7 Reasons Your AdWords Are Not Showing

google adwords

Marketing, and advertising, for that matter, is one of the most expensive endeavors of any business. Once you launch an ad, what you want is to get as many impressions as you can regardless of your advertising purpose. What you want to happen is to get your brand out there for people to see. 

Sometimes, however, you will come across a problem: your ads are not getting impressions. And if this happens, you have wasted something really valuable: time. 

Today, I will tackle this problem, but I will limit this tutorial to Google AdWords. By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to identify several reasons why your Adwords are not showing and fix the causes. 

1. Your payment source is unverified 

The most common reason why your ad is not showing is that Google did not receive your payment. While this may seem unreal, it can happen. Google may not need you to pay upfront, but it has to make sure that your credit card works. 

Another situation that can happen is that you want an ad that runs consistently. In this case, Google has a cut-off. They will charge you after this cut-off, and then continue running your ad if your payment went through. 

If the payment did not go through, Google will not run your ad anymore. For Google to be able to run your ads consistently, you have to ensure that your credit card is working.

One possible problem here is that your card has already expired. It is also possible that your bank has special requirements before letting transactions like this go through.  

Here are some things you can do: 

  • Call your credit card issuer and ask them to remove the block for your Google transactions
  • Make sure that the credit card listed on your Google account is updated
  • Use a different card—one that Google accepts 

Once this problem is resolved, your ad should run soon.

2. Your chosen keyword needs improvement

Google shows ads based on keyword searches and some algorithms. If your chosen keyword is not generating enough search, then Google has little room to show your ads. The advertising algorithm is not going to show your ads to people who are not searching for your product or service. 

There are two things that can happen here:

  • Your chosen keyword has little to no volume
  • Your chosen keyword is too competitive  

For low-volume keywords, the problem is obvious: no one is searching for your product. This happens mostly to advertisers who use their brand name as a keyword. Let us say that your brand name is Big Fish Shoes.

In this case, nobody is really going to search that term on Google, unless your brand is a really well-known one. 

For the second problem, your ad is not showing because you are competing against hundreds, if not thousands, of advertisers. If your chosen keyword has a large volume of search, your competitors are going to target those keywords, too. 

The solution here is to either increase your bid, or choose a keyword that has low to medium competition, and yet with adequate search volume. Use the Keyword Planner tool in Google to find out what keywords meet these criteria.

3. There could be scheduling errors

Like all advertising platforms, you have the option to schedule when your ads will run. In Google, you can choose which days of the week and time of day the system could run your ads. If your calendar has a mistake, your ads are not going to run. 

To find out if this is the problem, head on to your Ad Schedule and review it. You will see from this area if your ads are scheduled properly per location. You need to check if your parameters are still being met. 

For example, if you set your ads to run between January and March, and you are wondering why your ads are not showing in April, then the cause of the problem is pretty much obvious. 

This can happen to anyone, especially so if you are advertising globally and you set your ads to run at different intervals per region.

It is also possible that in the specific region you selected, there is not much demand for the keyword you selected from that region and the time you selected.

For example, if your keyword is “Christmas lanterns,” and you are running the ad in April, you cannot expect to have enough search volume for that ad.

4. Your ad copy needs improvement 

Ad copy is one of the things that Google looks at to see how efficient and effective an ad is going to be. Google, naturally, wants to show ads that a user is likely to click—and this will happen if the ad copy is written well. 

For example, you have to incorporate your chosen keyword into your ad copy. There is no going around this. If you do not do this, Google has no idea as to what you are really selling, much less tell its systems how to identify the right person to show your ad.

Here are some tips on how you can optimize your ad copy: 

  • Use the right keywords
  • Use just enough characters in your headline
  • Use the right number of characters in your text
  • Use several variations of your images or videos

If you do not meet these criteria, the Google algorithm has no way to compare your ads with your competitors. And because of that, your ads will not show. The great thing about this is that even before you launch your ads, Google will give you a warning that these conditions are not met. 

The thing is that some advertisers do not pay attention to these requirements. They create an ad, set the timeline and budgets, and then think that the ads will run. Make sure you review all the sections of your ad and that no error is identified. 

5. Your ad violated something

Google has an ad policy. You have to read what is allowed and what is not. Sure, your ad may get approved at first, and it will slip through the cracks, and so it runs.

However, people can report it, or a human being may have seen it and realizes that there is a violation. If this happens, your ad will stop running. 

Sometimes, the entire campaign may be removed from your account. There are many reasons why Google may do this, but the most important thing you need to know is that you violated something.   

To find out, go to your Change History, and there you will see the status of the ad and if there is a warning associated with it. 

What are the most common violations? 

Here is quick list of what you should avoid: 

  • Counterfeit goods
  • Dangerous products or services
  • Enabling dishonest behavior
  • Inappropriate content, like content about racism and bullying

So, how do you fix this problem? 

The only way to fix it is to create a new ad. This time, make sure you read the advertising policies and do not violate any of them. 

6. Your landing page is not relevant

Gone are the days when you can advertise a product, only to lead a customer to a pornographic site. Google has grown very smart at detecting this deception over the last two decades, and you can no longer use its platform to mislead people. 

This problem occurs if you are advertising a product or a service, and yet your landing page has no relationship to what you are advertising. 

