Test accounts

Production accounts serve ads that are rendered to users and involve billing. Test accounts, on the other hand, appear in the Google Ads UI as cancelled accounts since there are no active billing or serving, though API requests still work.

Why use test accounts?

Test accounts won't affect your live ads or charge your account, hence, they're a useful way to experiment with the API. Test accounts provide extra benefits during active development. Particularly, test accounts:

  • Can be set up in a hierarchy and organized just like production accounts.
  • Can be viewed and manipulated in the Google Ads UI, just like production accounts.
  • Don't require an approved developer token, so you can start experimenting with the API immediately, even before your application is reviewed or approved.
  • Can't serve ads or interact with your production accounts in any way. Because of this, impressions or cost data associated with test accounts will be empty.
  • Have the same restrictions (including rate limits) as production accounts.

Since test accounts don't have budgets, you may see an error when creating a test sub-account in a manager account. You can ignore this error; the test account will still be created.

Create test accounts and campaigns

Follow the instructions below to create a test manager account, a test client account, and a few campaigns to populate the test client account. Note that "client" here refers to a Google Ads client account, not your client app.

  1. Create a test manager account

    Select NEW GOOGLE ADS ACCOUNT and then name the new account something like testmanager@example.com.

    To create a test account, you must have a Google account that is not already linked to your production manager account. Create a new Google account.

  2. While signed in to your test manager account, create a test client account. Any client accounts you create from your test manager account are automatically test accounts.

  3. Create a few test campaigns under the test client account in the Google Ads UI.

  4. Take note of the client customer ID for the new test client account, and save it. You'll need this to make API calls later.

View test accounts

To view test accounts in the UI, you can unhide the accounts by choosing to view cancelled accounts.

Test accounts appear with a red label:

If you don't see the red Test account label on your Google Ads account page, then the account is a production account.