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Why Can’t I See My Pay Per Click Ads?

February 24, 2021

A common question we receive from clients is: Why can’t I see my ads?! 

There are many factors that go into whether an ad is displayed in the search engine result pages (SERPS). We also understand why you want to see your ad (to make sure you’re showing up for your chosen query), but a word to the wise: 


Searching for your own ads, or worse, clicking on them, results in lower CTR (click through rate) and conversion rates. This signals to Google that the ad doesn’t match the search query. Clicking on an ad, and bouncing, or not converting, results in a lower CTR while also signaling to Google that the ad does not match the search query. 

Account optimization includes monitoring Google Ad accounts daily to make sure ads are receiving impressions. In addition to daily monitoring, BigWheel uses an Ad Preview diagnosis tool to ensure an ad is shown for a certain keyword. This tells us why an ad may not show without skewing account metrics. 

Next, we’ll break down how Google Ads works, and why you won’t see your ads every time you search for your keywords (this is a good thing).

How Does Google Decide Which Ad to Show?

Google Ads is an auction that happens in real-time every time a person conducts a search on Google. Google takes several factors into consideration, like user intent, user history, budget, and ad rank to determine which ad the search engine should show.

1. Ad Rank 

This variable takes keyword quality score into consideration, but also the context of search and expected impact. Context of search includes things like location, device, time, and ad history. Expected impact is from CTR and relevance of ad. These are all signals to Google for why your ad may or may not show for you.

2. User History 

Another common reason why you may not see your ad anymore is simply: Google doesn’t think you are interested! The whole point of Google is to show relevant search results, and this includes organic or paid. If you search for a query, and don’t click or convert from the ad, Google remembers this and simply stops serving these ads to you. This is a major reason not to search your own ads. Not only does it negatively affect metrics, it sends signals to Google that the ad doesn’t match the query. 

3. Budget 

BigWheel sets Google Ads to standard delivery. This means that Google will use your budget to make sure your ads will be spread throughout the day. If you find that you are using your full budget but have a limited impression share, then this could be the culprit. Highly competitive keywords, like “website designer,” will drive up costs. BigWheel can see this from the Ad Preview, which is where we diagnose why an ad may not show. 

Below is a screenshot from Ad Preview for the search query “website designer.”

How Does BigWheel Make Sure Your Business Shows Up In Search Results?

1. Assess Needs

BigWheel assesses what the client’s needs are during the beginning stages of the partnership, and adjusts strategy accordingly as we gather more data and knowledge. For example, F. Schumacher & Co. a family-owned interior design company based in New York City, stressed to us that conversions (wallpaper purchases) were the highest priority. Google Ads are great for this, as they show up based on user intent. For example, if someone is searching for “Schumacher Wallpaper,” you show up at the exact time a user is likely to convert. 

2. Determine Competitive Landscape

Interior design services is extremely competitive. BigWheel aimed to carve out a niche market organically to complement our paid strategies. F. Schumacher & Co. is competing against advertisers with substantial budgets and those with similar products on their websites. 

BigWheel’s PPC goal for F. Schumacher & Co.’s campaign is to get the most conversions for the budget as possible. This means that Google Ads will take budget into consideration and show ads to people most likely to convert. Most likely to convert would be based on user signals, like user location, time of day, user history, and device. Google Adwords tells BigWheel how much competition F. Schumacher & Co. faces against other advertisers for wallpaper search queries. We include this metric in their monthly report. 

Because brand awareness is not the goal, setting ads to show as much as possible is not prudent. We can do this strategy, however, it is not recommended based on available budget. We can, however, adjust the objective of the campaigns to show as much as possible. The highly competitive nature of wallpaper in the SERPS is why it is important to carve out a niche market paid and organically. 

3. Measure and Optimize Campaigns

After optimizing the campaign, Schumacher averaged $9 in revenue for every $1 spent on digital advertising. Read about all of the results from our Google search, display and shopping strategies for F. Schumacher & Co. at “How we tripled a client’s return on ad spend with Google Ads.”

What’s Been Your Business’ Experience With PPC Campaigns?

Contact the BigWheel team if your business needs a hand with its search engine marketing or search engine optimization strategies.