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Help! Why Aren’t My Ads Showing?

Paid Search 12th Aug 2015

This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would.

Hi. Today I’m going to try and answer a quite common question:  Why aren’t my ads showing?

You probably search for your adverts throughout the day, just to make sure they’re running and see what they look like. Firstly, this isn’t a great idea, because it’s going to add unwanted impressions to your adverts.

So before we move on, I just want to recommend to use the Ad Preview tool, because that way that doesn’t affect your impressions, and you can control settings, like where you’re searching from and things like that. Because Google in your office, you’re going to be seeing slightly different positions and results than you would be with their tool, so this gives you a more accurate view of that.

Let’s run through the things to check and hopefully solve those issues.

First one is billing. Are your billing details up to date? Has your credit card expired? In the Billing section in AdWords you can add a secondary payment option. This helps eliminate any issues where your billing may have expired, by moving on to the secondary payment options, so that your ads are running. When you log into AdWords, you’ll usually see a bright red banner at the top of the page saying your ads aren’t running because of a billing issue. Hopefully, you’ll get an email as well. Just remember to add your secondary payment option in to prevent any of these issues from happening.

Campaigns. Are your campaigns still active? Did you pause them for a reason, due to seasonality or performance not being so good? Or if it was a bank holiday and you weren’t able to answer any phone calls? Just make sure they’re running. Same for ad groups as well. You may have paused individual ad groups instead of campaigns, so just check that. It may seem obvious, but check that.

Daily budget. This could be a common reason why your ads aren’t showing. If you’re hitting your daily budget because there’s a lot of demand out there, then your ads aren’t going to show all day. When you set up your campaign, you’ve got two options. You can set the budget to be used as fast as possible throughout the day, or the second option is to set it to be evenly spent throughout the day, which is the preferred option in my opinion. If your budget is limited, Google isn’t going to show your ads all day, because it’s not going to go with that spend. Ways to fix that, you can obviously increase your budget, but also look at things like location targeting and ad scheduling to limit the times and locations where your ads are showing, to not waste money on times of the day and cities where you’re not going to get good quality traffic.

Target location. If you’re searching for your ads and you’re in, say, London, but you’re only targeting Scotland, you’re not going to see your adverts. This is where the Ad Preview tool comes in handy, because you can set your city. You can even set your country if you’ve got international campaigns. Then you can see exactly how your advert looks in that target country or city or wherever it may be. So just be aware of that one.

This isn’t one that is often really remembered. Is your IP blocked? If you have an agency that work on your account, maybe they’ve blocked your office IP, because there’s lots of legitimate reasons why you’re going to be searching for your brand and products related to what you sell from your office. But if you’re targeting those in your ads, then it’s going to generate impressions for your ads. So they may have thought it was a good idea to block your IP, and it is a good idea. Just remember that might be a reason why you don’t see them in your office, but you may see them at home, for example.

This is quite a common one, negative keyword conflicts. If you’re targeting a keyword that you set as a negative keyword as well, you may have forgotten that you set that as a negative keyword and added the new target keyword. Then it’s not going to show. It’s going to take into account that negative keyword and not show that advert for the target keyword. You need to investigate this using the Keyword Diagnosis tool, which I’ll go through in a bit, and delete that negative keyword. Make sure that you’re going to have that negative keyword applied to all your other ad groups and all your other campaigns as well, just so they’re controlled by that negative keyword.

Keyword disapproval. AdWords has a really long list of policies that you must comply with in order to advertise on Google search results. I won’t go through them now because it’s a really long list, but I will link to it in the video description. Make sure you’re fully aware of those policies. They do vary by country as well, so you’re going to need to consider that. If you feel that your advert or your target keyword is approved by the policies, then you can get in contact with Google to work out why it has been disapproved and hopefully resolve those issues.

Similarly, ad disapproval. You’ve got various policies that Google apply to advert text, just to make sure you’re not targeting things that are against their policies. Also, the formatting of the text can get your advert disapproved. If you’ve got exclamation marks, or all capitals, or repetitive words, then Google is not going to let your ad show for that, and it should pop up with a warning when you’re trying to create these adverts. If you’ve got old adverts that do adopt that, before the times of when they had these various policies, then they may get disapproved in future as the policies update. So make sure your ad is nicely written and not spammy at all, and then it will be eligible to show in the results.

So to go over again, make sure that you use Ad Preview tool to see what your adverts look like in the search results.

Every time you update your campaigns or add new target keywords or adverts, then do use the Keyword Diagnosis tool to check if there’s any issues right away. Otherwise, you will get an alert to any issues, but that can happen within 12, 24 hours, so in the meantime that keyword or that advert isn’t being shown. A good way to do it is to run Keyword Diagnosis tool, and that will give you more details on how to fix those issues as well.

This is my top list of things to look through why your adverts aren’t showing. Hopefully, that will fix your issue. If you want more information on PPC in general, then do contact Koozai or contact me on Twitter or Google+. Thanks.

Dean Marsden
About the author

Dean Marsden

A big fan of art and design, Dean is an avid photographer with an eye for creating beautiful images. His other skills include playing golf, which he’s done since he was 15. He’s a little quiet, but you know what they say about the quiet folk…

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