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Why Are Your Google Ads Not Showing?  

Are you pouring time and finances into crafting top-notch Google ads only to find them missing from relevant searches? If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Navigating Google Ads can be challenging, especially for newcomers. Drawing from years of experience in Google Ads, I’m here to simplify the world of online advertising for businesses like yours. 

In this article, I’ll explain why your ads might not be showing up and how you can fix the most common problems. Let’s troubleshoot together and get your ads back on track.

How to know if your ad is showing?

Before we delve into specific issues, take a moment to double-check your ads thoroughly. (Sidenote: If you’re confident there’s an issue with your ads, feel free to skip this step).

The best way to check if your ad appears on Google searches is to use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool. You can access this tool in the top bar of your Google Ads account by navigating to Tools and Settings > Planning > Ad Preview and Diagnosis. 

Simply searching on Google may not reveal your ads for a few reasons:

  • Your current location may differ from the location your ads are targeting.
  • Your ads will not appear on every search due to your daily budget and how Google chooses to use it so as not to exceed your limit.
  • Google is smarter than we think and can purposefully omit showing the ad for your website if it sees that you have been visiting it from the same account before.

Moreover, constantly searching for your ads without clicking on them may do more harm than good. Google could interpret this behavior as a sign that your ads are irrelevant, affecting their performance. That’s why relying on the preview tool is the best option for checking the visibility of your ads.  

Also, take a moment to review your Google Ads account for any warning notifications in which Google may indicate the issue. If you see no warnings, check your Ads impressions by going to your Google Ads account > Ads and extensions > Ads. If you have enabled your campaign and ads, and your ads have been running, but you see no impressions, then it does mean that your ads are not showing on searches. Here are the potential issues.

Why Your Ads Aren’t Visible

Payment issues

This is an easy-fix issue, but always make sure your payment works. If your ads are paused due to a payment issue, you have most likely already received a notification in your account indicating the problem.

How to fix:

Ensure you complete the necessary payment as per your budget requirements.

Advertiser verification not completed

To provide safe and transparent advertising, Google will eventually require you to go through one or multiple advertiser verification programs. 

For general advertiser verification, you must provide basic information about your business and identity. However, if your business faces specific restrictions in certain countries or regions, you may need to obtain additional certifications to demonstrate compliance with licensing requirements. The most common fields that will be required to complete this extra step of verification include:

  • Gambling and games, 
  • Healthcare and medicines, 
  • Financial products or services.

There are also businesses such as garage door services and locksmith services that need to go through an advanced verification process to eliminate any fraud and safety concerns associated with such businesses.

How to fix: 

Follow the link provided in the notification or email from Google to complete Advertiser verification. Alternatively, you can navigate to Tools and Settings > Billing > Advertiser verification in the top bar of your Google Ads account. Even before receiving a notification, completing advertiser verification offers significant benefits to your ads account. It enables you to utilize more assets with your ads, enhances transparency, and fosters trust among potential customers.

Policy violations

The next most common issue is failing to adhere to Google policy requirements. Like any business, Google aims to ensure that ads displayed on its searches use appropriate language and are not associated with scams or untrustworthy practices. 

If your ad violates a policy, it will be indicated in the Status column. Hovering over the status label will reveal the specific violation along with a prompt to fix it or file an appeal.

How to fix:

In most cases, editing the ad copy is necessary to avoid triggering the policy violation. However, in certain situations, such as when the violation pertains to advertised products or services, appealing the violation may be necessary. For instance, I encountered a case where the company’s name violated a trademark policy due to its similarity to another unrelated business. In such cases, appealing the violation might be the only choice if you are sure the policy violation is unreasonable.

Negative keywords conflicting

This issue can easily be overlooked but is crucial to your ads showing on searches. Make sure you review your negative keyword lists, especially if you were adding keywords in bulk or using Google recommendations. If a negative keyword closely resembles a keyword you’re targeting in your ad groups, your ads could be blocked by that negative keyword.

How to fix:

Remove the negative keyword if added by mistake or adjust the negative keyword match type. If the negative keyword is essential but is very close to the targeted keyword, you may want to use an exact match type to ensure it will only stop specific searches.

Landing page issues

Another reason your ads may not display on Google is due to broken landing pages or related issues. Ads are designed to direct users to relevant website pages where they can find the products they intend to purchase. If the landing page has been deleted or is insecure (using “http://” instead of “https://”), Google may perceive it as a policy violation.

How to fix:

Update your ads regularly, ensuring that all the links they lead to are functional and relevant. Even if Google does not indicate a broken page as an issue, you can still lose a lot of your ad budget by directing potential customers to a non-existent or broken page.

Bonus advice:

You should also work on your website pages to improve the performance of your ads. Here are points to consider:

  • Landing page content should be relevant and include the target keywords that you use in your ads. This helps Google see that what you advertise is actually sold or mentioned on the landing page.
  • Your landing page should be mobile-friendly, as most Google searches nowadays happen on mobile. To determine if your website is mobile-friendly, browse its pages on your phone and observe how the design adapts to the mobile version.
  • Your landing page speed should not be too low. Let’s be honest: no one enjoys waiting a long time for a website to load.

