14 Reasons Why Your Ad Is Not Shown In Google Search

So you have set up your Google Ads campaigns. Now, you want to see your ads showing up on Google. So you’re Googling some of your keywords and all you see are the ads of your competitors. Dammit! 

There could be multiple reasons why your ad is not showing up in Google. Keep in mind that the fact that you’re not seeing your ad, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re potential customers don’t see them. Either way, it’s worth to do some further research to get an understanding of why you don’t see your ad.

Here are 14 reasons why your ad is not shown in Google Search.

Reason 1: Billing issues

First, have a look if your account is active. There might be some issues you have with your billing details.

If there are any issues, there should be a big red banner popping up when logging in to your account. If not, you should be fine. But to be 100% sure, drill down to Tools & Settings > Billing > Billing summary.

Reason 2: Paused campaigns, ad groups, keywords or ads.

Then, have a dig through your campaigns to see that all the campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads are enabled. 

It might seem obvious, but you might have missed something when you pushed everything live. Find your most important keywords, and double-check that everything is enabled as it should.

Reason 3: Ads are not approved yet

Especially if you just created a new Google Ads account, it might take some time before your ads will get approved.

Normally, it should be going through the approval process quite quickly. However, it could take 24 hours and in some cases even up to 3 days.

If this is the case, all you can do is wait. There’s no way to speed up the process, unfortunately.

Reason 4: Disapproved ads

Google has a lot of guidelines and policies your ad will need to comply with. If not, your ads will be disapproved.

Google’s advertising policies cover 4 broad areas: prohibited content, prohibited practices, restricted content & features, and editorial and technical.

If your ads are disapproved it will be in one of these areas. If all the ads in an ad group are disapproved, this will prevent any keywords in the ad group to be triggered. 

Reason 5: Disapproved keywords

Sometimes certain keywords get disapproved. Again, this means that they don’t comply with the guidelines that Google have set for advertisers.

To find these keywords, you can drill into the keyword tab of your Google Ads account and use a filter to only show keywords that are disapproved.

Reason 6: Low CPC bids

Sometimes, the cost-per-click bids are lower than what’s need to compete in an ad auction.

It simply means that your ads are eligible to be shown, but that your competitors are outbidding you.

In order to have your ads shown, you will need to increase the cost-per-click bids of your keywords.

Reason 7: Poor Quality Score

Similar to having low CPC bids, a poor Quality Score can prevent your ads from being shown. 

If you have launched your first campaigns, this is very likely. The Quality Score is something you build up over time by showing Google that the ads you’re running are relevant to a user.

So if you’re ad is not showing because of a poor Quality Score, you can increase your CPC bids. Once you build up a better Quality Score (by showing highly relevant ads and landing pages) your cost-per-click will slowly decrease over time.

Again, you can have a look at the keyword tab within your Google Ads account and create a filter to identify these keywords.

Reason 8: Location targeting

Obviously, if you’re targeting a specific country or city and you’re not physically located within this location yourself, you won’t be able to see your ad.

Now, there are exceptions to this. If you’re using the targeting method “People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations” you might be able to see your ad if you include the location into the search query.

It’s the default setting in your Google Ads account, so there’s a big chance you’re using it. 

I won’t start a discussion here, but you’re better off splitting out your campaigns and only target people that are physically located in your targeted location. Contact me if you want more information 🙂

Reason 9: Radius targeting

Radius targeting is more trickier than normal location targeting.

Google is quite sure if someone is located in a big city like Sydney. However, if you’re targeting a smaller radius within that Sydney, Google is less sure. If Google is not 100% sure that someone is located within that radius, your ad won’t be shown.

Screenshot of radius targeting in Google Ads.

The smaller the radius, the bigger the chance that Google simply doesn’t know and that you won’t be able to see your ad.

Reason 10: Time scheduling

If you are using an ad schedule, your ad is not showing 24/7. 

The ad schedule is based on the time zone of your account. So if you’re located in a different time zone, you want to adjust your ad schedule accordingly.

You can find the time zone of your account in your account preferences.

Reason 11: Budget restrictions

It might be that your budget is limiting the reach of your ads.

This means that your ad is still shown, just less frequently during the day. Instead of increasing your budget (which is likely to increase your spend), you can also reduce your CPC bids. That way, your ad will be shown lower in the ad ranking but more often.

Keep in mind, lowering your CPC bids might cause your ad to not shown because of reason 6.  

Reason 12: Personalised search

Google uses “personalised search” when deciding the ad ranking. This means that the ranking that you’re seeing might be different than the ads someone else is seeing.

So, if a person sees an ad multiple times (which seems to be the case if he sees the branded ad) and doesn’t click on it, Google will think the ad is less relevant and shows the ad less frequently or on a lower position for this user.

Reason 13: Negative keywords

Negative keywords prevent your ad to be shown for certain (normally irrelevant) search query. However, sometimes they could be blocking your main keywords as well.

Have a look at the shared negative keyword lists that are attached to your campaigns. Also, make sure you check any negatives on a  campaign or ad group level as well.

Reason 14: Bid adjustments

If you’re using bid adjustments then this could impact your ad not being shown in some cases as well.

Obviously, if you’re using a bid adjustment of -100% for (for example) mobile devices, your ad won’t be shown if you search on a mobile device.

However, even if you have a bid adjustment of -50% this could cause your ad not being shown because of (again) reason number 6.


Hopefully, these reasons will give you an idea of why your ad is not shown. Keep in mind that the ads are not showing on your device doesn’t mean that nobody else is seeing your ads. There could be multiple reasons of why your ad is not shown.

If you want to see your own ad, I highly recommend using Google’s Ad Preview and Diagnostics Tool. This will eliminate any personalised search, and allow you to easily change device, location etc. in order to see your ad.

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By Jeroen

With over years of experience in digital marketing, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.

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