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Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 1
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This is an issue I experience frequently that baffles me. I'll give a specific example below.

 

I have an exact match keyword [new york city jazz bands]. I'm bidding four times the estimated top-of page bid, and my ad has a quality score of 6 and the keywords are all within the text of my ad. I'm in a relatively small market where my ads generally appear consistently and at the top of the results for most other keyword combinations. But when I enter those keywords in the search field Google, three of my competitors ads show up, not mine. 

 

As I said, I've experienced this with many other keywords, not just this, and it always baffles and frustrates me.

 

Now, there is the caveat that this search term is considered "low search volume." But, in fact, when I search in Google for that exact supposedly "low search volume" term, three of my competitors ads show up, i.e., their ads are not being blocked due to the term being "low search volume," just mine.

 

Does anyone have any idea what's at play here?

 

Thanks.

2 Expert replyverified_user
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

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Accepted by topic author Chuck B
September 2015

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

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# 19
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P1. Moshe, glad we could agree. Smiley Happy Thanks for taking the time to read my reply in detail.

P2. I agree with you that practically "low search volume" means a keyword which is "on hold" / waiting  (to participate),  should the opportunity to be matched to a query occurs.

P3. Chuck, I agree with Moshe, that if "Low Search Volume" keywords are having good performance then it is wise to keep them in the account.

  1. "Low Search Volume" keywords may trigger (become active) rarely, and if they perform well (when triggered), then definitely you should continue to keep them in your account to take advantage of this dormant performance potential in such keywords. It is not a waste of time to keep them "active" (present and enabled) in your account, if they perform well over a longer period of time.
  2. However, since "Low-Search-Volume" keywords are temporarily inactive, it would be a waste of time to optimize them and expect a change in results while such keywords are still inactive (marked as "Low Search Volume") keywords.


P4. Chuck, you already know below points but if you want a practical-simple take away from this thread, then I will try to oversimplify and summarize as below. (However like all generalizations, while below points will help in most cases but there may be exceptions to below, so I hope you will follow the concept more than the instructions):

 

  1. As you already know, and as first suggested by Alex, please always use Ad-Preview tool to check if your ad is running or not.
  2. If your ad does not show, please debug as appropriate - Moshe's first reply in this thread is a very good start. The support page at https://support.google.com/adwords/troubleshooter/1711301?hl=en will also help.
  3. If you are in a "my-ad-is-not-showing-but-competitor-ad-is-showing" situation, then do not debug/ optimize "low search volume" keywords in an attempt to solve this situation - in most cases, it wont help because this "Low Search Volume" keyword is not triggering ads for you as well as your competitors. Instead, look into other parts of your account which may respond to this same search query - may be a broader match keyword, or a close variant and so on. For example in your case, although [new york city jazz bands] exactly matches the search query of your interest and hence appears to be the obvious keyword to optimize, however since it is marked "Low Search Volume" at the moment, so even if you optimize it, it wont make an impact, till Google makes it active again by bringing it out of the "Low-Search-Volume" status. Your optimization effort will show result only when Google activates the keyword, otherwise it will go waste. So you should instead work on a variant like [nyc jazz bands] or a broader keyword like +new +york +city +jazz (or if required, an even broader keyword which might match your search query of interest) and then check if your ad starts showing with your competitors.
  4. If your ad shows in the ad preview tool, then make sure to notice which keyword is triggering the ad for the search query of your interest, so that accordingly, you may further debug/ further optimize the correct part of your account. (The screenshot I shared in my first post of this thread, might help in finding which keyword is triggering the ad).

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps.
Thanks.

Durga

 

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Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner

Hello Chuck B,

I wonder whether you search for keywords from your campaigns within regular google search or Adwords Ad preview and diagnosis tool.

With Adwords Ad preview and diagnosis tool you can search for your keywords and checking your Ads being OK and showing up without getting any statistics in Adwords.