Outdated ad type

This could be an issue if you had your Google Ads account before June 30, 2022. On this date, Google retired expanded text ads, so if you haven’t updated your ads in a while, you will see the ad status indicating that the ads are not eligible. It has been quite some time since then, but I still encounter clients whose ads are disapproved due to outdated ad types and a lack of regular optimization.

How to fix:

In this case, the only way to have your ads run is to create new ones using an up-to-date ad type.

Google bugs

You can contact Google support if you checked everything and still can’t find an issue for why your ads are not showing. There may be a bug that needs to be fixed with the help of Google support. These cases are rare, but they are still possible.

How to fix:

Contact the Google Ads Help Center directly.  

Why your ads aren’t showing as often as they could 

Now that we’ve addressed the issues that can prevent your ads from showing completely let’s explore why your ads may be showing too infrequently and underperforming. Your goal is likely to maximize the visibility of your ad to potential customers who are most likely to convert. So, what obstacles might be preventing you from achieving this goal?

Budget too low

Choosing the right budget may be confusing at first, but it is important to be realistic in this matter. Your budget should depend on how many clicks you want daily and the average CPC (Cost per Click – the amount of money you pay for each click on your ad). CPC depends on such factors as:

  • targeted location, 
  • competition, 
  • industry
  • keywords.

How to fix:

To determine your initial budget:

  1. Conduct a thorough keyword research (in Keyword Planner) to understand the average cost per click (CPC) of your targeted keywords in your selected location.
  2. Multiply the average CPC by the number of clicks you aim to receive.
  3. If your business operates with a limited budget, prioritize relevant keywords with lower costs, especially if your Google ads campaign is new. You can adjust your budget as you observe results later.

Bad campaign structure

Google ads campaigns are like puzzles where each piece is crucial for the final result. To craft a good ad copy, you need more than just compelling headlines and descriptions; you also need proper structure. Your ads may be showing less because your ad groups are not focused enough. By that, I mean that your keywords in one ad group should be focused on the same service or product, not multiple. 

For example, if you advertise plumbing services, your keywords in one ad group should be as close to that topic as possible (e.g., plumbers near me, best plumbing services, etc.) If you combine unrelated keywords in an ad group (e.g., plumbing services, roofing, best garage door repair, etc.), you cannot write a compelling ad copy. No one wants to see the headline “best roofing in your area” when they search for plumbers, which can happen if you try to target different topic keywords in one ad.

If your ad copy is irrelevant to the keywords in that ad group, you will get a lower ad strength score, which can make Google choose an ad with a higher score over yours. 

How to fix:

Follow the best campaign-building practices, and avoid blindly accepting Google recommendations for creating ads. (I have never seen those campaigns perform well; the least they can do is give you irrelevant traffic).

If you feel like your business needs your full attention and you have no time to rewrite your ad campaigns, then have managers do it for you. It is an investment for the future success of your business.  

Keyword issues

Keyword trends change constantly, and to keep your ads running, you need to always check if any of the keywords have a low search volume status. This is especially a concern for businesses targeting specific locations or services. 

How to fix:

You can temporarily pause low-search volume keywords and reactivate them later when they gain more popularity. Ensure that your ad group includes a sufficient number of well-performing keywords. If you find yourself pausing numerous low-search volume keywords, consider adding new relevant keywords or adjusting the match type from exact match to phrase match. I recommend avoiding broad match unless you have experience running Google ads, as it often results in irrelevant clicks and traffic.

Target location issues

Similar to the previous issue with low search volume keywords, your ads may not show enough if your location targeting is very narrow, and as a result, you cannot find higher search volume keywords. 

How to fix:

Broaden your location by adding even a few more nearby areas. Use Keyword Planner to research the most relevant keywords in the locations you want to target.

Conversion tracking is not set up

This can be a point of concern if you use maximize conversions bidding, which has been very commonly used in recent years. 

How to fix:

Make sure your conversion tracking is set up correctly and that you made the switch to Google Analytics 4. Otherwise, Google may be limiting your ads from showing since it cannot record conversions. This will not only help ensure that your advertising efforts are accurately tracked but also get your ads back into the game.

Final Advice

I hope you found the issue that is stopping your ads from showing, but I will not just leave you at that. I know that running Google ads is a big investment for any business, and facing difficulties and poor results can be frustrating, to say the least. 

That’s when Zima Media comes to the rescue. As your all-in-one marketing agency, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your advertising goals. Our team of professionals is prepared to assist you with ongoing management services, one-time solutions, or strategic consulting hours. Reach out to us today, and let’s turn your advertising struggles into successes!

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We'll discuss your business' strengths and pain points and recommend a custom marketing strategy that fits your needs.

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