In this article, we’ll walk you through the 7 possible reasons why your ads aren’t showing and break down what you can do to solve them. Make sure to use the checklist below to get the best results from your listing and display ads. Later in the article, we will also introduce the “Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool” which is a feature every advertiser should be using.
7 Common Causes and Solutions for Google Ads Not Showing
First, we’ll be introducing the 7 most common causes and solutions for Google Ads not showing, including display ads and listing ads (search-linked ads).
The first thing you want to check when you can't see your Google ads is whether you have set a budget limit for your campaign. You can set a daily budget for your Google ads campaign, but take note that once you’ve reached your limit, your ads will not be displayed. In this case, you can easily check the status of that particular campaign as it will display a "Limited by budget" warning.
If budget limitations were the cause for your ads to stop displaying, your daily budget is most likely too low and you need to raise it. A lower budget is not always better, so set an appropriate daily budget while also considering the cost-effectiveness of the ad campaign.
No remaining balance
In addition to budget limitations, there are also cases where there is no balance left to pay for your Google ads campaign. Typically, you would need to deposit an ad budget before your ads can be served. Once the balance runs out, the ad delivery will stop with an error message stating that the Google ads account balance has depleted at the top of the ad dashboard screen.
Once you have deposited your ad budget, your ad will be delivered again. You can choose between manual payment such as bank transfer and automatic payment by credit card, but we recommended opting for an automatic payment option to avoid suspension of delivery due to forgotten payment.
Delivery status is paused
It is also possible that your ad campaign’s delivery status has been set to ‘pause’ in the first place. Although this may be a very simple cause, it is possible that there are multiple campaigns running at the same time or several people operating the dashboard screen causing this problem.
If you change the status from ‘pause’ to ‘enable’, the delivery will be resumed again. Note, however, that you must enable delivery to all levels of the Google ads account structure from "Campaign," "Ad Group," "Keyword," and "Ad" for your ad to run properly.
The delivery date is a past date
This is a common ad schedule mistake that tends to happen when restarting a campaign that was delivered in the past but has already elapsed.
This can be resolved by updating the end date setting. Also note that, as with the end date, if the ad schedule delivery start date is set to a date in the future, the campaign will not be delivered.
Cannot pass Google’s ad review process
In some cases, your ad may have not passed Google’s review process; Google has established an ad policy to enhance user safety and convenience, and will not distribute ads that are deemed harmful to users. If the status column of your ad is "under review," it means that it is still under review, and with disapproved ads, it means that your ad content failed Google’s review and has been rejected for some reason.
If your ad status happens to be ‘under review’, there’s no other option but to wait for the result until the review has been completed. For disapproved ads, check to see if there is any inappropriate language (violent, discriminatory, etc.) in the ad text or on the landing page of the destination. For more information on Google’s ad policy, please check Google Ads Help page here.
Extremely narrow targeting
With Google Ads, you can deliver ads by region, gender, age group, etc., but if you happen to set an extremely narrow targeting setting, there may be too few targeted users so your ads may not be displayed. Also note that if you try to see your ad yourself, you won't be able to do so unless you're part of the target audience you have set.
Review your settings again to make sure that your targeting is not too narrow. Even if you can't check the ad yourself, there won’t be a problem as long as your targeting settings are correct and the number of impressions for the ad is being counted.
Remarketing list too small
When using remarketing ads, ads cannot be delivered if the size of the remarketing list (list of users who have visited your site in the past) is too small. According to Google Ads Help, you need to have at least 100 active users in the last 30 days if you’re targeting Google Display Network.
*Google Display Network (GDN): GDN is Google’s delivery network for display ads. Advertisers are able to publish their ads on a variety of media/apps that are connected with Google by using this network.
You’ll need to make sure that you have enough users in your remarketing list by increasing the traffic to your website. Regardless if there are no problems with how you’ve set up the delivery, it’s good to review your ads for a couple of days since time lags may be occurring if the ad impressions display zero. For more information about Google Ads Remarketing, we recommend reading this article.
