Top 7 Reasons For Google Ads Not Showing

After performing several online searches, you may be wondering, like many Google advertisers, “why are my Google ads not showing?” This question is common as many business owners eagerly watch to see their ads appearing in the first page search results. After all, you’re excited and with good reason. PPC advertising remains one of the fastest, most powerful marketing mediums on the planet. When used in conjunction with organic SEO, the results simply can’t be beat. What do you do, though, when it seems your ads aren’t showing very often or at all? The best place to begin is understanding why.  

Why Are My Google Ads Not Showing?

While low ad quality is always a possibility, there are many reasons why you may not see your ads running in any given moment. Understanding how Google determines which ads to show when and where is a good place to start. You may not be searching for the right terms at the right time or in the right location. It could also be as simple a fix as increasing your budget or making simple bidding adjustments. That being said, let’s take a closer look at the 7 most popular reasons for search ads not showing.    

  1. How Google Search Works
  2. Keywords vs. Search Terms
  3. Location is Everything
  4. Ads Run On Schedule
  5. Budget Matters
  6. Low Quality Score
  7. Bidding Blunders

1) How Google Search Works

While Google uses an auction to determine ad placements, it’s not a highest-bidder-wins system. Remember, Google’s primary concern is providing the best user experience every time which means showing the most relevant content for each search query. To accomplish this for ads, Google uses both advertisers’ bids and projected ad quality to determine ad placement. This ensures the end user will normally find the most relevant and highest quality search results in a given search.

This also means it’s a very bad idea to look for your ads live in Google search results. If you see your ad, clicking on it will only waste your ad spend while lowering your conversion rate. Not clicking on it increases your impressions (views) without clicks which hurts your click-through-rate (CTR). It also convinces Google your ads aren’t relevant to you and may be a reason you aren’t seeing them in the search results.  

2) Keywords vs. Search Terms

Keywords are the words chosen by the advertiser to trigger the ads. Search terms are the actual terms users enter when searching online. Good keyword research should increase the chances the keywords and search terms align and the chances your ads will show. As a business owner searching for your own ads, you are probably entering the search terms that make the most sense to you. It’s likely, however, the majority of consumers searching for your products and services use different search lingo. If you’re paying a company to run your ad campaigns, they will do this research for you. At the end of the day, you may simply be using language that makes sense to a business owner, but not what consumers actually use to search.    

3) Location is Everything

Your ad campaigns are designed to show your ads to your target audience in specific locations, maybe even specific zip codes. This could mean your ads are in fact showing but somewhere other than your current location. IP address discrepancies, browser cookies, and GPS lag may also cause location inaccuracies at the time of search. The bottom line is you’ll need to be searching from the location your ad is targeting at the time your ad is showing for a chance to see your ad.

4) Ads Run On Schedule

Ad scheduling is another opportunity to miss your ads when searching. Your PPC manager is likely scheduling your ads to optimize your ad spend during periods of peak search volume. This means outside of those periods, your ad campaigns may be drastically scaled back or even paused. Searches performed outside of these peak periods are likely to yield little to no results.

Searching for your own ads is a really bad idea. It can affect your click-through and conversion rates which may in turn damage your quality score. Click To Tweet

5) Budget Matters

Your ads run on a daily budget. It may be different on any given day in order to optimize your ad spend, but each day has a set budget. Once this budget is spent, your ads will not show until their next scheduled time no sooner than the following day. Your PPC manager is also likely managing your ad campaigns on a monthly budget. Once either your daily budget or your monthly budget is spent you won’t see your ads run again until the start of the next respective period. Furthermore, if your budget is insufficient for your keywords or industry, you may be losing impression share. This means though your ads may be eligible to show, you’re losing those impressions to your competition. You may need to increase your budget.

6) Low Quality Score

Google assigns keywords a quality score each time a user enters a search query. This quality score takes into account the search term, keyword, ad copy, landing page, and user experience. The better all of these align, the higher your quality score. This is important because your ad rank, composed of your bid and quality score, is used to determine where your ad will be placed, if at all. Improving your quality score is a great way to increase the chances your ad will appear in search results.

7) Bidding Blunders

In addition to quality score, your bidding strategy is another potential opportunity to block your ads from showing. For example, if your bid is too high relative to your daily budget, Google may not show your ads. It’s also easy for mistakes in automated bidding adjustments to go unnoticed, preventing your ad from appearing in search results. The bottom line? To make the most of your ad placement, keep your bidding strategy optimized and error-free.

What To Do Instead

As mentioned earlier, searching for your own ads is a really bad idea. It can affect your click-through and conversion rates which may have a negative impact on your quality score. That being said, you may be wondering how you can ever know if your ads are in fact showing. It’s a good question, and, as it turns out, there’s a great answer. The easiest, simplest way is to take a look at the data that’s coming in. If your ads are getting impressions and clicks, you can rest assured they’re showing even if you don’t see them. You can also use Google’s Ad Preview And Diagnosis Tool to see your ads running without affecting impressions and clicks.

Pro Tip: Google recommends waiting 14 days to analyze the results of any changes made in ad accounts.

Google Ads Still Not Showing? It’s (Probably) Ok.

It can’t be over-stressed – searching for your own ads is absolutely inadvisable. It will skew the data and likely result in Google not showing your ads to you anyway. For many reasons listed above, if your ads aren’t showing it’s probably ok. Granted it may warrant checking your budget, bidding, and quality score. But if those look fine and you’re seeing clicks and impressions coming through, the bottom line is your ads are indeed showing. The real question is, how are your conversions?

Have questions or comments? Join the discussion for more great PPC tips & insights.

Joey is a Digital Marketing Analyst at ITVibes. A lifelong writer, he combines his affinity for written expression with a love for helping people create winning content marketing strategies that help businesses boost their brand and reach their target audiences. Joey holds a Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Biblical Studies and has enhanced his skills through professional marketing certifications. Writing is more than a profession for Joey, it is his passion; On a personal level, he also enjoys writing songs (lyrics and music), poetry, and storybooks for children.