Google's Instant Preview Now Includes Ads!


Yesterday Google announced that their Instant Preview feature will now apply to ads. That means you’ll now be seeing that nifty little magnifying glass appear next to ads as well as organic search results.

Clicking the Instant Preview magnifying glass brings up a window that lets users preview the ad landing page.

In the image below, you can see that my Google search for “flowers” brought up a few ads. Clicking the magnifying glass next to my 2nd ad, I got to see a preview page and was able to confirm that the ad would, in fact, lead me to a site with an abundance of beautiful flowers to sell (just seeing them all nearly makes me sneeze).

AdWords Instant Previews

Instant Preview allows users to preview the ads they are about to click on to ensure that the content of the landing page matches what they are looking for. The aim of this feature is to increase user satisfaction and provide more highly qualified traffic to sites.

 What does this mean for advertisers?

  •  Polish up that landing page: Instant Preview asserts how incredibly important a good landing page is. Users should not be sent to a generic page, but instead should be taken directly to what they are looking for!
  • Your money is safe: Don’t worry, you won’t be charged for Instant Preview clicks. You are only charged when users click through to your site.

I'm not sure how often Instant Preview is really used – to be honest, I usually barely notice the ant-sized magnifying glass. But anything that lets users more easily avoid advertising spam is bound to provide some value. 

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Richard Kraneis
Apr 27, 2011

Google PlusOne interferes with Instant Preview

I tried the new feature but didn't see it. No little magnifying glass for PPC ads in Google. Then I realized the +1 feature was turned on in the same place.

I turned off PlusOne and then the Instant Preview worked fine. I suspect Google will resolve this minor conflict (or as they might say, design feature).

Instant Preview certainly has implications. Knowledgeable users can preview before clicking. But to a user, one click is one click. But Instant Preview keeps your search page "underneath" for future choices. Clicking on a PPC ad transfers control elsewhere. So I wonder what proportion of all users will first Instant Preview and then click officially on an ad. Only Google will know.

This does put some pressure on advertisers to improve their landing pages. I can see some downward pressure on CTRs because of a growing base of knowledgeable users.

I can also see the benefits of this to advertisers:
1) Improved CTRs for well matched landing pages.
2) Improved ad spends.

So Instant Preview just proves again that this is a dynamic field that changes every day, with real impact on a company's profits.

Thanks for the update Megan.

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