Help! I can’t see my Google Ads when I search for them!

As an Account Manager at specialising in Google Adwords, I work with many clients that have never used Google Adwords before, and so I hear the above question a lot.  Picture this; you’ve just started a Google campaign with a Digital Agency. You receive notice that your campaign is live and eagerly run to your computer, punch in a Google Search, eg. “Carpet Cleaners Perth”, and eagerly wait to see the fruits of your marketing spend appear in front of you, on your screen. