11 reasons why Google ads are not showing on Google Search


10 minutes


Have you set up ads in Google Ads, but even after a few days have not received any impressions or clicks on your ads? There is a risk that they were not even shown to the audience. But don’t panic: there is probably a very logical explanation for why your ads are not showing in Google. And fixing the problem might not be that difficult!

So why aren’t ads showing on Google Search? Let’s take a look at the reasons.

Note. If you test your ad serving on a search engine, you may not see it due to targeting settings and other reasons.

Ad is not approved

It usually takes 1 day to moderate Google ads. If one day has not passed since the moment of creation and submission for moderation, most likely the ad is still being considered – do not worry. But if the day has passed, and there is still no result, it was probably rejected and is not shown.

Google Ads solution:

If your ad is pending, there is nothing you can do but wait.

If it was rejected, then the specific reason will be indicated in the “Status” column.

Campaign paused

Ads, groups, or campaigns in Google Ads may be paused by the creator; and they may also have start and end dates – and they have already passed. This could be the reason why ads are not showing on Google Search.

Google Ads solution:

To see the status of Google Ads campaigns if ads are not showing, note the colored bullets in front of the campaign name in the interface.

Colored markers in front of the campaign name

You can also view all changes made to your account in the Change History. Filter the list by “Status” to see if all of your campaigns are active. Make sure you have View All Campaigns selected to see all paused campaigns.

Low bids in Google Ads

If your keyword bids are too low compared to your competitors’ bids, this can also cause a lack of impressions on Google. Also, an ad can be shown, but on the second and next pages, which the audience often does not reach, then the ad will receive zero impressions.

Google Ads solution:

Go to the Keywords tab in your Google Ads account – Bid Simulator section – and see if the impact of your bid increases the number of impressions. Then, increase your first page bids for that keyword to see if impressions increase.

Bet simulator

It is not always possible to watch the simulator, for example, if within 7 days the keyword was limited in the budget, it is not available. But if the keyword does not have enough ranking or bid, the system always writes the bid that needs to be set to be shown on the first page.

Bid to be shown on the first page

Exceeding your daily budget

Budget-constrained status means that there is not enough budget to serve your ad for all queries that match our keywords. This is because Google Ads tries to spread the budget throughout the day, which may result in ads not showing every time a user enters a matching search term.

It could also be that your keyword bid is higher than your budget. But more often, in our experience, ads on Google do not receive impressions due to the high frequency of the term with a low budget, which will cause the system to try to stretch impressions volume for the whole day.

Google Ads solution:

One way to get impressions for your Google ad is to lower your bids and / or increase your daily budget so that your bid / budget ratio isn’t too high. You can also set up a schedule to limit the hours when your ads are shown and target the times when your audience places more orders to filter out non-conversion clicks.

Exceeding your daily budget

Negative keyword bidding

Negative keywords allow you to filter out non-targeted traffic and improve the conversion rate, but if they are added to the list of targeting keywords, the system will not show ads for them. This can happen if you mistakenly add the same wording to the list of negative keywords and keywords, or if the list of negative keywords is applied at the campaign level, while these words are indicated in the group’s keywords, for example. In Google Ads, negative keywords take precedence over keywords. So this could be the reason for the lack of impressions for keywords in Google Ads.

Google Ads solution:

Review the list of negative keywords to make sure you haven’t added wording that would prevent your keywords from showing up. Also check the use of negative lists at different levels: account, campaign, group.

List of negative keywords

If your account has a negative keyword conflict, you can see this in the recommendations.

Negative keyword conflict

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Incorrect device bid adjustments

If your bids are incorrect across devices, your ads may not appear. For example, if you want to display ads on the desktop and a 100% negative bid adjustment is applied to it, Google will not display ads. Also, ads may not be shown on Search if your bid adjustments are too low.

Google Ads solution:

Make sure device bid adjustments are not set to -100%, or experiment with higher bids until your ad appears.

Bid Adjustment

Low search volume

If you see a “Low search volume” status, you are probably narrowly targeting very specific or long keywords that few users use. Yes, usually long keywords can drive high intent traffic, but they might just as well drive no impressions at all. So this is a very real reason why search ads are not getting impressions in Google.

Google Ads solution:

Make sure your keywords have few search queries, in the “Keyword” section – the “Status” column. If “Low search volume” is displayed, you can click to see more information about whether your ad is showing and what the problem is.

Низкий объем поисковых запросов

If a low keyword frequency is the problem, try using broader queries or a broader match type to reach more relevant searches.

Rigid ad display schedule

The ad serving schedule tells Google on which days and hours to run your ads. Without setting a schedule in Google Ads, ads will appear by default on all days of the week and at any time of the day.

The schedule helps to effectively allocate the budget and show ads only during the hours of customer activity and / or business hours. If your account has a schedule and ads are not shown in Google, it might be too restrictive. For example, if the schedule allows displaying for only several hours a day and the audience does not search for your keywords during this time period. Then the ad does not gain enough search volume and may be suspended by Google.

Google Ads solution:

Click the Show Schedule tab and check the time frame. To find out when your audience is most active in search, you need to analyze your target audience.

Target audience information
Target audience information

Irrelevant landing page

Google ranks ads based on their relevance to the user’s target keyword as well as the relevance of the landing page. If the landing page is not optimized and is not relevant to your target audience, your ad rank will suffer.

Google Ads solution:

Pay attention to how well the ad matches the search query, as well as how well the post-click page (text and message) matches the ad. The more logical the connection between advertising and landing page, the better the user’s expectations are met when switching from search to the website – and the higher the ad ranking.

Too narrow audience targeting

Targeting audiences are great for reaching specific user groups: by interests, intent, and more. However, to run ads, the audience must reach the minimum number: 100+ users in the last 30 days for Display Network or 1,000+ for Search. If the audience is smaller, Google Ads will allow you to set up targeting, but ads will not appear on Google Search.

Google Ads solution:

Either wait for your list to grow on its own, or upload additional emails to make the list comply with Google Ads guidelines. You can also set up Observation (instead of Targeting) to reach a wider audience.

Observation (instead of Targeting)

Incorrect location targeting

Geotargeting is set at the campaign level and allows you to select regions to show (or not show) your ads. But when we audit client accounts at Penguin-team PPC agency, we often encounter overly narrow targeting, excluding location instead of inclusion, or too low bid adjustments for targeted locations.

Google Ads solution:

To check your location targeting settings in Google Ads, go to the Settings tab in your campaign – Locations section.

geo-targeting settings in Google Ads

After analysis, you can either expand your targeting or change the adjustments to make your ads appear to a relevant audience.

You can delegate this task to the Penguin-team specialists: we will check all the settings and find the best solution so that you get targeted results from your PPC advertising on Google.

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