If you’re running a PPC campaign then you might have thought about ‘checking’ your ad. It’s natural to be curious about how it’s performing… Does it look the way you’d hoped? What position is it being shown in? A lot of time this is based on panic, ARE WE EVEN LIVE?? This curiosity might lead us to the seemingly innocent action of searching for our own ad, after all what harm could it do?
But if you’re running a live PPC campaign then searching for your own ad is not a wise move. Not only can it provide an inaccurate picture of what’s going on, but it can actually hurt your overall campaign. Let’s look at how and why in more detail…
Pitfalls Of Searching Your Own PPC Keywords and Ads
There are several pitfalls associated with searching for your own PPC ads. Let’s start with the obvious mistake – clicking your own ad. It might sound like a rookie error, but it’s surprising just how many people do this. Maybe it’s to check the link or just out of curiosity, but it happens more than you’d think. And the fact is, this costs you money. Every time your ad gets clicked, your AdWords account gets billed for a lead that isn’t genuine. So this is definitely the first thing to avoid!
If you click the ad and then proceed to close the window, then it will be recorded as a bounce. This makes Google think that your ad isn’t relevant or interesting, and therefore decreases the quality score. A lower quality score means it’ll cost more to show your ad, or it’ll be shown less often within your budget constraints. This can result in fewer click-throughs and a lesser number of relevant traffic and thus leads.
Even if you just search for your keyword, but don’t actually click your ad, it can still negatively impact your campaign. Doing this artificially inflates the impressions and can skew your overall data. It’s also another way to decrease your quality score too since Google believes the ad was seen but not interesting enough to warrant being clicked on. Google then believes that your ad is less relevant than others that they will rotate in that will have higher click-through metrics.
Sometimes your IP address may get blocked altogether. If Google sees that you’re repeatedly clicking on an ad it may think it’s a malicious attack and block you. Also if your PPC agency uses a click fraud software, you are definitely getting blocked if you have subsequently clicked Likewise, if you’re repeatedly ignoring an ad, Google will think it’s not relevant and stop showing it to you. People sometimes interpret this as the ad not working and then waste time looking into why that appears to be the case.
If you’re not worried about any of the above consequences, then consider this… Any search you perform will only reveal of snapshot of what’s happening – it doesn’t provide overall insights. Since Google works on a bidding system, what happens when you click now may be different from what happens in 5mins, 50mins, or 5 hours. If you are advertising between 9 am and 5 pm and you have the budget for 200 clicks but there are 800 searches, you will only be shown one out of every four searches. This depends on the bidding strategy, the other accelerated delivery method will cause you to exhaust this budget by 11 am (depending on how fast the majority of searches are being done and what time of day). So by using the information from a single point in time, you won’t get an accurate idea of how it’s performing. This misinformation may lead to incorrect results being drawn or decisions being made base on skewed data.
Other Ways To Check PPC Campaign Performance
If you run your campaigns with 180fusion then we take care of all the reporting for you. We offer conversion and call tracking for all of our PPC services, as well as weekly reports that detail all of the activity from your advertising. This includes information about clicks, impressions, conversions, ad position data, ad performance, and much more.
But if you want to do an on-the-fly spot check you’ll want to use the Google AdWords Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool. It allows you to search for your keyword and then shows a preview of the Google search results page. This enables you to see exactly which ads appear for your keyword, and whether your own is eligible to appear (based on language and location criteria). You can even share the search with colleagues, allowing you to keep your entire team in the loop without skewing your data.
You can find the “Ad Preview and Diagnosis” option under Planning in the new version of AdWords once you click the wrench in the upper right corner:
If you do find that an ad isn’t showing as you’d hoped, then there’s also a ‘diagnosis’ feature that can help. It provides reasons as to why your ad isn’t showing so you can remedy them immediately. Using this tool will show you exactly the same results as if you’d typed in a Google search, but won’t influence your performance data, so it’s a much better option to choose.
If you have questions about PPC then feel free to get in touch. Our team of experts are always up-to-date with the latest changes in ad technology and can advise you on a range of topics.
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