After hours, days or even weeks of hard work, your Google Ads campaigns are finally live. You’ve picked your keywords, written out your ads, chosen a bidding strategy and built out your landing pages.
And then, when you check to see how all your hard work is paying off, you discover something: your ads aren’t producing results. They aren’t driving conversions. They aren’t getting clicks. In fact, when you run a search using your keywords, you can’t find your ads anywhere.
What is going on?
Truth be told, there are a lot of potential answers to that question. But, whether it’s a new campaign that has failed to launch or a tried-and-true campaign that has suddenly disappeared, I’ve got good news for you. Most of the time, the “case of the missing ads” has a fairly simple explanation. If you do a little sleuthing using the tips in this article, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Why Your Google Ads Aren’t Showing Up
If you’re reading this article, I’m betting that you’re probably wondering where your ads are. This is a stressful situation, but don’t worry. There’s a good chance that the explanation is fairly simple and the solution will be straightforward.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at several reasons why your ads might not be running the way you expect.
You Jumped the Gun
When it comes to advertising, there’s a real temptation to panic any time things don’t go the way you expect. If you haven’t gotten any clicks yet, it’s easy to assume that something is wrong.
But, that’s not always the case.
So, before you start looking for solutions to problems that don’t exist, start by running Google’s Ad Preview Tool. Using this tool, you can choose a location, language and/or type of device and then search using a keyword to see what shows up on the Google search engine results page (SERP).
This is important, because sometimes your specific campaign settings may actually exclude you from seeing your own ad.
Maybe you’re running a location-specific campaign and you’re not in the specified location. Maybe you’re not searching using the right language. Maybe you’ve chosen to prevent people from seeing your ads when searching online from your business’s IP address.
Regardless of the reason, if your ad is showing up the Ad Preview Tool, it’s probably showing up for your customers—just not for you.
If you’re seeing your ad on the Ad Preview Tool but you aren’t getting any impressions or clicks, ask yourself, “Has it been long enough for my target keywords to be triggered?” It can often take a few days for an ad to start showing up if you’re using a particularly narrow set of terms or campaign settings.
So, if your campaign has only been up for a few hours or days and still doesn’t have any impressions, take a breather and just wait. If your ad is showing up on the Ad Preview Tool (with the proper settings enabled), odds are that everything will be just fine.
You Aren’t Paying Google
While we all wish that Google would let us run ads for free, the fact of the matter is, Google Ads is pay to play. If you stop paying, Google stops showing your ads.
So, if your ads suddenly disappear, it’s a good idea to check your billing details. Did your credit card expire? Did you update your card…but put something in wrong?
As simple as this explanation is, it actually happens more often than you might think. So, if you’re wondering where your ads went, start by opening your Google Ads account, clicking on the gear symbol in the top right-hand corner and clicking on billing to see if your information is correct.
Your Campaigns are Paused
Pausing campaigns is very easy on Google Ads. One misplaced click, and your top-performing campaign can suddenly stop running ads.
I can’t tell you how often I hear about this mistake. Even if you don’t accidentally pause your campaigns, it’s easy to pause your campaigns for a completely valid reason, get busy with something…and forget to turn them back on.
Depending on the complexity of your Google Ads account, paused campaigns, ad groups or ads can be easy or difficult to track down.
If you’re not sure which campaigns might have been paused, click on “Change history” in the left-hand sidebar. If you filter by “Status”, you can see which ads, ad groups or campaigns have been paused recently and decide whether or not you want to reactivate them.
Your Ads Were Disapproved
While most decent, ethical ads fall within Google’s ad text policy, sometimes you can end up breaking a rule without realizing it. If that happens, Google will disapprove your ads.
Disapproved ads don’t run on Google.
Since Google updates their policies every so often, you can sometimes even see formerly approved ads get disapproved. So, if your ads aren’t showing up, you may want to check out the Ads tab, click on “Columns” and add the “Status” column. This will allow you to see whether your ads are Approved, Disapproved or Approved (limited).
If your ads have been disapproved, there should be a note about why they were disapproved. If you can fix things, you should be able to get your ads back up and running, but for more information on how all of this works, you’ll want to check out the Google Ads Help Guide.
You Might Be Out of Money
If you’ve set ad delivery to “Accelerated”, Google will do its level best to spend your daily budget as quickly as possible. This can be a powerful way to get more clicks and conversions, but it does have a downside. Once your budget has been used up, your ads will disappear for the rest of the day.
This becomes a particularly important problem if most of your budget is going towards keywords that produce clicks that don’t convert. We see this problem all the time at Disruptive. Advertisers spend all of their money on the wrong clicks and then don’t have any money left over for the right ones.
To see if this is happening in your account, open the Campaigns section of your Google Ads account and click on “Columns”. Add Search Lost IS (budget) as a column to see how many potential impressions your ads are losing due to budget limitations.
If you notice that your high-performing campaigns are missing out on more than 10% of their potential impressions, you probably want to change up how you are spending your budget to prioritize those campaigns.
Otherwise, if your ads aren’t showing up when you want them to show up, you may want to switch from “Accelerated” ad delivery to “Standard” ad delivery or change up your bidding strategy to ensure that your ads are being seen throughout the day.
You Done Messed Up
There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re setting up a Google Ads campaign. Between all the keywords, bids and ad copy, it’s easy to overlook little things…little things like campaign settings.
For example, if you’re advertising in a radically different time zone from the one that your account is based in, you may accidentally choose to run your ads during your business hours, rather than business hours in the location where your ads are running.
It’s kind of hard to get clicks when your target audience is asleep.
Similarly, if you copied a campaign but forgot to update the settings, you may have other settings that make it impossible for people to see your ads. Alternatively, you may have negative keywords that are in direct conflict with your target keywords.
Mistakes like these are incredibly easy to make—especially if Google Ads isn’t your thing—so if you’ve tried most of the suggestions above and still can’t figure out why your ads aren’t showing, you may need to dig a bit deeper.
There are a couple of ways to handle this: 1) take a few hours and dig through all of your setting yourself, or 2) ask a Google Ads expert to help you out. Odds are, getting an expert to audit your campaigns will save you a headache and help you get your campaigns back on track.
There’s nothing quite like a Google Ads campaign that refuses to show up. You put a lot of time and effort into crafting your campaigns, so if they don’t deliver results, it can be incredibly frustrating.
Fortunately, most of the time it’s fairly easy to figure out where things went wrong. More often than not, you made a simple mistake that can be fixed in a few minutes.
However, if you get through the suggestions in this blog post and still can’t get your ads to run, reach out to us here at Disruptive. We eat, sleep and breathe Google Ads, so we’d be happy to help you get your ads up, running and producing the results you need.
You’ve heard my two cents, now it’s your turn. What problems have you run into in your Google Ads account? How did you track down the problem? What advice do you have to share?