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Preview AdWords extensions with the Ad Preview tool

Previewing AdWords extensions with the Ad Preview Tool is something I’ve always wanted to do. But until today I didn’t know that was possible.

I had no idea if seller rating extensions were showing. Or which sitelinks were showing. I did not know what PLAs were showing for my customers before I paid for some clicks. Especially if I restricted my campaign targeting to “people in my targeted area”.

But I didn’t want to pay for the clicks and then make the adjustments. I wanted to be able to add the extensions, launch the campaign and test it quickly. Especially now that Google has placed way more weight on ad extensions than they used to.

Yesterday though I have discovered an interesting thread on the English AdWords Community. Here’s what an advertiser says:

It doesn’t work for me when I use the search box at the TOP of the Ad Preview tool, but it works when I use the search box at the BOTTOM.

I tried to do what he was suggesting, but I couldn’t get it to work. The search box at the bottom of the Google SERP was not working for me.

Here’s how the preview looked at first, after entering the query in the Ad Preview Tool:

Adwords ad extensions not showing in the Ad Preview Tool

As you can see, no ad extensions are showing.

But this morning, when preparing a new Product Listing Ads campaign for a customer, I understood what he meant.

The search button at the top of the Ad Preview search result page does not work. Not if you click on the button. But if you click in the search box and hit enter, bam! There they are. It also works if you switch between Google Images / Shopping results and then you switch back to Web.

Here’s how the same search looks after clicking in the Google Search box and hitting enter:

Adwords ad extensions showing in the Ad Preview Tool

Quite a change, right? Product listing ads are now showing, and so are seller rating extensions. I’ve also seen sitelinks so this makes me think that they all show if you repeat the search from the Google search box.

I have no idea why they don’t trigger when you first hit the preview button. Or why the blue Google Search button is inactive in the Ad Preview window.

But I sure am happy that I can now preview all the AdWords extensions with the Ad Preview tool. I used to do the same by using RedFly’s great Seo Global for Google Search extension. I also manipulated the Google URL with location & language parameters. I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore.

What do you think? Did you already know about this possibility? If you didn’t, do you think you’ll start including it in your workflow? Let me know in the comments section below.

About Calin Sandici

Father of two and husband of one, at the crossroads of Google AdWords, Analytics and E-Commerce.

  • David Stockelberg

    Not sure what you generate by using the search box is actually a preview technically speaking. i don´t see the “Preview” background.
    Maybe you´re generating pageviews..?

  • Calin Sandici

    Thank you for your comment, David. If you look at my screenshots, you will see the preview background.

    It does seem to have changed in the meantime, though. If I check it now, the “preview” background no longer shows when hitting “enter” in the search box. But the warning message, notifying you that you’re using a tool meant for testing the ads still shows.