Why can’t I see my Google Ads?

A common question I get asked is “why can’t I see my Google ads.”

We know it can be frustrating if you can’t see your own ads.    There are several reasons for this.

Your budget is too low

Budget is often the number one reason why ads fail to show.

Let’s face it, we all have a daily budget and we all need to control costs. So to manage this, Google will show your ads based on how many clicks it believes your ad will get so it can manage your budget effectively.

If your ads were shown all the time and your ad was clicked on every time a user searched, you would soon go over your budget. So to manage this, Google shows your ads less frequently and distribute your ads based on your budget.

A good way to determine if your budget is too low is by looking at your Search impression share and also your Search Lost Impression Share (budget) inside of your Google Ads account.

It may not be immediately obvious where to find this little gem. Like all things good in Google Ads, it’s conveniently hidden away but can be used to quickly determine if your budget is too low at a keyword, adgroup or campaign level.

To find your impression share,  go to the campaigns tab, click on columns and then customise columns. By clicking on the Add Search Impr. share and Add Search Lost IS (budget) you will be able to get some insight if indeed you have a budget issue.


Bids are too low

Another reason why your ad may not show is that you are not bidding high enough for your ads to appear on the the first page of the search results.

You can diagnose this by going to the keywords tab and looking at the keywords you are bidding to see if there are any messages saying that you ad is below first page bid.

You should also click on the little speech bubble to determine if there are any issues.

Google think you are not interested

If you frequently search in Google to check your ad, then Google may personalise the results you see based on your own behaviour.  If it thinks you are not going to be interested in your own ad, it might show it less frequently.

Remember, Google’s aim is to show you the most relevant ads so if you continually search for your own ad and don’t click on then it thinks the ad is not relevant to you.

A caveat – I don’t suggest you click on your own ads – Google doesn’t recommend it anyway.

However I do recommend using the Ad Preview tool.  Using it will help easily test if your ads are showing.

To access it, go to the Tools tab at the top of your account and scroll down until you get to the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool


You will get a more realistic view if your ad is showing. It will also tell why your ads aren’t showing.

Your bidding delivery method is set to accelerated

If your delivery method in the settings area is set to “accelerated” it means your ads will show more quickly until you reach your budget. If your budget is not high enough (that old chestnut again), then you may miss traffic later in the day.

Conversely, if bidding is set to Standard then your ads will be displayed more evenly throughout the day. It’s worth revisiting your campaign settings to see what it is set up.  Look out for Delivery Method (advanced) link – it’s a little bit tucked away but easy to find if you know what to look for.

Quality score is too low

If your quality score is low, then Google may not show your ad at all.

One factor that influences your quality score is your ad copy. If you ad copy is not relevant to the keyword, then your quality score can take a hit.

Your landing page is also another factor. So it’s well worth checking that your ad copy is relevant to the keyword you are bidding on and that you are sending people to the most appropriate landing page for your ad.

Having a well structured, professionally set up AdWords campaign can go a long way to help overcome this issue.

The Keyword or Campaign is paused

Sometimes ads don’t appear because you’ve accidentally paused your campaign, adgroup or keyword.

It’s a pretty rare that this happens but it is possible so its well worth checking these are enabled. It’s also worth checking that any ads in the adgroup are enabled too.

So that about covers some of the main reasons why you might not find your ad in Google.

We know it can be frustrating when your ad doesn’t appear. We’ve found in the majority of cases, this issue can be fixed very easily.

A common way is to increase your budget but it doesn’t have to be the only way.

If your budget is really limited, then splitting out your main keyword into its own campaign and allocating an appropriate budget for that campaign could also work.

Want an experienced opinion on your Google Ads Campaigns?

Why not contact us? We are Google AdWords Partners, and have helped many businesses improve their campaigns.