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Why Doesn't My AdWords Ad Show Up?


One of the most common questions advertisers have about Google AdWords, “I just typed the keyword into Google and I didn’t see my ad.” It’s a fair question, but one with a loaded answer.

You’re paying a lot of money to showcase your business on Google. It’s only natural to seek proof.

Why Doesn't My AdWords Ad Show Up?

dollar-941246_1280.jpg1. Money, Money, Money

One of the first things to do when determining whether or not AdWords is a good fit for your business is define your budget. Budgets vary from industry to industry. If you’re in an industry where not many people are using paid search you can get away with a smaller budget than an industry where your competitors are already using AdWords.

Google operates on a daily budget, but you can set a maximum budget per month. So, let’s say you’re spending $1,000 per month on AdWords. That comes out to a daily budget of roughly $33 per day. When Google sees $33 per day it does its best to spend it over 24 hours. Google AdWords offers an added bonus, you can manually set your campaign up to show ads between certain hours of the day, or to spend as much as it can as fast as it can.

By doing this you have more control of your budget. If you set it to the default, Google is going to be more conservative about showing your ads throughout the day. If you set it to spend early, or only through a certain time period, it will be more aggressive.

If you’re struggling with low spend, low impressions, low clicks and low budget, I recommend altering the times your ads show, or just spending as much as it can early in the day. If your campaign is meeting your standards, there’s no need to do this.


2. Low Quality Score

If you’re in the AdWords interface at all, chances are you’ve come across a “low quality score” message. What exactly does this mean? According to Google, quality score estimates the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. The higher your quality score is, the less you’ll pay for better ad positions.

As you can tell, quality score is a key factor in determining whether or not you’ll show up for certain keywords. One way to ensure you’re maintaining a high quality score is to make sure your ads are relevant to the keywords you want to rank for. Also, make sure you’re sending them to relevant pages.

Let’s use a sporting goods store as an example. If you’re a store only selling hunting, fishing and camping gear. Your quality score for the term ‘sporting good store’ may not be as high as it can be. Because when people think sporting goods they think of baseball, basketball, hunting, fishing, camping, hockey, golf, etc.


3. Location

If you’re trying to target a specific location, and you’re outside of that specific location, you will not see your ads. However, there is a great resource you can use to see your ad. It’s called the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool.

This tool allows you to pick your location, your language, and your device. After picking those three things you can then enter search terms. Just as an example, I searched for sporting goods store in Bradford, PA.

The only ad that appeared was an ad for Dick’s Sporting goods, the nation’s largest sporting good store. However, the closest Dick’s Sporting Goods is more than an hour away from Bradford. Dick’s Sporting Goods is probably running a nationwide campaign with a very large budget.


4. Is Your Account Under Review?

Google goes through and reviews accounts on a regular basis. If they go through and review your information and notice your credit card has expired, or there is another issue with your account, your ads will not show and your campaigns will be paused until the issue is resolved.

Also if you’re new to AdWords and you just set up a campaign, it may take as many as three business days to verify all of your information and show your ads. So, patience is key.


5. You’re Looking Too Much

Google is pretty smart. If you’re constantly searching for your ads based on a certain keyword it’s going to notice. Google will notice even more if you’re doing this and not clicking through to your ad.

If you try and search for the same ad based on one keyword and see it a few times but don’t click on it Google will stop serving you the ad. Google’s algorithms are designed to help your campaign. So, this is actually a good thing for both you and Google.

Your goal is to get as many clicks as possible. Google gets paid on a cost per click basis. By not showing your ads to irrelevant traffic everybody wins.

One Final Note


If you’re reading this it’s probably because you’re frustrated with your campaign’s performance, or lack thereof. When evaluating your paid search campaign make sure you’re evaluating it using the correct metrics.

Go into AdWords and see how your campaign is performing by looking at impressions, clicks, click through rate and cost per click. As long as Google is reporting impressions it means people are seeing your ads.

You didn’t create your ads so you can see and click on them. You created them for potential customers, clients, applicant’s etc. As long as they’re seeing them you’re in good shape.

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