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Instant preview for Adwords ads

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday April 28, 2011 )

It was launched in the U.S. a couple of days ago, but I only just noticed it – Google has rolled out its instant preview feature for Adwords listings.

The Instant Previews icon now appear next to Adwords ads on searches. This allows folks a sneak peek at the advertiser’s landing page.

Google says Instant Preview “clicks” won’t cost merchants – they will still only pay if user clicks through on the ad itself.

It’s an interesting feature, one I’d probably use more than the instant preview on organic listings.

The “free” bit is interesting too. I wondered if Google might incorporate data from preview activity into quality scoring, and hence, potentially affect pricing a particular merchant may have to pay per click.

That appears to be not the case – this page on Adwords Help specifically states “Instant Previews aren’t taken into account when calculating your Quality Score.” Good deal. But..

If your ad isn’t attracting clicks – that does have impact according to the quality score formula information as described on this page. So in a round about way, Instant Previews could have an effect if the Adwords ad is constantly not clicked as a result of people using the Instant Preview feature and not liking what they see. Time to purdy up those landing pages I guess.

Advertisers can robots.txt their landing pages out to prevent Googlebot spidering them which will switch off the instant preview feature, but this will have significant impact on a quality score as Google says it will no longer be able to assess landing page quality. In other words, don’t do it.

The Instant Preview isn’t showing up on Adsense publisher sites as far as I can tell and it’s unclear whether Google will introduce it. A couple of publisher comments I’ve seen on the topic express a bit of a concern of how it may affect clickthroughs and as a result, revenue.

Innovate or die they say – nobody can accuse Google of not innovating. Whether a particular innovation is good or bad is often just in the eyes of the beholder, or more accurately, the side of the ecommerce fence they are on.


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