Google has launched the Instant Preview feature for its paid search Adwords program worldwide. Instant Previews provides a graphic overview of a search result and highlights the most relevant sections. An icon appears besides the ads allowing users to preview the landing page without having to click-through. The feature has previously been around for a few months for organic search results only. The feature is active here in Australia too (see example).
I have four early observations to make:
Paid vs Organic Distinction The distinction between the paid and organic results on the Google results page has been completely blurred now. Look at the example above for instance. The three paid ads all use the Extended Search Headline format and now the Instant Preview icon, which could confuse users into thinking the organic results for the query ‘credit cards’ begin at the top of the page.
Ad Extensions The Instant Preview displays only one landing page per ad. So if you have Ad Extensions Site Links you can’t offer a preview for each landing page.
Landing Page Design The design of your paid ad landing pages is now more important especially if you are a category new entrant or not a top of mind competitor. If searchers preview your page before clicking, you must provide an enticing snapshot and pay attention to what relevant content on your page will be highlighted as per the users query. For established brands I expect that users will continue to click on their ads and not base their decision on previews. These brands must ensure that the colours and images users see on the landing page previews are synonymous with assets used in other media.
Mobile Search Finally for the few mobile searches I did for ‘credit cards’, ‘car insurance’ and ‘savings accounts’, the instant preview wasnt available for the paid ads though organic searches are enabled. I think Instant Preview will be more useful for mobile search, where users are looking for immediate information and find it more cumbersome to go back and forth in search results due to the mobile screens limited space for navigation.
Are you a digital or paid search marketer – What do you think of the new feature?