Why Don’t I See My PPC Ad?

I made a late-night run to a shady little gas station with blinking fluorescents last night. Though it isn’t the best choice I’ve ever made, it didn’t feel like a choice at the time. It was a need.

Now I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right: I have a problem.

But have you tried S’mores Pop-Tarts? Don’t judge me till you’ve tried the little devil pastries.

Anyway, I grabbed their three boxes (go big or go home), paid, and headed home. But when I eagerly opened the plastic bag … two boxes.

It’s so unsettling to purchase something — with great expectations — and feel like you didn’t get what you paid for.

And that’s how it feels when you craft and pay for a PPC ad, such as an AdWords ad, and find that your ad or doesn’t show up at all or eventually stops appearing when you search for it.

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The 4 most common reasons you’re not seeing your PPC ad

    1. Oversearching. This is probably the most common reason people stop seeing their own ads. Search engines make money by showing people the most relevant ads to their interests and getting clicks on the ads. If you’re searching your keyword but not clicking your ad, the search engine determines you’re not interested in it. So the ad stops showing up for you. To get around this and see your ad, you can try switching browsers (e.g. use Firefox instead of Chrome), or log in on a different computer. You can also try searching in incognito mode.
    1. Timing. Since they get paid every time someone clicks, Google typically sequences ads unevenly throughout the day, with the bulk of them displaying during the hours with the most searching (and ad clicking). So you’re more likely to see your ad during a high-search time of day than, say, 5:00 am. On the other hand, if you search at the end of the day, your daily budget may be spent, and your ad won’t pop up then. But if that’s the case, your ad is getting plenty of clicks throughout the day. Winning. Pro tip: using “Accelerated Spending” in your ad settings gives Google the OK to be less conservative with your budget.
    1. Searching from the wrong place. If your IP address is tied to a different region, or you’re using a VPN, you may not be seeing the ad because it’s targeted to the areas surrounding your business. It’s also possible that you’re searching from a mobile device and your ad may not be a mobile-specific campaign. If you want to target mobile users, it just takes a few setting changes. It will save you money to have a chat with your marketing team and make sure mobile ads will target your audience better than computer ads, as each medium has unique user behaviors.
    1. Competition. It’s possible your ad’s budget was smaller than your competitors’. Google’s AdWords troubleshooter (or your marketing company) can walk you through some questions and metrics to give you a good feel for how your ad is performing. But keep in mind that bidding on keywords is a competitive game. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to craft a good PPC ad that gets results, as well as some great ways to get organic search advertising that competes with the big boys for free.

Resist searching for your own PPC ad

As you see above in number one, searching for your own ad gives you a false impression of how often it shows up for your target audience.

But it can also skew your analytics like impressions, click-through rate, and even your budget (if you happen to click).

To search for your ad, we recommend you visit http://google.com/AdPreview.

However, the best course of action is to sit down with your marketing manager or company and walk through your ad dashboard to see the numbers and make sure your visibility and click-through rate are within your target range.

And you can check it out ad performance on your own too. Here’s a look at an AdWords analytics screen. You can see how simple it is to view (by campaign) how many clicks your ad is getting, and how much you’re paying per click.

If you ad really isn’t performing as well as you’d like, all is not lost! There’s a lot you can do to improve and optimize it. But more on that later!

Get the most from your PPC ad campaign

To learn more about crafting the strongest ads, or creating organic content that will land you on search page one for free, drop us a line and let us point you in the right direction.

Contact us today to set up a free 2-hour business consultation.

Our business is getting you business, and we’d love to help you outsmart (rather than outspend) the competition.