Google Instant Preview (GIP) was a feature that Google began rolling out for organic search results back in November of last year. This feature was recently applied to paid ads in April, and to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it. There are definitely some positive aspects to the preview feature, but there are also some downsides. I will outline a few of the pros and cons of Google Instant Preview as I see them up to this point.

Pros

  • Google Instant Preview gives advertisers an extra layer of "qualifying" when it comes to potential visitors. The thought here is that users will use GIP to determine if the truly want to click on an ad and visit a site, rather then just clicking on an ad first. This, in turn, saves advertising dollars and improves conversion rates.
  • For those advertisers who have spent hours creating and testing solid landing pages, GIP provides some validation. Slick ad copywriting aside, giving users the ability to preview the look, feel, and messaging of a landing page rewards good design, and creates an incentive to keep it up.
  • GIP also places even more emphasis on relevancy and unity between search query, ad copy, and landing page messaging. By including text call outs, which highlights portions of the landing page text that includes a user’s search query, advertisers will have to ensure that their ad messaging is cohesive – a benefit for users and advertisers alike.

Cons

  • Simply put, the GIP feature can become annoying very quickly. As you are browsing through several paid and organic search results, you can become overwhelmed with landing page images popping up all over the place. What is even more troubling is how difficult it is to turn off Google Instant Preview. Considering the amount of users who want to disable this feature, I am sure Google will make this function much more accessible in the near future.
  • If you are an advertiser who has relied on your genius ad-writing skills to entice users to click on your ads while neglecting your landing page quality, you may see a decline in traffic with GIP. Similarly, if users begin relying more on the GIP feature rather than ad copy messaging, we may see a decline in ad copy quality across the board.
  • I am all for new features that enhance the searcher’s overall experience and deliver better, more relevant results. However, with all of the new features and add-ons that Google has been rolling out over the last year or so (Ad Extensions, Google Instant, Google Instant Preview, Google +1, etc.), I am concerned that the paid search space may become too cluttered to get your message across.

What has your experience been with Google Instant Preview? Have you found it helpful, or has it hindered your search experience? Leave a comment and let us know!

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