SERP and how much you end up paying per click. The quality score of your keywords is determined by expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.

As mentioned previously, if you search for your own ad and do not click on it, you will be causing your click through rate to decline. If you search for your own ad enough you may end up decreasing the expected click through rate portion of your quality score. Quality score is a factor in determining how much you end up paying for a click since it is used heavily in determining ad rank. A high-quality score will help decrease your overall cost per click. While a low-quality score will increase your cost per click. This will result in your cost per conversion spiking and you will be wasting your budget.

Your Ad Will Stop Showing Up

The fear that drives most advertisers to search for their own ad is the thought that they might not be showing up at all. After all, once you launch a campaign you want to make sure that your ad is showing up in front of potential customers. However, searching for your own ad will result in a counter productive outcome and should not be done.

Continuously searching for your own ad may result in Google not showing you the ad all together. Leading to an unnecessary panic believing that your ads are not showing at all when in fact they are. Google aims to only show you ads they deem to be most relevant to your search and interests. If you continue to search your own ad but do not click on it, Google may eventually deem it irrelevant. The ad will still show for other users, but you will no longer see it unless you search from another device.

Final Thoughts

When you search for your own ad you may not realize you could be negatively impacting your paid search campaign. Hopefully, the reasons outlined above have shed some light on the potential issues and have helped break the habit. To quickly recap: You shouldn’t search for your own ad because it may end up costing you money. The ad preview and diagnosis tool will allow you to safely check your ads to make sure they are displaying. It will also help you troubleshoot if your ads do not appear as expected. It bears repeating, do not click on your ad if you search for it. Clicking on your ad will cost you money and waste your budget. If you search for your own ad you may end up losing out on a sale due to budget restrictions. 

Searching for your own ad will also have a negative impact on your click through rate. This can lead to incorrect optimization decisions being made and an inflated cost per click. If your click through rate is decreased it can potentially lower your quality score. Leading to paying a higher cost per click, and inflating your cost per conversion. Finally, if you continue to search for your ads Google may stop showing them to you all together. Checking to make sure your ads are showing up will have the opposite effect. You may end up not seeing your ads at all. This could lead to the illusion that your ads aren’t visible to anyone and cause unnecessary confusion. Stick with the ad preview and diagnosis tool when looking to check on your ads.

As always, feel free to contact us if you are interested in our paid search management services. Or if you have any questions about the best way to search for your own ads.

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1 Comments

  • Lisa Sicard says:

    Hi Julian, it always amazes me how clients have little faith and want to see their ads in action even though you can product reports showing the value and reach of the digital ads. This is a great article to have on hand when they try to do that or mention that they can’t find it!
    Thanks for sharing this one with us here.