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Where Are My Google Ads?

By Tony Palazzo | May 01, 2014

Whether you are managing your Google AdWords campaign on your own or are using an agency you’ve definitely said to yourself at one point “Where are my Google ads?!” It can be very frustrating to be paying money to an agency or directly to Google yet not see your ads appear when you type in an obvious search query you should be showing for. Before you sit on hold with Google for 3 hours or call up your agency rep, know that there are plenty of reasons why this could be happening - and they aren’t all bad!

You hit your daily budget.

For those of you that don’t know AdWords very well: it works off of a daily budget. If you are managing AdWords yourself then (hopefully) you know this already. If you work with an agency that charges you a flat monthly rate hopefully they informed you of this as well. Regardless of who does the managing, all AdWords campaigns work off a daily budget. We define budgets for our clients by the month and then divide by 30.4 days to get our average daily budget. If you work with a “less than transparent” agency then they may not have told you this important piece of information!

When a daily budget is reached then your ads will pause until midnight. You reach that daily budget by accumulating enough clicks (each with their own cost). So, if you have a daily budget of $20, once you get that 20th click at $1.00/ea your ads stop showing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It means that you got as many visitors to your site as you were willing to pay for.

You searched too many times.

Google is smart. Sometimes a little too smart and this could be why you are not seeing your ads. If you operate a local vintage clothing store then it is normal for you to think you should be showing when someone types in [city] vintage clothes”, right? Yes, right. So you type that in and see your ad. And you are pumped! Then the narcissist in you says “I want to see myself again” so you proceed to Google that query again. And there you are. And you are happy and feel self-fulfilled. 20 minutes goes by and no customers have come in so you automatically assume that it must be because your ad isn’t showing. You search – and it’s gone! And now you are pissed! THAT’s why no one is coming in my store!

Actually, what has happened is that Google has said to themselves “okay, this person at this computer wants vintage clothes in [city] so let’s give it to them.” Then they say to themselves “the same person is searching, let’s give it to them again to make sure they saw it.” But on your next search they huddle up and decide that you obviously don’t care for the ad they showed you because you haven’t done anything with it. Now they say “let’s show them some new ads and see if that’s what they want.” This doesn’t mean that your ad is hiding from everyone – just you!

We recommend our clients use the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool if they want to see their ad live. This can help prevent this from happening.

You have been excluded.

One of the many types of targeting done on AdWords (and the most popular) is geographic targeting. There are many reasons for using geo-targeting such as specific service areas or high conversion areas. If you own an online store that doesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii then your AdWords manager or agency should be excluding this area. If you are traveling to Hawaii and search for one of your keywords then you won’t see your ad.

Another one I’ve seen is that you (or one of your competitors) are click happy. A competitor may not realize that click-fraud hurts everyone including themselves and they click a bunch on your ad without buying anything. Or you may always want to “just check” that your ad still goes to your website. Again, many clicks, no conversions. Your agency should be excluding the specific geo areas (or specific IP addresses) where this occurring and if you happen to be in that area then you may not see your ad.

You are searching the wrong thing.

I have worked with plenty of business owners that say something like ‘I sell jewelry so I should be showing whenever someone types in “diamonds”’. A very common one comes from vacation rental property managers who believe that since they have vacation rentals in [city] then they should show whenever someone just types in just the name of that city. No! These are not buying queries! These are research queries and are totally different! The whole point of Google AdWords is being in front of the right person at the right place at the right time. This means that when someone is just starting their research for a vacation spot like Maui they are not ready to book yet. Over the course of a few weeks their searches may go like this:

  1. Maui
  2. Maui pictures
  3. Maui weather
  4. Maui flights
  5. Things to do in Maui
  6. Where can I hike in Maui
  7. Maui vacation rentals
  8. Best city to stay in Maui
  9. Ka'anapali weather
  10. Ka'anapali vacation rentals <= This is where we get in front of them!

If this was never explained to you then you may do a search for something very broad and not see your ad - and wonder to yourself "Where is my Google ad?!" Another possibility is that we have found that the search query “Ka’anapali vacation condos” converts much more frequently than does “ka’anapali vacation rentals” and would have decreased bids for the latter, therefore making it harder to see your ad.

You forgot you installed ad blockers.

Ad blockers are still not very common but at some point you may have added an ad blocker extension to your browser such as Chrome AdBlock. When you install plugins like this it prevents many display ads and text ads from loading on the web pages you visit. You will still see ads that are hard-coded into sites but ads that are part of networks, such as the Google Display Network and Google Search Network, will not show. In order to see your Google AdWords ads you will need to use the same tool I mentioned earlier (Ad Preview Tool).

And the final reason is...

The final reason you might not be seeing your ads, frankly, is that your AdWords manager may not know what they are doing. Most companies that manage AdWords in-house are missing opportunities by having incorrect targeting, no bid strategy or wasting money on bad keywords (making them hit their daily budget faster).

We are always here to help so if you want us to take a quick look at your current AdWords account feel free to contact us by scheduling a review!

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Tony Palazzo

Tony has been with Logical Position since 2010 and manages operations and marketing. He's a tech nerd that's addicted to Photoshop, Red Bull, social media, Amazon, and Survivorman.
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