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Friday, September 08, 2006

Google Ad Preview Tool is Cool

I like the new Google AdWords ad preview tool (announced today via Inside AdWords). The local advertising space is hot right now. Interesting to see that Search Engine Roundtable (IMHO one of the most useful SEM blogs) reported today that LocalLaunch was acquired. I've been doing a fair amount of work lately for clients regarding local advertising. I can think of two very good uses for the new AdWords ad preview tool:
  1. See my clients' local ads from their perspective.
  2. Check ad position for my clients' national/global ads in specific regions.
For instance, I've been running local ads for clients in CA and NJ. My computer's in MD. I've used Google's ads diagnostic tool and other means to examine my clients' ads as seen on their machines, but I think this tool will be more accurate. The ad preview tool will also be useful for improving national ads. Looking at stats via the AdWords interface provides the average position for a given ad for a given keyword. But, for a national ad, that's the average position across a whole collection of local regions. It will be helpful to examine the ad positions in specific markets.

Right now, the tool doesn't seem to "remember" the query data that's being passed along. After manually adding query data to see results for a specific region, when you click to see the next set of results, that query data isn't passed along. I imagine that's a simple bug the Google software engineers will fix. Here's an example using the tool to see what ads look like for "pizza delivery" in the New York, NY area:

http://www.google.com/search?adtest=on&hl=en&q=pizza+delivery&gr=US-NY&gcs=New+York

Note the query data "gr=US-NY" to indicate the region and "gcs=New+York" to indicate the city. Both pieces of data need to be present, i.e. you cannot simply pass the city. See this AdWords help page to understand which chunks of data have dependencies. Hmm, note to self, I'm thinking Google Maps mashup with AdWords results - a tool to display Google AdWords results by location by typing in a keyword search and then clicking points on a map. (Then again, maybe I should limit my web 2.0 mashup escapades to TagMan).

If you need help with your local advertising efforts, read my Local Search Advertising with Google AdWords article (also published on Search Engine Guide).

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