10 answers to the most common question I get concerning Google PPC ads

It’s the number one question we get every month…“Why aren’t my ads showing?”

If you go to activate your account and nothing happens…no clicks, no impressions, no nothing, then chances are good that one of the suggestions below will fix your issue with your Google ads. Work your way through the list and by the end you should start to see activity on your AdWords account.

1)      Check your ad status. This may seem obvious, but a fundamental element of every campaign is whether the ad is active, paused, deleted or ineligible. Check the status column of your account, campaign and ad group settings to make sure they are set to the active setting.

2)      Confirm correct billing. If there are any issues with your billing, Google will not run your ads. Review your account billing information and confirm that your credit card number, expiration date, address, etc. is correct.

3)      Make sure your daily budget is sufficient and not maxed out for the day. For each campaign, you must specify an amount of how much you’d like to spend each day. Then the system will aim to show your ads as much as possible until your daily budget is met. If you haven’t set a dedicated daily budget for each campaign, your ad will not run. Check to make sure you’ve set your campaign daily budgets above $0 and/or you’ve not spent your entire daily budget (remember: there is a 3-hour lag in Google’s reporting data).

4)      Review your keyword bids. When your budget is used up per day, your ad stops showing up for the day. Check to see if your keyword bids are too high for your daily budget. For example, if you set your keyword max cost-per-click at $5 and your campaign daily budget is only $10, then there isn’t much to work with. If this is the case, you either need to lower your keyword bids and/or raise your daily budget.

5)      Look at your search volume. If a keyword has little to no search history on Google, the keyword will be tagged as inactive until its search traffic increases. The status “low search volume” will appear on these keywords until the keyword can start triggering enough volume for your ads to appear.

It might be that your keyword is too specific or obscure, or it was misspelled significantly. When you have a keyword that is noted as “low search volume” you have a couple of options:

  • Do nothing and keep checking to see if more people start searching on your keyword.
  • Delete the keyword and use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find related keywords with higher search volume.

6)      Find out if your ads have been disapproved. If your ad doesn’t comply with Google’s policies, you’ll be alerted through email that your ad is disapproved. In the email, you’ll receive a problem report that will show you the reason your ad was disapproved along with a link to the policy that was violated. There are a variety of reasons your ad might be disapproved. For example, you might have entered an inaccurate URL or you might have a trademark related issue. Most are fairly simple to correct.  For instance, if you entered an inaccurate display URL, all you’ll need to do is correct the URL in your ad, and then resubmit your ad for approval.

7)      Make sure your Keywords aren’t prohibited. Google AdWords reviews your campaign keywords and approves them before your ad can run. Google does not permit advertising products, websites and keywords related to and including firearms, drugs, cigarettes, pornography, hard alcohol, fireworks, etc.

If any of your ads get disapproved, you’ll get an alert in your account saying “Ads disapproved.” When this happens, Google does not run your ad. To get it up and running, find out which ad is disapproved and then edit your keyword(s).

8)      Review your negative keyword list. When you add terms as negative keywords or as keyword exclusions, your ad won’t show to people searching for those terms or visiting sites that contain those terms. Using negative keywords is a good idea as they can help you reach the most interested customers, reduce your costs, and increase your return on investment (ROI).

However, you have to carefully review your negative keyword list, especially when using a broad match. Because if you’ve added negative keywords at the campaign or ad group level that nullify your keywords within any given ad group, your ad won’t show up.

9)      Your physical location is wrong.  Sometimes an ad won’t show up because the physical location is incorrect. There are two reasons why this could be occurring. One reason could be because you’re searching from a geographical area outside where your ads are targeting.

The second reason is a bit more complicated. A common problem is trying to determine physical location from internet based information, such as Wi-Fi access points and IP addressing. These are notoriously inaccurate due to the fact that Google doesn’t really have a fast way to update locations of routers that have been moved.  So if a router was mapped in one city and the owner moves the router to another city, there can be a long delay until the mapping is updated

Be sure you are searching from a geographical location area inside where your ads are targeting. If this isn’t the case, then it could be that a router has been moved.

10)   You haven’t waited long enough.  If you’ve worked through this entire list and still aren’t seeing your ads, sometimes a bit of patience is needed. Ad text and keywords can take up to five days to approve. So sit tight and keep checking your account.

Hopefully by the time you’ve tried everything on this list, you will be off and running. However, if you have tried everything on this list and it has been more than five days, contact a Google representative at 866-2-GOOGLE to see if your ads and keywords have been approved. If they have, then you’ll need your Google Rep’s help in discovering what the problem is.

Here’s to your online success!


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