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What to do When You Can't Find your Ad

One of the most exciting parts of launching a new AdWords Campaign, Ad, Keyword, etc. is actually seeing your Ad live on Google.  Besides seeing the Ads, it's also important to QA new Campaigns, Ads, Keywords, etc. and make sure they're serving as you intended.  You go to Google and search for your Keywords, but you don't see your Ad - below are the steps to diagnose why this might be happening.


Ad Preview Tool

First of all, when searching for your Keywords, you should always use Google's Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool (found here).  Using this tool will do three things - 

     1. When signed into the Account and searching for your Keywords, it should tell you exactly why you cannot find your Keywords -and-

     2. Using this tool, which is essentially serves Google Search Results in a test environment, you will not accrue unnecessary Impressions to your Account -and-

     3. Through Ad Preview, you can mimic a search from a specific geo-targeted area and/or device, even if you're not physically in that area or on that device.


Why You Can't Find Your Ad

If the Ad Preview Tool doesn't tell you exactly why you cannot find your Ads, try this:

Why you can't find your AdWords Ads


Above are the common reasons you can't find your AdWords Ads.  Little more detail around each:

  1. AdWords Billing - make sure your desired method of payment has been able to be charged and that all your payment details are up to date.  How do I find my AdWords billing?
  2. Active & Approved Ads - Whenever you create a new, or edit an existing, AdWords Ad, they'll go through a review process.  AdWords tries to complete all reviews within 1 business day,   In the event that its been more than 1 business day, fill out this form.  If this is an issue for you, it's always good to be up to speed with AdWords Policies.
  3. Campaign Settings - Campaign Settings is where you tell AdWords when, where, and how to serve your Ads.  Common reasons you won't see your Ads due to Campaign Settings include: Geographic targeting (you're targeting an area that you're not physically in when you do your search), Ad Delivery (AdWords could be throttling delivery of your Ad in order to try to keep it active throughout the entire day), and Ad Scheduling (your Ad is only scheduled to show during certain hours of the day).
  4. Daily Budget - It could be that your Campaign has already reached its Daily Budget limit, and is paused due to budget, or that your Campaign is Limted by Budget.  You can look at your Recommended Daily Budget for a suggestion of what your Daily Budgets should be.
  5. Max CPCs Not High Enough - One of the more common reasons that I see is that Maximum CPC Bids are lower than the First Page Bid Estimate.  When this happens, you can either raise your Maximum CPC Bids, or try to increase your Quality Scores (which will typically reduce First Page Bid Estimates).


Again, I always recommend starting with the the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool (found here), but if that doesn't give you the information you need, hopefully this cheat sheet will help you diagnose why you're not seeing your Ad.


about Brian Valentini

Chicago-based husband and father who likes sports, traveling, and laughing. Excited about the field of Digital Marketing, especially Paid Search. Work-life = Vice President/Director of Search Marketing at DigitasLBi, a global digital marketing and technology agency.

Rakesh Kumar Top Contributor
March 2014

Nice article Brian! especially i like the pictorial representation Smiley Happy

Nisal L Rising Star
March 2014
Nicely done Smiley Happy