On the other hand, regular google search will be counting your impressions everytime you see your Ad. If you in the past saw your ad too many times and never clicked on it then Google might realized this Ad is not relevant to you and is not going to show you this Ad anymore.

Maybe it will be this, if not, let us nowSmiley Happy

Ad preview and diagnosis tool
Ad preview and diagnosis tool information

 

Alex

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
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Hi Alex,

Thanks for your advice. It's very worth taking into account, but it doesn't solve this particular issue.

I have in fact just recently started using the Adwords Ad preview and diagnosis tool as opposed to the regular google search, however I'm all but certain I didn't search for this particular combination of words in the past. (Just to be sure, I just visited my neighbor's house and did the search on his computer and got the same results.)

If it helps on your end, my ad, so you can identify it if it comes up when you search, is for my website newyorkjazzevents.com.

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Badged Google Partner
# 4
Badged Google Partner

Hello Chuck B,

 

Maybe I was not that wrong after all.
First try, first position:

 

screenshot-adwords google com 2015-02-10 00-09-16.png

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

Hello there;

As Alex mentioned use the ad-preview tool - which better represents a random user (since it doesn't store cookies on your PC which keep track of your searches)

Now, assuming that your ad is not shown, we need to further investigate further:

  1. Do you have enough budget?
  2. How much is your bid ?

 

Two good starting points would be:

  1. Checking the keyword planner for historical bids on these keywords (not estimated... The average bid in the last 112 months..)
  2. What is your exact impression share  and your impression share due to budget.?.These 2 metrics could give a good estimation  of how many impressions you lose due to a low budget  or due to low ad-rank.
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

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# 6
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Hi Alex,

Very interesting! And encouraging. Although I can't figure it out, because, as I mentioned, I did my search using the ad-preview tool, which, as I understand it, shouldn't block my ad from me, and I also did the same search using my neighbor's browser, and didn't see my ad in the results.

It's interesting from another standpoint, which is that Google says that terms marked "low search volume" (as this is) don't trigger ads, but it triggered my ad for you (unless it's triggering from one of my different but similar terms) , and it triggers the other ads for me.

Hi MosheTLV,

I have enough budget, far beyond what I use each day. And my bid is $5 for a keyword whose estimated top of page bid is $1.50, and estimate first page bid is $.30.

The keyword planner says, "We can't display search volume charts because your keywords don't have any searches." (That's not untypical, I'm in a relatively small market, jazz bands for private events.) As a result, I don't know my exact impression share. Not sure where I'd find my impression share due to budget, but my historical impressions for this term over the past 11 years is 62 impressions, 5 clicks.

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Hi Chuck,

I have tried to search the same word in my ad preview tool with Location New York city. And I have seen the same ads as Alex has shared.

That;s why we strongly recommend to use Ad Preview and Ad Diagnostic tool. Where you can actually find the exact reasons.
And You have already mention that the keywords has low search volumes (why not it is a long tail keywords) , So in this scenario, AdWords does not show the ads on this keywords. But It can not be marginalized that your account has some broad keywords (Similar type of keywords) that may triggers the ads.

That's the reasons, we would recommend to use Ad Preview tool. Once you try this features, you will identify, from which Ad Group, the ads appear.
--Rakesh Kumar, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query ? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 8
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Hi Rakesh,

Thanks, I've actually been using the Ad Preview and Ad Diagnostic tool, but I'm still not sure the exact reasons for the behaviors I've seen. But I will say something is weird, because now the ad is showing for me as well, although it didn't using this tool earlier in the day, and it didn't on my neighbor's computer. Don't know why it would be different now.

Actually, though, whether it shows or not for this given keyword combination is not necessarily the point. Through the years I have often had the experience of putting in my exact match keywords that I have high bids and high quality scores on, and having competitors ads display, but not my own. That phenomenon in general has always baffled me. I don't do it often enough, or use the same terms consistently enough, that I think it would be likely Google is blocking the ads from me in particular.

Anyway, I really appreciate everyone's attention, help, and advice here. Still a bit confused what may be going on in this kind of situation.

