Don’t Search Your Own Google PPC Ads!
If you are buying PPC ads, either from an agency or directly from Google, a common error is to search for your own ads. Many business owners try to base the performance of the ads on whether or not they can find them when conducting a search. Unfortunately, this reasoning is flawed.
Firstly, searching for your own PPC ads in a live browser is to be avoided. If you accidentally (or even purposefully) click an ad, you cost yourself money. Remember, PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click, so ad clicks should be reserved for potential customers.
It Hurts Your Account
If you then proceed to close the window or exit the site quickly after clicking the ad, Google will count this as a bounce, consider your ad less relevant, and lower your quality score. Quality score affects everything from your cost per click to how often the ad is shown afterwards.
Even searching your own ads, without clicking, negatively affects your account. You are essentially inflating the amount of impressions on the ad and then not clicking, resulting in a lower click through rate. This leads to a lower quality score, which again can affect future performance of the ad.
How To Check Your PPC Ads’ Appearance in Search Results
One way to avoid all these errors is to log into Google Ads and use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool. This tool will give you a snapshot without affecting any of your impressions or click data. It will also help you troubleshoot these potential issues:
- not enough budget being available
- incorrect location targeting
- issues with quality score.
Pitfalls of the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool
One thing to consider is that any search you perform, whether live or in the Preview Tool, will only provide a snapshot of what’s happening. You cannot get an overall impression of how an account is performing based off of a few sample searches conducted at a single point in time.
Google Ads works on a live auction system, so a search conducted now, may provide drastically different results than one you may conduct in a few minutes or one you might have done an hour ago. Factors such as competition, bidding strategy, overall budget, quality score, location, time of day and more, affect the ad’s visibility at any given time, even within the tool.
Additionally, depending on how your campaigns are optimized, you may be ineligible to see the ad – and that’s a good thing! If the ads are optimized for conversions, and you, as the business owner, do not typically complete conversions on your own website, the ads will not be shown to you at all, as you are not a likely customer.
Also note that certain features of Google Ads, such as Promoted Pins, do not appear in search results on the Ad Preview tool.
In conclusion, one should avoid searching their ads in a live browser. When using Google’s preview tool to test ads, avoid judging the entire account performance based off the results of that session and recognize that there are multiple factors involved with an accounts’ performance.