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When managing a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, there’s nothing more frightening than searching for your ad on Google to find that your PPC ad is missing from the paid results. It’s like getting to school without your homework or to the bar without your driver’s license. Fortunately when it comes to pay-per-click campaigns, your ad probably wasn’t lost or eaten by your dog.
If you find yourself asking, “why aren’t my PPC ads showing up?” it can be challenging to determine exactly what is causing the problem. Since there are so many settings, options, and tiny (yet crucial) details to consider in a paid ad campaign, we’re here to make it a bit easier with the top 10 reasons your pay-per-click ad isn’t showing up.
Properly Configured PPC Campaign Settings
When your ads aren’t showing up, your campaign settings should be the first place you investigate. Often times, a simple checkmark in a box can be the solution. Consider the following settings and how they may be impacting your ad impressions:
1. You Have Run Out of Budget
If you are advertising in a particularly competitive space, it’s not uncommon to be “Limited by Budget.” Limited by Budget means that AdWords recognizes more opportunities to show your ad than your budget allows for.
Let’s say your daily budget is $50, you pay an average cost-per-click of $5, and you have already received 10 clicks today. In this case, AdWords will label your campaign as “Limited by Budget.” Your ads will stop showing until the next day because you don’t have the daily budget for even one more click. If you search for your ad after you have exhausted the budget, consider increasing your AdWords budget to maximize your potential with pay-per-click.
2. You Are Outside of Your Targeted Location
You may be managing a pay-per-click account from outside of the geographic region that the campaign targets. This is common for businesses that operate virtually. If you are running a campaign that targets the city of Washington, DC, but you are searching from Gaithersburg, MD, you will not see your ad unless you change your location on Google.
3. Accelerated vs. Standard Ad Delivery
AdWords gives you two options for delivering ads to your audience: Accelerated or Standard. If you are using Standard Delivery, your ads show evenly throughout the day. If you do have a limited budget, AdWords tries to deliver your ads evenly and it is likely that a handful of search queries will not generate your ad. On the other hand, Accelerated Delivery shows your ads as quickly as possible until you run out of budget, which means you may not see your ads later in the day.
4. IP Address Exclusions
Under your settings tab, you can exclude your company’s IP address from being included in your data. This is a useful setting to make sure your data is as accurate as possible. If you are excluding the IP address you’re searching from, you will not see your AdWords ad. Instead, try using the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to see how your ad appears.
Meeting Google’s Keyword & Ad Standards
It’s no secret that Google (as well as other paid search platforms) highly value the quality of their advertisers’ keywords and ads. The better user experience your ads provide for Google’s users, the better your AdWords campaigns will perform. Google is so serious about its mission to provide superior user experience, that it will prevent your ads from showing if you aren’t meeting its standards.
5. Your Keywords Have Been Disapproved
Your keywords may be deemed “disapproved” by Google for a number of reasons—trademark issues, inappropriate language, legality, and more. If your keywords are disapproved, there will be a message at the top of your AdWords account.
6. Your Ads Have Been Disapproved
Disapproved ads go hand-in-hand with disapproved keywords. Google wants your ads to meet its standards of relevancy, clarity, and accuracy. Steer clear of the following in your ads:
- Phone numbers—try using call extensions
- Social interaction incentives—don’t provide an incentive in exchange for a “like” or “+1”
- Display URLs that don’t match your domain—don’t mislead your visitors
- Promotional claims that are not on your landing page—don’t promote a $50 off coupon if the user can’t find it on your landing page
There are many more ad components that can cause disapproval including inappropriate language, poor grammar, promotion of illegal products or services, and many more. Again, you should be familiar with all of Google’s advertising policies to prevent disapproved ads.
7. Your Negative Keywords Conflict
Although you should continuously add negative keywords to your PPC campaigns, once you have thousands of negative keywords, they can be challenging to manage. This may mean that you are bidding on a keyword that contradicts a negative keyword you have added.
For example, you may own an HVAC company and had “plumbing” as a negative keyword. A few years down the road, when your business has grown so tremendously from your awesome PPC campaigns, you start a plumbing division of your company. If you start bidding on the keyword “plumbing company,” AdWords cannot show your ad due to the conflict with your negative keyword. Always be conscious of what negative keywords you have added as your business changes and evolves.
8. Are You Bidding on That Keyword?
Sometimes the reason for the absence of your ad in search results can be simple—you aren’t bidding on the keyword you searched. If you enter a search query and don’t see your ad, always double check that you are bidding on that keyword. If this turns out to be your problem, just think of it as an alternative form of keyword research!
PPC Competition Has Increased
The paid search arena gets more competitive every day, so it’s crucial to stay on top of what your competitors are doing. You may achieve top ad position today, but you never know when your competitors are going to start fighting for that spot.
9. Competitors Are Out-Bidding & Out-Optimizing You
You can’t predict when your competitors will start out-bidding you, or when they are going to hire a pay per click expert to optimize their campaigns. If the product or service you’re advertising for has a high number of competitors running PPC campaigns, it may be challenging to maintain a consistent ad position. Keep an eye on your average position and check your competitors’ strategies often to avoid being pushed to a less than ideal ad position.
10. New Competitors Are Joining the Game
It’s not just your existing online competitors you need to worry about. As more and more businesses recognize that online marketing is the best way to generate leads, the number of competitors vying for online real estate will increase as well. Keywords may become more expensive with time, so that is why it’s crucial to have strategically optimized campaigns.
Looking for Some Expert PPC Management?
As you can tell, a lot of work goes into ensuring that your AdWords ads will show up on Google search results. If you’re already stress-eating chocolate cupcakes at the thought of doing this yourself, let us help!
At Blue Corona, we’ve got a team of PPC experts ready to take on your campaigns. Give us a call or complete the contact form to your right and get on track for PPC success!
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About The Author: Tara is a Senior Account Manager at Blue Corona. She started as a Pay-Per-Click specialist and now spends her days strategizing with her clients about their business goals. Outside of work, you can find her cheering on her Clemson Tigers or planning her next trip abroad.
View more blogs by Tara Gasparovic