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Paid Search

Google Ads are not showing up: 18 possible reasons

There are times that Google ads are not showing in search results even if we followed all of Google’s recommendations !

In this article, I go over – almost – all the reasons that could prevent Google ads from showing in search results.

1 – Payment has not passed

Of course, if Google can’t bill you on time, then your ads won’t show up in search results.

2 – Bids are either too high or too low

Obviously, if your keyword bids are too low, your Google ads will not show. To make sure your ad are not showing because of low bids, check:

  • Average position of your keyword
  • Search Impression Share
  • First page bid estimate

If so, then increase the bids for the relevant keywords in order to have your Google ads appear in search results.

On the other hand, if the maximum CPC for a given keyword exceeds the budget of the campaign in which it is linked, then your ads are not going to show for all the queries matching that keyword.

Make sure your account doesn’t have conflicts between campaign budgets and keyword bids.

3 – Campaign budget is too low

If your campaign budget is too low, then your search ads may not be visible all the day.

4 – Keyword search volume is too low

If you target a keyword that generates little or no search traffic on a monthly basis, the ads you have associated with that keyword may not show.

5 – Ads have been suspended, deleted or refused

Your ads may not show just because they were paused ! They may also not appear if the ad groups or campaigns to which they are linked have been paused or deleted.

6 – Schedule or targeting wrongly set

Under related campaign, select Ad schedule tab and make sure your search ads are not scheduled restrictively.

Ad schedule tab in Google Ads

Next to this “Ad schedule” tab, there is “Locations” tab for campaign geo-targeting settings. Your ad may not show if there is a low search interest for your keyword(s) in the geographic zone you are targeting.

Once again, you need to make sure your campaign settings aren’t too restrictive.

7 – Campaign is over

If your ads are no longer showing, check if you haven’t entered an end date for your campaign.

Search campaign with end date

8 – Negative keywords exclude active keywords

This is a great classic! Occasionally, some of your Google ads are not showing because some of your negative keywords are blocking active ones.

Remember to check whether correspondence of negative Vs active keywords is good (broad, exact ..).

9 – Negative bid adjustments are too large

Negative bid adjustments automatically reduce bids under certain circumstances (device type, time of day, location, etc.)

In the case that the negative bid adjustments you set are too large, it is quite possible that you will be excluding yourself from competing on some search listings.

Adjusting negative bids in Google Ads

10 – Ad group structure is not optimal

Some of your Google ads may not show up because of the structure of your ad groups. Indeed, if your ad groups contain keywords that are not closely related, this can be one of the reasons why you are not performing well at auction time.

As a reminder, one of paid search best practices is to have semantically related keywords within the ad group.

11 – Keyword is used in several ad groups or campaigns


A different problem that some advertisers have: the ad is showing but it’s not the right one. This problem happens when your keyword exist in more than one ad group or campaign.

If this is the case, Google will serve the ad with the highest quality score at the time of the auction. In order to fix this: 1) Set your ad groups as indicated above. 2) Use negative keywords.

12 – Quality Score is too low

If your Quality Score is poor, Google will not display any ad associated with this keyword. The solution: improve your Quality Score!

Read: How to optimize the Quality Score in Google Ads.

13 – Non optimised Ad text

Including the keyword in the text Ad is important for the performance and to trigger the ad. By including your target keyword, you are telling Google that your ad is relevant to the user search query.

(For more information, read: How to write performance Google Ads?).

14 – Landing page is irrelevant

Google takes also into account the relevance of your landing page regarding to the user search query.

Basically, if your landing page doesn’t allow users to do what they want to accomplish (indicated through the intent of the search queries), you’ll be penalised at the time of the auction.

So, make sure that your landing pages really meet users needs. Also, make sure you include your target keywords on your landing page.

15 – Click-through rate (CTR) is too low

Another explanation as to why your Google Ads are not showing is click-through rate.

From a practical standpoint, your ad’s CTR indicates its appeal to your prospects. If your CTR is high, it means your ad is relevant and it is capturing users’ attention.

So the lower your CTR is, the lower your chances of winning the auction and appear in search results.

If you want to give your ads the best possible chances to show up consistently to your prospects, you need to write ad copy that grabs their attention and compels them to click!

16 – newly created campaign

If your campaign was just created, wait a few minutes before checking if your ads are showing or not.

Takeaways

Now you know just about every reason that makes a Google ad not showing up.

Always, remember to have the reflex to use the “Ad Preview and Diagnosis” tool to start your diagnosis.

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