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Google Ads Not Showing? Here’s Why… (& How To Fix!)

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 doing some further research to get an understanding of why you don’t see your ad.

Here are 15 reasons why your ad is not shown in Google Search.

  1. Billing issues
  2. Paused campaigns, ad groups, keywords or ads
  3. Ads are not approved yet
  4. Disapproved ads
  5. Disapproved keywords
  6. Low CPC bids
  7. Poor Quality Score
  8. Location targeting
  9. Radius targeting
  10. Time scheduling
  11. Budget restrictions
  12. Personalised search
  13. Negative keywords
  14. Bid adjustments
  15. Issues in the Merchant Center

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. 

Are you seeing disapproved ads in your Google Ads account? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many advertisers experience disapproved ads from time to time, and it can be frustrating. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to get your ads approved and running again.

First, you’ll need to understand why your ads were disapproved. Google Ads has a list of policies that all ads must adhere to in order to be approved. Common reasons for disapproval include inappropriate content, misleading claims, and copyright infringement. Once you understand why your ads were disapproved, you can take steps to fix the issue.

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.

Quality Score is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the relevance of your ad text, the relevance of your keywords, the quality of your landing page, and the click-through rate of your ads. A higher Quality Score means that your ads are more relevant to the search query and that you will pay less for each click.

To improve your Quality Score, you should focus on creating relevant ad text, selecting relevant keywords, and optimizing your landing page for conversions. Additionally, you should monitor your Quality Score regularly and make adjustments as needed. By doing so, you can ensure that your ads are as relevant and effective as possible, and that you are getting the most out of your Google Ads campaigns.

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 to be shown because of (again) reason number 6.

Reason 15: Issues in the Merchant Center

If you’re an e-commerce business and running Google Shopping ads, there might be an issue in the Google Merchant Center.

The Google Merchant Center is a powerful tool that helps businesses manage their product listings across Google Shopping and other Google services.

It allows businesses to upload product data, set up promotions, and track performance. With the Merchant Center, businesses can easily manage their product listings and ensure they are up-to-date and accurate. This helps businesses reach more customers and increase their sales.

Additionally, the Merchant Center provides insights into customer behaviour and trends, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about their product offerings. With the Merchant Center, businesses can maximize their visibility and reach on Google Shopping and other Google services.

However, if your product feed in the Google Merchant is not working properly it might be the reason why your Google Shopping ads are not showing.

Conclusion

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.

Still not able to identify why your ad is not showing up in Google? Leave a comment and we’ll try to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to solve the message: “We’re only showing your ad occasionally because of your budget.”?

This message indicates that your ad is being displayed less frequently due to your budget limitations. This means that your ad may not be shown to all potential viewers, and may only appear occasionally. To increase the visibility of your ad, you may need to adjust your budget, bidding or targeting settings.

How to solve the message: “Your ad has issues that will prevent it from showing on Google search.”?

This message indicates that there are problems with your ad that will prevent it from being displayed on Google Search. This could be due to issues with your ad’s content, targeting, or settings. It is important to address these issues in order to ensure that your ad is eligible to appear on Google Search and reach your desired audience.

Follow the steps in this article to figure out what is causing this.

How to solve the message: “This keyword is not triggering any ads, because another keyword was found to be a better fit for this query. Those ads may have also been rejected for other reasons.”?

This message indicates that the keyword being used in the ad is not triggering any ads to be shown. This is because another keyword has been determined to be a better fit for the search query. Additionally, the ads may have been rejected for other reasons, such as not meeting ad policies or not having enough budget. It is important to review and optimize your keywords and ads to ensure they are relevant and effective in reaching your target audience.

How to solve the message: “Your ad is probably being shown at times, but was not shown for this particular diagnosis.”?

This message indicates that your ad is being displayed at certain times, but it was not shown for the specific search query or diagnosis that was entered. This could be due to various factors such as low ad rank, budget limitations, or targeting settings. It is important to review your ad’s performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure it is being shown for relevant searches.

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By Jeroen

Having worked as a PPC freelancer for many years, Jeroen helps businesses to get more results out of their online advertising budgets.

He is the founder of Vazooky Digital, a Google Ads agency in Sydney, Australia.

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