This is one of the most common questions we get from our clients after their campaigns go live. They are excited – understandably so! They want to see what the time, cost and effort of creating the campaign has actually given them. So they type in a search term, waiting in anticipation to see their ad come up. And…Nothing. Nada. Niks. They can see their competitors, but not their ad!

We understand when they react negatively.  After all, they have entrusted us with giving their brand the best exposure possible on Google and now it hasn’t worked. All they want to know is: Where is my ad?

The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of reasons why your ad may not be showing for what you are searching for. Let’s unpack a few of those to see if it answers your questions:

Why are my Google Ads not showing up?

  1. Your campaign is limited by budget. This is the most common reason we find that people aren’t seeing their ads. If Google feels that your budget is too low for the keywords you are targeting, the system staggers the impressions throughout the day to avoid overspending. Think of it this way: if your daily budget is R100 and your average CPC is R10, then you can expect 10 clicks for your budget. If your CTR is 10% then Google is going to show your ads 100 times for 100 clicks. However, if there are 1000 searches for that term a day, then Google can’t show your ad every single time as you will spend a lot more than your budget. So the system tries to show your ads throughout the day, and your ad won’t show for every search that it would be eligible for. The solution? Increase the budget!
  2. You aren’t in the targeted area. This can sometimes be a little confusing. Almost every campaign is targeted to a specific geographic area, and we sometimes find that the advertiser actually falls outside the area they are targeting.
  3. Your IP Address may be placing you somewhere you are not. This is a strange problem we have come across with a few clients. Google targets ads geographically based on your computers IP address. We have found some clients’ whose IP address places them in very odd locations. One client who was in Johannesburg had an IP address that mapped to Germany! This is a rather technical issue that is not widespread.
  4. The language is different. Google targets the ads to the language that we have selected. It can happen that your Google interface is set to a different language for example, we could be targeting English as the language, but your default Google language is Afrikaans. You won’t see the ads even if you do an English search.
  5. The search term you have used is not in the campaign. This can happen. Even though we ask clients to check through the keyword list, we can miss search terms. This is easily remedied – we just have to add the term to the campaign.
  6. You have seen your ad too many times. Google is clever. Really clever. The system knows if you have seen the ad a lot and never clicked on it. To try and give you more relevant results, it will stop showing you that ad in the hopes you will click on one of the other ads. So try not to search for your own ads too often, as it means you will actually stop seeing them. And don’t click on your own ads!

Those are the most common reasons you can’t see your ad, but I would always prefer that our clients don’t Google their ads – unwanted impressions muddy up the data and give us the wrong impression of what is going on with your account. There is an amazing tool within Adwords called the Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool that allows us to do a fake Google search, and it tells us if your ad is showing or not. Just drop us a mail and ask us to run an ad diagnosis for a specific search term and we can then share the result of that test directly from Adwords.

If you have any other questions about your Adwords campaign, whether we look after your account or not, just drop us a mail or find us on Facebook @WSIDurban