You’ve just started a new Google AdWords search campaign and you want to see your ads out in the wild. You search some keywords and don’t see your ads anywhere. Even worse, your competitors are all over the place! What gives? Don’t panic. Just because you can't see your ads doesn’t mean your ads aren’t running.
Here are some of the most common reasons why you may not see your search ads.
1. Your budget.
People perform over 3.5 billion searches every day on Google. Only a tiny fraction of those searches are going to be for your industry and in your area, but even a tiny fraction of 3.5 billion is a lot. For most small businesses targeting a metro area, they might have to spend $10,000 a month on ads if they wanted to show up for every relevant search.
When you searched, your daily budget might already have been exhausted. Even if you had budget left, by default Google will try to stretch your daily budget as long as it can. That means that you won’t show up for every search of your chosen keywords.
Does that mean you have to spend $10,000 a month in ads to be effective and grow your business? Absolutely not! Even budgets as low as $500 a month can produce results. You just have to be realistic about what your specific budget can accomplish.
2. You're not searching in the right location.
Most small businesses target their local area. In order to see your ads, you need to be searching in your target area. Sounds simple? It should be, and sometimes it’s a little more complicated.
Does your mobile device accurately know you’re in the parking lot of a grocery store or does it still think you’re at home when you were last using the internet on WiFi? Does your Internet Service Provider give you an IP address at home that indicates you live in the next town over? Are you logged into a Google account that has the wrong location?
All of these could be reasons why Google or another search engine thinks you’re in the wrong place and isn’t showing you your ads.
3. You've performed too many searches.
Google wants ads to be relevant to users. If a user sees an ad frequently and never clicks on it, Google may choose to stop showing ads to that person. This is a very common occurrence when someone is constantly searching to see if their ad is showing.
So the answer is to keep searching all the time, but click your ad once in a while? No! That will have a negative impact on your click-through-rate and Quality Score, which may ultimately raise the costs you pay every time a consumer clicks on your ad.
What should I do if I don't see my ads?
While there could be issues with your campaign that we didn’t cover (disapproved ads, inappropriate bidding, payment problems, etc.), your ads are most likely running just fine.
If you’re running your own campaign through AdWords, Google provides a tool to simulate a search and see your ad. This allows you to see how your ad may look and identify potential issues without messing up your stats.
If you’re working with a partner (preferably a Google Partner), reach out to them with your concerns. They’ll be able to show you statistics for your campaign and let you know if there are any issues.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the numbers don’t lie – if Google says your ad has been seen X number of times that means your ads are running, even if you haven’t seen them.