You have invested the time to identify your target audience, research keywords, build dynamic ads, and set those ads to trigger during key times in specific areas. There is a lot that goes into building an effective AdWords campaign for your business. Once your campaign goes live it is only natural that you will want to see the results of all that hard work.

So what is the best way to see your ads in action?

Most people just assume that they can do what potential customers are doing and go directly to Google. While seemingly logical, this approach does not give you a true view of search engine results because:

  • Results are based on, and sometimes limited by, your physical location.
  • If you are located within your targeted area and repeatedly trigger your ads without clicking, Google will eventually show them less. By repeatedly triggering the ads and not clicking you are telling Google the ad is not relevant to your search, or that you are simply not interested in the ad.
  • Triggering your ads in live search creates impressions or views. Racking up a lot of impressions without clicks is going to negatively impact your click through rate (CTR), which can hurt your overall quality score.

So what is the best way to see your ads in action?

The Google Ad Preview Tool: http://adwords.google.com/d/AdPreview/

This tool allows you to customize the location and device type for a potential search. So for your plumbing business in Portland, you can set the location to a specific zip code or city in your service area, and select desktop, tablet, or mobile device. When you enter the search term Portland plumbers you will see exactly what a potential customer sees while searching from the location and on the device type you specified.

Search is a powerful tool for finding just about anything, but when looking for your paid ads it can limit your view. Using the Ad Preview Tool allows you to see your ads in the same context as potential customers, giving you a powerful perspective.