Google Ads not showing? There's no time to waste - you need to find out the reason and get it fixed, quick smart.
If you're not seeing your ads on Google, the good news is there’s more than likely a reasonable explanation for why your Google ads aren’t showing.
The first thing to do is look for your Search ad with the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool in Google Ads.
This is the quickest way to confirm that your Google ad is running without affecting your impressions, which will lower your click-through rate. Another way to check is to look at the "Status" column of the Ads tab next to your ad to see more information about its status.
If your ad isn't showing, this tool will tell you why.
If you're still having trouble, run through the list below and see which one relates to your Google ads.
Here are 15 reasons that could explain why your Google Ads not showing:
1. Your Google Ads payment didn’t go through
Your Google ads not showing could be as simple as a payment issue. Many advertisers pay for their Google Ads account using automatic payments. This means Google will charge you when you reach your pre-set payment threshold or you reach the end of your current billing period - whichever happens first.
For these transactions to happen, your account needs to be set up properly and up to date with the right account information and credit card details. If the transaction fails and Google can’t get payment from you, your ads won’t show up in the Google search results - simple as that!
It's a simple fix - do a quick check on your credit card information and make sure everything is up to date.
Click the tool icon in your Google Ads account and then click “Billing & payments” to check for any billing errors. Your ad won’t run if you have a declined or expired credit card, or you’ve used all of the funds since your last payment.
2. Your Google Ads bids are too high or too low
You set a daily budget for each of your Google Ads campaigns. But what if the maximum cost per click (CPC) bid you set for a particular keyword goes over the budget of the campaign? Your ads won't show for queries that match to that keyword.
To prevent this from being a problem, make sure campaign budgets work for your maximum keyword bids.
Looking at it another way, it could be that your Google ads aren't showing because your bids are too low in comparison to your competitors' bids.
If this is the case, go to Keywords in your Google Ads account and use bid simulators to estimate the impact of making bid adjustments by different amounts. Increase your bidding to the estimated first-page bid for that keyword to see if impressions increase.
Remember, your keyword bidding might be too low to win a first page ad placement, but it could be showing on a later page.
3. Your daily budget has been exceeded
Depending on how your budget is set up, your ad spend could have already run out. Some advertisers set up Google ads for quick results, and in this case, the campaign’s daily budget may show as “limited.”
This means depending on the CPC of your keywords compared to your set campaign budget, your ad may not be eligible to show. In other words, if the CPC exceeds the budget, the ad will stop showing.
The reason is simple - Google Ads will spread your daily budget across the day for better performance, which means your ads won’t show every time someone searches for your keywords.
One way to fix this is to lower your bids or increase your daily budget so that your bid-to-budget ratio isn’t too high.
Another option is to use an ad schedule to limit the hours of the day you want your ads to show, and target the times when your searchers are most likely to click.
4. Keyword search volume is too low
The thing about Google Ads is that if a keyword you are targeting attracts little to no search traffic on a monthly basis, any ads tied to that keyword may not show. It could be that you’re targeting very specific, niche, or long-tail keywords that searchers simply don't use.
So, as soon as Google sees that you’re targeting a really low search volume keyword, it’ll make the keyword inactive within your account and stop ads from showing for it.
How will you know? Go to the Keyword section of your account and review the Status column. If “Low search volume” shows in the Status column, you can click to see whether or not your ad is showing, and what the issue is.
The good news is this is only temporary.
If search volume picks up to a good level, Google will reactivate the keyword automatically. You'll see this updated in your Status column.
Rather than waiting for the search volume to pick up, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find a similar keyword with a more substantial volume of search traffic so you can show your ads.
5. Your ad has been paused
Sometimes Google ads not showing is because they have been paused, or because their ad groups or campaigns have been paused.
It might be as simple as the fact that you set a start and end date for your campaign, and it finished already. Or your campaign was paused due to low performance.
This is an easy fix - all you need to do is switch your ads or ad groups from Paused to Enabled.
Go to “Change History” to view all changes that have been made to your account. Make sure you can see the full list of campaigns by setting the view to show “All” or “All but removed”. Then, filter by “Status” to see if all of your campaigns are active.
6. Your ad has been removed
Another reason for Google ads not showing is because they, their ad groups or campaigns have been removed from your account.
The only thing you can do in this scenario is to start again with your ad. To see if this is the case, go to your Change History in your account and filter by Status to see if changes have been made.
7. Your ad has been disapproved
If nothing has been paused or removed but your Google ads don't show up in the search results, check to see if they've been disapproved by Google.
This means your ad cannot be shown to users because it goes against Google's ad policies. See how you can fix your disapproved ads and show your ads to users by checking Google’s ad policies.
The main things you need to avoid are:
Prohibited content, such as the sale and promotion of counterfeit goods.
Prohibited practices, such as data collection, misrepresentation, and anything else that abuses the ad network.
Restricted content, such as adult content, gambling, political content etc.
Editorial and technical issues, which is anything that is annoying or difficult for your users to interact with.
Check your email for disapproval messages, which may include information from Google on how to resolve issues with your disapproved ads.
It's also possible that your ad hasn't been approved yet - check the status!
8. You've made a scheduling or targeting mistake
When you set your advertising schedule for each Google Ads campaign, you are telling Google which days of the week and hours of the day you want your ads to show. Without setting an ad schedule, your ads show on all days of the week, at all times of the day. If you use the default option, ad scheduling is unlikely to be a reason for your Google ads not showing.
