Every so often we receive a call from a client asking why they aren’t seeing their Google PPC ads show up when they search for their main keywords. Certainly it could be frustrating to see that you are missing opportunities to show up in front of potential customers but searching for your own ad is deceiving, and can actually harm your campaign in the long run. In this post I will explain why you should never search for your own ads, and show you a trick that you can use to see your ads in real time without compromising your campaign.
Related post: What is PPC?
Before I share with you the secret trick to see your ads (the right way), I first want to share with you the four main reasons why you shouldn’t search for your own Adwords ads:
You will not get an accurate idea of how your campaign is doing from one search.
PPC advertising is an auction system where different advertisers are all bidding against each other on the same keywords, all trying to get the attention of searchers. All of the bidding happens in real time, so a search that happens now will show different ads than a search that happens five minutes from now. To fully understand how a PPC campaign is performing, we have to look at a larger set of aggregate data (say 7 days or 30 days) so that we can identify statistical trends. One search and one ad does not accurately represent your overall campaign, so we should not make any decisions based on these singular searches.
You could hurt your own campaign.
If you repeatedly search for your ad and do not click on it, you are sending signals to Google that the ad isn’t relevant, which can lower your Quality Score. With a low Quality Score, your cost-per-click can go up and you could end up paying more for your ads. While one search won’t trigger a lower quality score, a repeated and widespread pattern could contribute to making your campaigns more expensive.
Even with a perfectly crafted PPC campaign and max bids, your ad will not show every time. There are so many different factors that go into whether or not your ad will show, like: day of the week, time, device type, bid, competitor bid, ad type, and ad extensions, to name a few. Even the best PPC campaigns crafted by experts will miss impressions based on some of these factors, so we cannot assume that because your ad didn’t show for your search, that something is wrong with the campaign.
You may get your IP address blocked.
Google uses your computer’s IP address to identify you and decide which ads to serve to you. If you continuously search for your own ads and do not click on them, Google may stop showing them to you, as you have indicated that the ad isn’t relevant to you. So, while you might assume that your ad isn’t running, in reality it might just not be running for you.
So, if you want to see how your Adwords campaign is doing, what should you do? First, you should ask for a report from the people running your campaigns. After all, they are the experts! They can put together a report for you showing how your PPC is doing from a top level.
How To Search For Your Ads (The Right Way)
But, if you’d rather search for your own PPC ads to see how they look — here’s how to do it: use the Ad Preview Tool from Google!
This tool will have you to set your location, language, and device, then you will be able to perform searches to see what ads are showing. The great thing about the Ad Preview Tool is that it is a search simulator, so it is not actually serving any ads but instead showing (in real time) what ads would show in a real search.