Cindy He

by Cindy He | PPC Analysis

If you’re curious about how your ads look online for a particular keyword, your first instinct might be to type that keyword into the Google search bar. Sometimes, however, you might find that your ad isn’t showing when you type a specific query into Google. Assuming you are actually bidding on the term, here is a quick checklist you can go through to determine why your ad isn’t showing.

Pink checks on a blank checklist

Before you start making massive changes, make sure one of these settings isn’t stopping your ad first. Image via Pixabay.

Check Campaign Settings

To begin, we recommend starting with the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool that’s located under the Tools tab in AdWords. You can access that tool from this link If you are logged into your AdWords Account.  The Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool can answer a number of questions, but sometimes it’s necessary to dig deeper. In those cases, the next place to look is your campaign settings. These are also the easiest areas you can adjust, if needed.

Geo Targeting: First, check the region that you are targeting. Is the location you are searching from outside of that range? If so, then your ads won’t show.

Day-Parting: Are you bidding on all hours of the day and all days of the week? Check to make sure that the time of day you performed your search matches the hours and days you have chosen to show your ads.

Device: Are you bidding on all device types, or do you have bid modifiers? Depending on which device you are searching on, and how significant your bid modifiers are, your keyword just might not have a high enough ad rank to win the search auction.

Campaign Budget: Are any of your campaigns limited by budget? If so, then it’s very likely that when you performed the search on Google, that campaign may have been already depleted for the day. If this query is a highly qualified term, then you can either raise the budget cap or reduce bids overall for that campaign. That way, all keywords have an opportunity to enter auctions throughout the entire day.

Ad Delivery: This is a common setting that many don’t pay much attention to. Most campaigns are set to serve ads evenly throughout the day, to ensure you don’t exhaust your budgets by mid-morning. If your campaign is set to serve evenly, then your ads actually will not show for every query.

The alternative is accelerated ad delivery, which means your ad will show for every query. For this, however, you will need to be prepared with larger campaign budgets.

Check Ad & Keyword Status

If the keywords are newly added, then chances are your ads may still be pending AdWords approval. Most ads are reviewed within one business day. You can check this under the “Status” column in the AdWords interface.

It may also be helpful to take a quick peek at the keyword status to ensure that the keyword itself complies with AdWords Policy. Oftentimes, ads might not show for certain keywords due to low search volume or low quality score.

Negative Keywords

Another, albeit more uncommon, possibility is if you have a negative keyword in the account that is blocking the desired traffic. Google will alert you about these keyword conflicts under the account notifications section in AdWords. Simply run through the conflict list and remove the negative keyword, and you should be good to go.

The common approach to figuring out whether your ad is serving is to type various queries into Google. However, if you search for the same query enough times on Google, it could actually lower your CTR and your quality score, which reduces the amount of times Google shows your ads to actual customers. To avoid this, the most methodical approach to check your ads and keywords is to look in your AdWords account itself.