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

Hi Chuck,


As I said - this keywords has low search volumes and AdWords does not show the ads on those keywords.
But if you are saying that your competitors ads are appearing on this keywords, so it is the possible that your competitors are bidding on some similar type of broad keywords and they are diverting traffic on their website. So forget about the competitors, you have also seen that your ads appear on this keywords, but triggering other ad group. This can be only possible through Ad Diagnostic tool and Ad Preview tool.

Also we don't have AdWords access so we can not help more here. So Its better contact to support team they would tell you the exact reason.

--Rakesh Kumar, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query ? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Why does my exact match keyword trigger other ads, but not mine?

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# 10
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Hi Chuck.

You already have some great answers from Alex (who even took extra effort at posting screenshot of his research - Thanks Alex), Moshe and Rakesh.

I have nothing new to add. Rakesh has been very thorough in explaining. However, since your last message seems to indicate that you are still confused about the situation so I am just trying to present the same information in a slightly different way.

Your first confusion seems to be why this search query is triggering ads for competitors but not for me?

As per my understanding, if your keyword is marked "Low Search Volume" then it means that Google is NOT running an auction on that keyword, at this point of time. The keyword is simply inactive. So, no matter if you bid four times the estimated top of page bid or have QS of 6, this keyword will not trigger ads. It is pointless to optimize bids or anything else for this "inactive" keyword.

Additionally if it is inactive for you, you can be sure it is inactive ("Low search volume") for your competitors also because as per my understanding Google Adwords system uses global search volume data to take this decision and reviews it once every week. The fact that you have some impressions for this exact match keyword means that at some point of time, Google did run an auction for this keyword and it may do so in future also but till it is marked as "low search volume", you can be sure that it will not trigger ads for you as well as your competitors. There is no partiality in this system.


So how come your competitor ads are showing for this search query?

As you already know, if your competitor ads are showing up for the search query new york city jazz bands, then it does not necessarily mean that your competitors are bidding on the exact same keyword [new york city jazz bands]. For example your competitors could be bidding on a broad match modified keyword like +new +york +city +jazz, which might trigger ads when someone searches for new york city jazz bands.

I think you can be reasonably sure that if you have a "Low search volume" for some keyword, then it is the same for your competitors too.

The good thing is that now you have seen your ad via the Ad Preview Tool.

You mention that your account has sufficient budget, still your ad seems to be showing at some points of time and not at others. Most probably it could be because of lower ad rank as compared to your competitors. So you need to know the specific keyword in your account which is triggering ads when new york city jazz bands is the search term?

To answer that I would request you to carefully look at the results of the Ad Preview Tool. You might be aware of this but please consider the attached screenshot to notice where the Ad preview tool reports the keyword, campaign and ad group triggering the ad for a given input search query.

 

Ad-Preview-Tool-Which-Keyword-is-Triggering-Ad.png

Once you know the keyword, adgroup and the campaign in your account that is triggering ads for the specific search query - new york city jazz bands, then you may optimize it with appropriate bids, ads or otherwise.

As per my understanding, you need to have a large budget, accelerated budget delivery (a campaign setting) and high ad rank to be able to capture near 100% impression share otherwise the Adwords algorithm will certainly rotate your ads with your competitors, so it is very normal that at some points of time your ad may not show at all if your ad rank or budget is not sufficient or if your budget delivery option is standard.


As for your statement - "Through the years I have often had the experience of putting in my exact match keywords that I have high bids and high quality scores on, and having competitors ads display, but not my own."
Each case would be different so it is difficult to comment in general but in this particular case at least, the exact match keyword you have chosen is inactive ("low search volume") so no amount of optimization will make it work. As you can understand, high bids and high quality score is not going to count if the keyword is not under auction. Most likely the competitor ads are showing due to other broader keywords for which they have better ad rank, higher budget or some other targeting setting at play.

I have no exact solutions but I hope this might help you find reasons the next time you find a similar situation.

 

Thanks.