Why aren’t my search ads showing?

1. Limited budget: Your ad budget may not be large enough to capture 100% of the daily search volume.

TIP: Review the average cost per click of the keywords you’re working with, how often the keyword is searched, and external factors impacting the price, like seasonality or the competitive market, to make sure there are enough funds available to reach everyone searching.

2. Depleted daily budget: Once you’ve exhausted your daily budget, your ads stop showing for the day.

TIP: Decide how many clicks per day you want to achieve and adjust your budget accordingly based on your current average cost per click.

3. Day part splitting: You may be searching outside of the hours or days set in your ad schedule.

TIP: Research the hours and days when your audience is searching most to ensure your ad schedule matches typical user behaviors.

4. Low search volume: Search engines won’t show ads on every search if the keyword’s interest volume is low.

TIP: Make sure you aren’t targeting too specific, niche, or long-tail keywords that don’t drive high search volume. Also, add in broader keywords or phrase match types to serve your ads in a wider range of searches. And remember to use consumer-friendly phrases rather than corporate jargon.

5. Low Quality Score (QS): If your keyword’s QS or ad rank is low, your ads will not show in 100% of the daily search volume.

TIP: Take a look at your keywords, ads, and landing pages to ensure they all naturally relate to each other. Making the user experience seamless will help increase your ad relevance and QS.

6. Too narrow geotargeting: Geotargeting a small area can limit the number of users who search for your keywords.

TIP: Expand your targeting to include a larger radius around a location or include zip codes or cities close by to tap into a larger pool of users who are already searching for you.

7. Ad review in process: The ad approval process for most search engines can take a couple business days, so you won’t see your ads serve until that process is complete.

TIP: If it’s only been one business day since you’ve created your ad, there’s no action you need to take. You can check the status of your ad approvals within the search engine’s ad platform.

8. Ad not approved: Your ad text may not meet the search engine’s requirements.

TIP: If your ad is rejected, check with the search engine to get more detail on their policies to determine why it failed.

9. Optimizations geared toward conversions: If you are optimizing toward website conversions, Google’s algorithm may decide that you don’t fit the prime target audience and are not a valuable impression to pursue. If your online activity doesn’t indicate you’re likely to convert, Google will use that data and potentially take you out of the audience to serve.


No matter what the problem is, don’t overreact if your ad isn’t showing up. Remember that search results are custom for every user and keyword combination. And you can troubleshoot these possible problems.

Four ways to protect your paid search campaign

There are a variety of external forces that can impact your paid search campaign, but a proactive partner like Goodway Group is always thinking ahead to troubleshoot and resolve problems before they start. They recommend four things you can do to protect your campaign and help deliver the most value from your media dollars:

    1. Use an ad preview tool: Many search engines provide a tool to simulate the search results page that would appear for your targeted keywords, location, device type, and language. Try it out prior to launching your campaign to find out if your ad will or won’t make the cut.
    2. Don’t Google your brand name: Searching for your own ads can impact auction bidding thresholds and drive up your cost-per-click rate. Plus, if you keep searching for your ad and don’t click on it too many times in a row, search engine algorithms will assume it’s not relevant and potentially lower your QS.
    3. Don’t click on your ads: Never click on your own ad. Clicking on your own ad will cost you money that could be spent on converting another user.
    4. Check your website’s health: Make sure your website doesn’t have any broken pages or 404 errors. Alert your advertising partners immediately if you experience issues or must change landing page URLs. Also, load time is very important, especially on mobile devices, when search engines evaluate your site’s user experience QS.