One of the most questions we hear is “Why can’t I see my Google ads?” It’s understandable. A client new to or unfamiliar with AdWords with a few minutes to spare thinks “Why not have a look and see how to my ads are doing?” More often than not this leads to frustration and lost productivity. No matter how many times you try, your ads won’t appear. To make matters worse, your competitor’s ads probably will.
So what’s going on?
The simplest and most likely reason is budget. If your budget is $20 per day and your average cost per click (CPC) is $2.00, your campaign has a potential 10 clicks a day. If you’ve hit that limit within a 24-hour periodm, your ads stop showing.
Another issue relates to the ratio of daily budget to available impressions. If your campaign is set to standard delivery, Google’s ad server tries to spread your impressions across the whole day by staggering when they show. So you may or may not see your ad depending on Google’s internal calculations.
Google’s ad server is designed to serve up ads that are as relevant as possible. If you’ve been served ads at a prior time, but didn’t clicked on them (they cost money, right?), the ad server will “learn” that you are not interested in these ads. Because you both use common keywords, it will likely serve up your competitor’s ads instead. FYI: This is a good thing. Multiple ad impressions without clicks can lead to a lower click through rate (CTR), which leads to reduced quality score, higher CPC and lower ad rank.
Another factor is IP address. AdWords location targeting is based on IP addresses and you can be sure that Google knows yours! Once the ad server determines you spend a lot of time on the domain your ads are targeted to, you are considered unlikely to click. As a result, your ad is determined to be irrelevant to your search.
Beyond this, there are other factors related to campaign settings, including user location, ad scheduling, approval status etc., but the real question at this point becomes “So how do I know my Google ads are actually showing?”
Easy. Log into your AdWords account and navigate to the keyword list. Under the status column there’s a dialogue box. Hover over this and click on “Ad Preview and Diagnosis.” This allows you to see a snapshot of how your ad would look for that particular keyword at that particular moment. Better yet, no actual impression is reported – so no negative impact on your campaign.
Alternatively, at Insight we provide all our PPC clients with a 20+ page comprehensive monthly report outlining your campaign results in glorious detail. So there’s that!