Don’t Use to View Your Ads

Normally I wouldn’t simply reprint a posting from the AdWords blog, but this time I thought it particularly important that everyone see this one – especially if you have clients who frequently perform Google searches to check their own ads:

“One of the most common questions our support teams receive from advertisers is “why can’t I see my ad on Google?” While it may seem like a good idea to monitor your ad by searching for it, here’s a list (in no particular order) of possible account issues that are difficult, if not impossible, to troubleshoot by simply looking for your ad on

  1. Your ad has been disapproved.
  2. The keyword you used to search for your ad is not performing well and has become inactive for search.
  3. Your ad rank is not high enough to allow your ad to show on the first page of search results.
  4. Your ad is showing, but in a lower position possibly due to a shift in the competitive landscape.
  5. Your regionally targeted ad doesn’t include the region (e.g. city, state, or country) associated with your computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.
  6. Your ad is targeting a language that’s different from the language you’ve selected for your preferences.
  7. Your daily budget has been exhausted and your ads are no longer showing for the day.
  8. Your daily budget is lower than the recommended amount and Google is spacing the delivery of your ads to ensure you receive traffic throughout the day.
  9. You’re using ad scheduling and your ads are currently not scheduled to run.
  10. Your account hasn’t been activated.

AdWords is all about results and we understand that you want to monitor your ads. However, searching for your ads on Google can lead to a diluted clickthrough rate (CTR) as well as account changes based on results that may not represent what the average user sees (more on both points later). For these reasons, we strongly recommend against monitoring your ads solely based on a search. Below, we’ve highlighted three great tools to help you monitor your ads quickly, accurately, and without negatively impacting your performance:

1. “Search” using the Ad Preview page rather than

For those of you who search for your ads simply to monitor their positions on, the Ad Preview page is a perfect alternative. The Ad Preview page enables you to view ads (and search results) as they would appear on a regular search results page to most users, without accruing extra impressions for your ad. Remember, anytime you or your colleagues search for your ad on, the keyword associated with your ad accrues an impression. Over time, this may decrease your CTR (as the number of impressions increases but the clicks do not) and, in turn, may lead to a lower Quality Score.

In addition, if you search for your ad multiple times on (not using the Ad Preview page), our system may adapt the results you see. This means you may begin to see your ad in a lower position than before.

You can access the Ad Preview page by adding “/adpreview” to the end of the usual Google URL – Here’s an example of a search using the Ad Preview page:

(Click the screenshot to view the full-size image.)
2. Use the Ads Diagnostic Tool

For ads that don’t seem to be showing at all, the Ads Diagnostic Tool is a good place to start. Located within your AdWords account, the tool can tell you if your ads are not showing due to approval status, cost-per-click (CPC) and budget price settings, ad and keyword performance, ranking status, geo-targeting settings, etc.

You can access the Ads Diagnostic Tool information two different ways – for a quick diagnosis, point your mouse at the magnifying glass icon next to any keyword in your account. A help bubble will appear with information about that keyword. For a more thorough analysis, go to the tool itself by clicking Tools on the Campaign Management tab.

3. Account statistics and reporting

Your best bet when monitoring or troubleshooting your ad activity is reviewing the statistics in your account. Unlike searching for your ad, your account statistics provide a comprehensive overview of how your ads are performing overall. These statistics can provide you with the average position of a keyword that’s calculated, not estimated, across all the geographic locations, languages, network sites, etc. that you’re targeting.

In addition, your account offers numerous reports that you can run as needed, or schedule to run and have emailed to you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis – this means you get all the data without even having to log in to your account!

We understand that it’s natural to search when curious about how your ads are performing; however, we hope you’ll keep in mind that how your ad appears, or in some cases doesn’t appear, for you, may not reflect how it appears to the vast majority of people who are searching for your product or service each day.”