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Why is My Ad Not Serving? AdWords Auction Troubleshooting Checklist

You have set up your campaign with an excellent targeting strategy and perfect copy, but when you check back the next day, it’s not serving!  Before you turn to Google support, try the tips below recommended by our internal experts for troubleshooting low impression counts.


First, check the basics.


You might be surprised how often our support teams hear from AdWords power users who simply forgot to confirm their date range is set to present. Remember to QA the basics:


  • Re-check the billing setup and approval status of ads just to be sure everything is ready to go.
  • Make sure you’re viewing current stats using the time period bar in the upper right hand corner.
  • Confirm ads are approved.
  • Confirm you’re not losing your impression share due to low bids.
  • Make sure your targeting is effective (i.e. no tiny list sizes that might cause an ad not to serve, avoid very granular targeting, make sure you’re not excluding and targeting something at once, etc).

Once you’ve confirmed these, try digging a bit deeper. Below are a few of the top troubleshooting fixes we uncover at Google.


Trueview Ads:

  • Video Length: Really long videos have less inventory on AdWords. Be wary of running long videos as ads for clients (>3 Mins).
  • Trueview Ads running on the YouTube Search Network: Remember, the Trueview Search network is for Display only. If the “YouTube Search” is the only network clicked, your Trueview InStream video won’t run.
  • Placement Targeting that is Google Preferred Inventory: Looking to run on specific channels? You may want to layer in other targeting types to ensure performance if running on sites that also serve Google Preferred inventory.


General Display Network Ads:

  • Mismatched Image Specs / Device Targeting: Ad sizes are in spec for specific devices - check our specs support page video to make sure your device targeting matches ad sizes.


Lightbox Ads:

  • Forgetting to Set Campaign Types as “Engagement:” Lightbox campaigns perform best when set to Engage with your content” or “See your ad.” Don’t forget your marketing objective during setup.


Mobile App Installs:

  • Final URLs With Mismatched App Stores: Make sure your final URL on Mobile App Install ads matches the app you linked the campaign to. If users copy over ads from existing iOS/Playstore campaigns into an opposite type, the ad won’t serve.


GMail Ads:

  • Forgetting mail.google.com Placement Targeting: This may be an obvious one, but you’ll want to make sure to include mail.google.com as a placement, and add any other placement targeting as domain name keywords.
  • Remarketing, Custom Audiences, Custom Affinity segments: As per the help article, “Avoid mistakenly adding incompatible targeting to an ad group or campaign containing Gmail ads. (When you add incompatible targeting, your Gmail ads won’t run).” The help article also lists out targeting options.


We’d love to hear from you; what are some of the top questions you have while troubleshooting ads?

January 2017

This is Great basic stuff to be considered. 


1. Checking Negative Keywords implemented in to the account. Sometimes wrong negative keywords can pll down our ad performance.

The Quick fix would be to run a keyword diagnosis and ensure that these negatives are removed.   


2. Time schedule - If you choose to restrict your ad copies visibilty to certain time of the day, may be it would be better to test on a broadrer time span untill we can enough data to check on.