Why don't I see my Google Ads when I search?
You’ve got your keywords researched, budgets set, billing info entered, your campaigns set to active, and then you go to Google to test your ads and…. Nothing. Sound familiar?
If you’ve got an ad campaign up, chances are you’ve spent some time searching for it and have had the thought “if I can’t see it, is anyone?!”
We hear this question fairly frequently, but with good reason — sometimes, it's designed that way! Your inability to see your own ads may be a signifier that you've set them up exactly right, to reach people in a specific area or industry, or with specific interests or awareness levels.
Below we break down five of the most common reasons that you’re not seeing your Google Ads, and how to identify whether there's a piece that needs to change, or whether they're working exactly as they should.
Location and Targeting
Ok, I know…. that’s two reasons, but they’re related so closely to each other that I can’t talk about one without the other. Oftentimes, when a thoughtful and thorough ad strategy is put together, the targeting can aim pretty specifically at your demographic audience, which you may or may not be a part of.
Dayparting, zip code targeting, radius targeting, interests, life events, previous searches, remarketing - the list goes on! Good marketers use a custom combination of targeting to not only reach the target audience we're seeking but the section of that audience that is most likely to convert.
If you’re not seeing your ads, get to know how you’re targeting. Here are some steps you can take to be sure your device is aligned with the ad target:
- Check that your device is in the geographic area being reached (with location services enabled)
- Be sure you're checking for your ad during the dayparts that are active
- Are there key pieces of your web presence that specifically fit into the targeted group? If not, this may be the reason your ads aren't showing up!
All of these are good signs though that your ads are doing exactly what they were designed to do. If you're a twenty-something female marketing coordinator trying to track down ads that are designed to target 65+ men outside of standard business hours, it makes perfect sense that you're not easily able to find your own ads.
Are you searching your keywords and seeing competitors? Chances are the competition is high for those keywords, and you could be bidding too low. Or, this could be a signifier that your ads are of lower quality than your competitors and aren’t being favored by Google.
At the risk of a *spoiler alert* for #5, it’s important to understand all of the things that give your ad a good Quality Score.
The ad copy meeting the searcher’s intent, the landing page, the bounce rate, the overall effectiveness of the ad - these all contribute to the Quality Score of your ad.
If your competition is bidding similar to you, but is showing above your ads, chances are there’s a reason.
Take a few minutes to understand what the competition is offering. These are all reasons their ad could be outperforming yours:
- Is their offer page more appealing?
- Is their ad copy action-based and click-friendly?
- Do they have rich snippets included?
If you’re searching your terms frequently, each time you click your own ad, it will cost you! However, by not clicking on your ad, or by choosing a competitor's ad, you’re signaling as a user that your ad isn’t as relevant as theirs! It’s a slippery slope, so avoid daily searches! Let the ad run its course, then examine its performance to understand what can be improved to better target in your next ad.
Depleted Daily/Lifetime Budget
If you’re working with a smaller budget, it’s possible that your daily cap for your budget is used up early in the day. For competitive keywords that are searched frequently, a $50/day budget at $4/click will only get you 12 clicks. There’s a bit of wiggle room there; Google can spend up to 30% more than your daily budget each day, but won’t ever spend more than your monthly budget. Once that cap has been reached, it will pause until the next day.
By that logic, if you’ve capped your ad spend per day, and are searching later in the day, chances are your budget has been maxed. You can always remove or raise the cap if you’re worried that your potential customers aren’t seeing it. Those changes can be implemented at a moment's notice.
If you're running a monthly lifetime budget, like for video ads, and your keywords are searched multiple times at the beginning of the month, your ads won’t show in paid results towards the latter part of the month. That’s why it’s important to monitor your clicks, click-throughs, and search volume regularly and make adjustments to maximize your spend wisely.
Too-Low Search Volume
If you’re targeting super niche keywords that don’t receive a lot of organic traffic, it’s possible that Google will rarely show your ad - the competition there doesn’t make much sense. If this is happening to you, take a look at your keywords. Look for broader terms, or look to answer the searcher’s intent.
For example, let’s say you’re selling gunite pools. You know the benefits of them, and know that people will be interested once they know more about them and their advantages over traditional fiberglass pools. However, search volume in your area is pretty low - people just aren’t searching for that specific product with the intent to purchase right away. Because of that, search volume is low, and Google may not prefer to show your ad at all. This causes limited ad spend, and limited impressions on your ads - meaning fewer leads for you!
However, if we take a look at why people might want a gunite pool, we know that they install into existing landscapes well, provide a beautiful solution and custom looks and that those searching for information about pools are likely searching for companies with great reputations who do installations. By broadening the term ‘gunite pool’ out to include things like ‘Memphis pools’, ‘pool installation’, ‘pool builders in Memphis’, we’re able to reach people who are looking for experts like you to tell them the benefits of our specific niche product.
This can be replicated for most industries, organizations, and widgets. Try to expand a bit broader, and look at the value that your audience is looking for. Then, use your ad copy to wow them and convince them you’re the solution.
Bad Ad Copy
That brings us to our next reason your ads may be underperforming: poor copy.
When we talk about ad copy, though, we can't just consider whether the copy reads well and sounds nice. Your ads must be relevant to your searcher - that is, they should include the keyword that was searched, should include a value proposition, and outshine your competition. Sounds easy, right?
Great ad copy is universal. Whether it’s a tagline used on a billboard or a one-liner that is used in a PPC ad, having an attention-grabbing headline that is relevant to the searcher, and builds trust that when they click your ad they’ll get the answer they want is paramount to your ads’ performance. Non-optimized content that is copy and pasted on all of your ads will lead to low Quality Scores, and will likely be glanced over when shown, if shown at all.
For Google Ads, create ad groups that are close in relevance, and create as many ad groups as you need to keep them separate. This way, you can create ad copy that is relevant for your whole ad group. You can hit several keywords with only a few ad variations as long as they are relevant.
(At last count, I’ve said the word ‘relevant' 8, er, 9 times now. See a key theme?)
As an example, imagine you’re marketing a fitness center that offers a family-friendly pool, unlimited tanning, personal training, group classes, and state-of-the-art workout facilities. If a searcher were looking for a group class schedule, and your ad copy pointed out the new equipment or the unlimited tanning, it’s not relevant to what they’re looking for. If we separate our ad groups into categories, we can still use one budget for the month, but we can ensure we’re setting up keywords specifically to the type of results that are needed.
By segmenting into ad groups, we can make sure we’re hitting our audience with relevance. If someone is looking for Zumba, receiving ads on a new Hip Hop Dance Group Class is much better targeting than showing ads that touch on other highlights of your center.
Let's Talk PPC
If all of this is sounding daunting, you're not alone. Solid ad strategy isn't something that can be learned overnight. A complete PPC strategy requires someone with an eagle-eye for the details and ideas, and experience to make optimization edits required to keep your ads performing month after month. Not only do search trends change throughout the year, but intent changes based on industry and season. Holidays, for example, bring more searches for physical products than ever before, and before you know it, fitness centers (like mentioned above) will be in high competition for the Resolution seekers who are beginning their search for better health.
What are the trends saying in your industry? We can help! As a Google Partner, we have access to research, trend forecasting, and more for many industries, and have a team of PPC, search and display, and ad copy experts that focus on ads each and every day. Let us help you put together a strategy that works for you, so you can focus on treating your new audiences to the best brand experience possible.
Let's get your ads seen by the masses.