Google ads preview & diagnosis tool

What is the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool inside your Google Ads account? (To access this, navigate to Tools > Planning > Ad Preview & Diagnosis). It is a tool in your account that helps identify why your ad or ad extension might not be appearing. The tool also shows a preview of a live Google search for a specific term without incurring impressions on your ad. This helps you see how your ad looks like in real-time, which ads and extensions are showing or not showing.

Once you enter a search term and other criteria like language, location, or audiences, the tool will tell you whether your ad is eligible to appear in that situation. This is pretty useful as you get to simulate a test search on different countries and devices.

Why should we use it?

There are many reasons why we should always (or almost always) use the ad preview tool to see our ad.

1.It does not incur impressions, and will not lower your CTR.

Impressions are a factor in calculating ad CTR ( CTR = clicks/impressions). By regularly searching your ad on Google, you would have indirectly cause a drop in your ad’s CTR. CTR is then a component of calculating ad Quality Score (QS), and how much you pay (CPC) is largely determined by the QS. (CPC = Max CPC x QS x Ad Extensions). You can see that an ad with a below-average CTR will necessarily cost more per click.

2. Device ability to view desktop, mobile, and tablet search results instantly.

Without the Ad Preview Tool, you cannot instantly find out how your ad looks like on different devices. You can easily swap out to other devices within the tool when you simulate a search.

3. Keywords triggering the ad

You can see which keyword in your campaign triggered the ad, which is not possible in a real live Google search.

4. Competitor research

Using the ad preview tool allows you to research your competitors, their pricing, messaging, and strategies without accidentally incurring unnecessary impressions on your own ads. In addition, using this to understand more about your competitor’s offerings in real-time allows you to adjust your messaging accordingly.

Ad managers and business owners

Most ad managers will follow the practice above and, most of the time, view their clients’ ads from the preview tool. But the convincing is more difficult with business owners. Most owners are very concerned about their appearance on Page 1. They do not have much experience in PPC and wouldn’t necessarily know of the implications. As a result, they can quickly get sucked into a negative vortex of over-searching their keywords just to trigger your ads.

All these bad practices induce unnecessary impressions on their ads and drive down ad CTR.

“My ad doesn’t show up in the Google ads preview tool”

This is a common misconception among advertisers or business owners. They perform a search with the tool, and it returns “your ad is not showing.” They automatically think something is wrong. Unfortunately, no single advertiser gets to hold the top spot all the time. Many real-life variables can affect the visibility of your ads.

The number one thing is your budget. Your daily budget will determine how often you show up on Page 1. Generally, Google will attempt to spend your daily budget somewhat evenly throughout the day. It will not blast out all your spend between 5 – 7 am in the morning and then proceed to turn off your ads for the rest of the day. If your daily budget limit is reached when you are doing the search, you may not see your ad appear. This is perfectly normal.

The second thing could be a keyword issue. Your keyword selection is poor, and hence Google is striking it down with a low-quality score. Look to improve your keyword list and see if you can write more engaging ads or put out a better offer to stand out from your market.

The last thing I want to mention is competition. You may be inside a fiercely competitive field where you find 40 other advertisers selling similar products/services as you. In this case, the top of page only holds four ad spots at any given time. You will not be showing up all the time in a highly competitive PPC market. Seek to improve your offerings and put them into your ads. If your finances allow, seek to increase your budget, so you are consistently outspending your competitors and will then show up more often.

Things to note

Remember that not every search will your ad show on Page 1; sometimes it doesn’t show. Taking into consideration that the account is optimized correctly, with targeted, highly relevant, and intent-focused keywords. Now, it is largely influenced by your budget and bidding. A $5000 monthly budget usually does not outperform a $15,000 budget. (Surprise, anyone?)

Proper ad managers ensure that your account is well optimized to capture all the relevant traffic and leads to your site. They also prevent costly mistakes from happening in the account. But ad managers do not work miracles. You cannot reasonably expect to beat a competitor or market leader who is outspending your budget by 5-10 times. Google has an obligation to spend that budget. A higher monthly budget means a higher daily budget, which leads them to occupy the top spots of page 1 more often (or the absolute top) to gain as many clicks as possible for the advertiser.