If you have ad scheduling, it might be that your schedule is too tight. Take a look in the Ad Schedule tab of the relevant campaign.
Let's say your ad schedule is set to only one hour each day, that’s not much time for your target audience to search. If no searches are made during that one hour, your Google ads may never show.
Another reason might be that your ad is set to show during days or hours when your target market is not searching. In that case, your ads may never have the opportunity to show.
9. Your ad location targeting is incorrect
Location targeting is set at the campaign level to allow you to choose which geographic areas you want and don't want your Google ads to show. But there are a few issues that can stop your ads from showing.
First, your location targeting may be too narrow.
Just like with keyword targeting, ad scheduling, and bid adjustments, if you go too narrow with your location targeting, you could have a very low search volume or no searches at all. Next to the Ad Schedule tab, look at the targeting parameters for your ad campaign and make sure the setting isn’t too narrow.
Another issue could be that your locations are not relevant.
Maybe you have set your locations to where your audience is not located or are not searching for what you have to offer. Your ads may never show if this is the case.
You may have set your locations to “Excluded” - a simple mistake to make and even simpler to fix.
Finally, your bid adjustments may be too low for targeted locations. If your bid adjustment for a location is set to -100%, your ads won’t show in that specific area.
10. Negative keywords are cancelling out active keywords
Negative keywords are a smart way of preventing your ads from matching to irrelevant queries. They can be set at the ad group level and the campaign level.
There are lots of reasons you might add negative keywords. For example, adding a negative keyword at a campaign level tells Google to never show any of your ads for this keyword.
For example, if you sell dresses, but there are no short dresses in your inventory and never will be, so you want to use “short dresses” as a negative keyword.
You can also add them at the ad group level to tell Google to never show your ads for negative keywords in this particular ad group. For example, you want to save your best “wedding dresses” ad for an ad group dedicated to that product, so you use “wedding dresses” as a negative keyword in your broad match type ad groups.
Here's the thing - if some of your Google ads aren’t showing, it's possible that some of your negative keywords are canceling out active keywords and stopping the ads from showing for relevant queries.
11. Your negative bid adjustments are too big
Another reason for Google ads not showing is negative bid adjustments. Negative bid adjustments allow you to automatically decrease your bids within a campaign under specific circumstances. They can be set on a number of different parameters: device type, time of day, location, and more.
However, if the negative bid adjustments are too extreme, you might be losing out on the ad competition and they’re negatively impacting your ad rank.
12. Your ad group isn’t focused enough
Ad groups within your Google Ads account are made up of keywords and ads. So, when one of your keywords is triggered by a user’s search query and you enter the ad auction, Google knows to select one of the ads that you’ve tied to that specific keyword.
Your performance in the ad auction is directly related to how relevant your ad is to the user’s search query. So, the more relevant your ad is, the higher you’ll rank.
If your Google ads aren’t showing, it could be that your ad groups aren't structured in the best way. The biggest issue could be that you’ve built an ad group with keywords that are not closely related to one another.
To fix this and get your ads shown, build ad groups containing closely-related keywords which are focused on one specific topic. If all keywords in your ad group are closely related, your ad will likely be more relevant to the user’s query no matter which keyword is triggered or which ads are selected to be shown.
13. Your ad copy isn’t optimized
Just as you need to have well-structured ad groups, you also need to optimize your ad copy to match the search query as closely as possible. One of the possible reasons your Google ads are not showing could be because your copy isn’t keyword-focused enough, which means your Quality Score is low.
Quality Score is a rating that Google attaches to search and display ads made using its Google Ads network. It checks the relevance of the ad against its keywords and your landing page. A great ad that lands on a relevant page will achieve a high Quality Score.
Optimizing a Google ad to rank high in the paid search results means using your target keyword in your ad copy. This shows Google that your ad is relevant to what the user is searching for.
14. Your landing page is not relevant
Google looks at a few things when working out whether you deserve to display higher in the paid search results. One of them is the relevance of your ad copy, as mentioned above, and another is the relevance of your landing page.
The bottom line is this: if your landing page doesn't do what users want, as shown by their search intent, you won't perform well in the ad auction. Google simply won't want your ads to show.
Think very carefully about how you design your landing page content to meet the search query and keywords. The better you solve problems with your landing pages, the better your ads will perform in the Google Ads auction.
Tailor your landing pages to specific ad groups - this ensures every landing page is highly relevant to the keywords and ads. Another way to optimize performance is to ensure the landing page is easy to navigate. Make it easy to use on mobile and desktop, and make sure load times stay low.
15. Your click-through rate is too low
Your click-through rate is the rate at which your ads turn impressions into clicks. Your CTR of your ad also shows Google how appealing your ad is to your prospects, and Google rewards advertisers with ads that resonate with users. It's all about providing users with a positive experience.
If you have a high CTR, your messaging is resonating with your target audience - and vice versa. So, the lower your CTR for an ad or keyword, the worse you will perform in an ad auction.
The bottom line
There’s always a perfectly good explanation as to why your PPC ads aren’t showing, and there’s a high chance that explanation can be found in the above list. Use the list to see find the reason and then fix it so your ad campaign can get back on track and you can get your ads to drive a return on investment.