4 additional factors to check when listing ads aren’t displaying
Next, here are four additional things to check when your listing ads (search-linked ads) are not showing up.
Low cost per bid
Since listing ads operate under an ad auction format, if the bid price for the keywords you are targeting is too low, you may lose out to the competition and not be listed on the first page. In this case, the ad status column would display a ‘below first page bid’.
Needless to say, the solution to this problem is to raise your keyword bids. Alternatively, you can opt to target similar or closely related keywords but with a lower cost per bid in the ad auction.
Keywords are rarely searched
If you specify keywords that are rarely searched for, your ads will not show up very often. If ‘low search volume’ is displayed in the ad status column, you’ll need to take a closer look at these keywords.
You’ll have to change your active keywords to ones that are expected to generate a certain amount of search traffic or keywords relevant to the user's query. You can check the search volume (the number of times a keyword is searched) of a keyword using Google Keyword Planner or other keyword search volume checker tools.
Make sure to utilize exact match or phrase match keyword in your ads, and it is also a good idea to review negative keywords you have added to your exclusion list.
Low Ad Rank
Sometimes your ad may not be displayed because of low ad rank which depends on your quality score. The quality score is an indicator that compares the quality of your ads to your competitors and is determined by the relevance of your keyword, ad copy, and landing pages. If the quality score is low, the ad status column will display "rarely shown (low quality score)" and the ad will not be delivered.
In this case, you will need to improve your ad rank. In order to do this, you need to review whether the contents of your landing pages are highly relevant to the search keywords you specified and whether the ad copy is also in line with these landing pages. For more information about Quality Score, please refer to Google Ads Help here.
Searching for keywords multiple times by yourself
If you happen to be checking up on your ads multiple times by searching through the keywords that you’ve specified, there’s a chance that the ads won’t be displayed. The reason being that Google search engines might see that you aren’t clicking on the ad thus un-displaying it in your searches.
When you want to check the display status of your ads, we recommend doing so with the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool rather than the search results. The ad preview tool will not only show how your ads will be displayed on search, but it will also help prevent unnecessary impressions from happening on your ads. We’ll explain how to use the tool next.
Reviewing ad status with Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool
Google provides a tool called "Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool" to check the display status of search-linked ads accessible within your ad account.
With this tool, you can check the status of a given ad without having to search for them yourself, and deduce the reason why an ad may not be running. In addition, the ad preview tool allows you to preview ads by region or device, so you can see the results of your ads even if you don't fit the target audience you have set.
That being said, let’s take a look at how to use the tool. First, log in to your Google Ads account and click on ‘tools and settings’ on the top of the screen, then go to ‘ad preview and diagnosis’.
Next, enter the keyword you want to check, then set the region, language, device, audience, and click the search button.
Doing so, you will then see the display status of the ad below the search settings. In the ‘result’ tab on the left, you’ll be able to check which keywords are responding to your ads and why an ad may not be displaying.
While on the ‘preview’ tab on the right, you can see the actual search results. Don't forget that the negative keywords you've specified will not be shown here as well.
If the problem persists, contact Google Support
But if your ads aren't showing despite having tried every option, we recommend contacting Google. Since there is a chance that a different kind of problem may be occurring to your ad account besides the ones we’ve listed in this article, it’s always best to utilize this resource.
Plus, you can also check the Google Ads Help Community for past questions and answers about Google Ads. Although this is a community of users and not Google employees, there may be questions posted by advertisers who have the same problem as you, and you may find a solution to solve your problem, so it’s a good idea to check this as well.
In this article, we covered the possible reasons your google ads aren't showing and how to solve them.
If your ads happen to not be running, it’s always important to check what the underlying causes may be before submitting your ad to a review again. Please refer to this article and try checking for any problems in your ad settings.
Ad fraud may be causing your ad performance issues and wasting your ad budget. Check out our free trial to identify and stop ad fraud, and start seeing the campaign performance you deserve!