Why Can’t I See My PPC Ads?

Chad Kearns, Vice President of Marketing Services

One of the most common questions our clients ask us when starting a new PPC campaign is “Where are my ads? I searched for my keywords and didn’t see my ad.”

This is a reasonable question. They are paying for clicks. So how come they can’t trigger ads themselves?

It’s important to understand the internal and external factors that might prevent your ads from triggering 100% of the time. Below are 9 of the top reasons why you may have a hard time seeing your ads when you search for them.

1. Using the wrong search engine

This may seem like a no-brainer….but it has happened before.

Advertisers using Google AdWords need to understand that their ads will only be shown on the search engine results page (SERP) of Google.com and Google’s search partners. Same rules apply to Bing Ads; your ads will only be shown on the Bing SERP.

Double check that you’re using the same search engine that you’re buying traffic on.

2. Credit card is declined

Although uncommon, credit cards that are on file for your account may be revoked for a number of reasons. The main reason is typically an expired credit card.

If your credit card gets declined, all ads in the account will not be eligible to be shown.

3. Ads or site is disapproved

Editorial policies, however annoying they may be, exist for quality control purposes. If any of the ads don’t adhere to these guidelines the ads will not be eligible to be shown.

4. Exhausted campaign budget

Most campaigns have a daily budget, which cannot be exceeded. If you reach the daily cap number, your ads will be paused until the next day. There are settings options to help prevent this, but regardless, if you have a limited budget, your ads will not show for every eligible performed search.

5. Ad schedule limiting impressions

Oftentimes, companies will set up custom ad scheduling to serve ads only at times that convert the best for them. This allows them to conserve budget for the best converting hours.

Ad Schedule Example

Keeping this in mind, if you’re searching for your ads during non-scheduled hours, then you will not see your ad being served.

6. Outside geographic targeting

Some advertisers want to target specific geographical locations so that customers only in their service area will be served ads. If you are searching from outside of the predetermined geographical location, your ads will not be displayed.

Geo targeting example

7. Low ad rank

Ad rank is a Google calculated metric that takes into account both your maximum cost-per-click and Quality Score. Low ad rank will decrease your ad’s average position within the SERP. On occasion, ad rank may be below the first page, reducing visibility.

8. Low impression share

Impression share is a percentage of the number of impressions an ad receives compared to the number of impressions the ad was eligible to earn. For example, if your impression share is 20% for a keyword, then 80% of the time your ad will not show when that keyword is searched for.

Having a keyword with an impression share of 100% is hard to achieve. In general, a higher impression share is better, but the point is, most keywords do not have a 100% impression share, which means sometimes your ad will not show even when it was eligible.

9. Search result ad fatigue

Searching for your ad over and over again may cause your ads to be worn out of showing on the SERP.

When you continuously search for ads and don’t click on them, Google may determine that your ad is not relevant or useful to users searching those keywords. If that’s the conclusion they came to, your impression share can drop.

After discussing the multitude of reasons why your ads are not showing up when you search for them, you can finally take a deep breath. Instead of hunting in the SERP for your ads, focus on the metrics in AdWords and Bing Ads. That will be a better representation of your ad performance.

Small Business PPC Services - Portent

To prevent any more issues we recommend doing a complete Google Ads audit of your account. Doing so can uncover underlying problems.

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action
Close search overlay