benefits of the ad preview tool

We are often asked by clients why they can’t see their own ads. While there are multiple factors to this question – including time of day, location of the searcher and what keyword they were searching for – to help narrow things down, most often a Client Relationship manager from VitalStorm will first ask: Were you using the Google Ad Preview Tool?

We encourage our clients to use the Google Ad Preview tool when searching for their own ads, because the tool displays the results of what most first-time searchers are seeing. If you’re searching the same keyword multiple times over the course of a few weeks or months, and not clicking on the ad (we hope), over time the Google algorithm may think you’re not interested.

Remember, Google tracks your browser’s cookies, cache, and even IP number. Google recognizes that you’re searching the same term and is designed to show you the most relevant results. Because you’re not clicking on your own ad, Google assumes that it may be irrelevant to the searcher and can start showing different results.

The Ad Preview Tool mimics what a Google search would result based on search term, location, and device type.

To use the tool, visit Select a location you want the search to originate from and the preferred device. Then include your search term in the empty box near the magnifying glass.

Benefits of the Ad Preview Tool

  1. You can see how the ad is displayed differently on mobile devices versus desktops.
  2. You can select different locations for different searches to see how results vary from city to city.
  3. You can see how much real-estate the ad is taking up on the search results in comparison to other PPC competitors.
  4. You’re not providing real-time impressions to the actual ad, which can negatively impact clickthrough rate and quality score.
  5. See the different versions of ad text displays for different search words as responsive text ads and distinguish what ad extensions are being utilized.

How VitalStorm uses the Ad Preview Tool

When troubleshooting accounts or launching new accounts, our PPC Team conducts searches of our own ads using the Google Ad Preview tool. We have clients across the United States and a few in Canada, so the Ad Preview Tool allows us to see what searchers in different service areas will see.

All accounts have Expanded Text Ads, and we’re also adding Responsive Search Ad format to all accounts. Expanded Text Ads take up greater real-estate on search results pages, but are pieced together by the Google algorithm from the majority of the ad extensions. Responsive Search Ads have up to 15 optional headlines and four description lines for each ad.

The Google algorithm will then select the best combination of the headlines, descriptions and ad extensions available based on the specific user’s query, device, and past browsing activity, among other factors. This means that to see how the ad will look to users, we must use the Ad Preview Tool.

We also use the Ad Preview Tool to keep track of what competitors are entering and exiting the marketplace for certain geographical areas and what ad extensions competitors are using.

Still can’t find your Ad?

Please keep in mind that our team chooses which keywords your ads should display for, we also specify which ones they should not. We boost good-performing keywords and scale back poor-performing keywords to keep your Cost Per Lead optimized.

It’s possible the search term you’re searching for is too general or targeting a specific keyword that we find too expensive. We manage thousands of keywords in an account, and we would love the opportunity to share details with you about the keyword strategy we’re applying directly to yours.