Google does not only look at the quality of your ad copy, but it also looks at your intent. If the ad is leading people to a site that has no relevance with the ad, they will begin hating Google. 

And if people stop using Google, Google will have no business. This is why Google is bent on driving and ensuring relevance. If you are selling shoes, then your landing page must sell shoes. If not, Google will not run your ads. 

Sometimes, you can get past Google’s gatekeeping mechanism. However, it is only a matter of time before Google will catch up with you.  

7. You have a low click-through rate

CTR or click-through rate is an indication of how good your ad copy is. If a person clicks your ad, it just goes to show that it is good enough that people are bothering to check out what it is about. 

How do you calculate CTR? 

CTR is a percentage. It is equal to the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions multiplied by 100. 

Let say that your ad has 100 impressions, and it generated only one click. Your CTR is 1 / 100 = 0.01 x 100 = 1%.

A low CTR is bad. It pretty much tells Google that your ad is not appealing. But if your CTR is high, it then means that your ad is interesting. 

Why is this important to Google? 

You see, advertisers bid per click. If a person clicks an ad, the advertiser pays for that click. What this means is that Google is earning more money from clicks than from impressions. 

As such, Google will prioritize showing ads that are getting more clicks than those that do not. 

How do you fix this? 

What you have to do is to ensure that your ad copy and art are both attractive. Your goal is to convince a person to click your ad. To get to this goal, you have to take a look at a lot of things, including your audience, time of advertising, demographic, geography, and more. 

The best thing that you can do is to do split tests. You have to run several versions of your ad, and then see which one is getting more clicks. Once you have identified the components that deliver a high CTR, use them all together in one ad. 

Steps to Optimize Your Google Ads

Nobody wants his ads to stop. But how can you avoid this? The one thing you should do is to optimize your Google ads before you even launch it for publication.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your Google ads: 

1. Avoid Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are not exactly keywords that have bad words or negative meaning. Rather, they are keywords where you do not want your ad to appear beside the ads of similar products and niches. 

For example, let us say that you are selling power tools like a router. It is likely that you want to use the word “router.” This is a negative keyword because that word can also mean a router for the internet. As such, you want to stay away from using that single word only.

Still, you have to use that word, but you have to use it in long-tail keywords such as ¼-inch Makita Router or ½-inch Bosch Plunger Router.  

2. Target Manageable Locations

One mistake that advertisers do is that they advertise to the whole world just because they can. This is not just ineffective, but it is also costly.

To optimize your Google ads, you have to target a specific location. If possible, drill-down per state or even per county. It is not a good idea to target the entire United States.

Expert advertisers do not do this. What they do is they select specific areas, study the demand in that area, and then they use the right keywords and ad copy for that market. 

3. Split test all the time

You must not underestimate the power of split testing. You will be surprised that the two same ads, with only a background color variation, will result in different performances. 

Split testing should be a staple of your activities if you are running ads on Google. It is difficult, I know, but it works. 

What I suggest is that you start with splitting your ad between men and women. This way, you will see who responds better to your offering. Next, split test between age demographics. You will see how different age groups respond to your ad. 

Once you have enough data, you can start mixing and matching ads that have great results. For example, you can run the ad targeting men only in the age bracket of 35 to 50, provided that in your initial split tests, it was men in that age group who responded the most. 

4. Use keywords in your ad copy

Use your keywords in different areas of your ad. Your keyword is what attracts the right audience. Do not just use keywords in the headline, use them everywhere, but do not stuff keywords, either. 

Here are the areas that I recommend:

  • Headline – this is the title of the ad
  • Description or ad copy – use the keyword just twice in the ad copy. If possible, use it at the start of the ad copy and at the end. This strategy reinforces to the reader that you have what he is interested in. 
  • Video or image – use the keyword of your product or service either as text or audio. This makes it clear to the reader that your offer is an exact match with what he is looking for. 

As you can see, the ad copy must have the right keywords in the right places to make it effective. Obviously, you have to use the right keywords. If you are servicing local areas, you may want to use the “near me” keyword. 

For example, let us say that you are operating a power tool shop in San Diego. What you want here is to create an ad with the keyword “power tools near me.” Then, target San Diego only as the location where the ad will be shown. 

Naturally, if somebody from San Diego goes to Google and types “power tools near me,” Google is going to show your ad to that person. 

And if your headline and ad copy have the keywords “power tools” and “San Diego,” that customer is going to click on your ad.

Optimizing your Google ad is not an easy thing. You have to do a lot of research as far as keywords are concerned, plus you have to do split tests. If your ads are not showing, it just goes to show that you violated something, or Google is not going to earn a lot of money from you as an advertiser.  

Summary: reasons your Adwords are not showing

There are many potential culprits as to why reasons your Adwords are not showing. Sadly, there is no easy answer to this. You have to make several experiments to be able to identify what the problem is. On some occasions, Google will not approve your ad at all. 

In this case, you will immediately know why. Maybe your budget is too small for your desired audience, or maybe your ad violated a policy. In any case, it is easier to fix an ad that was not approved than to fix something that is already rolling. 

Be patient. Make simple tweaks to your ads, run them again, and see what changes happen. If you do this, you will be able to identify what the root cause is and then fix it.  

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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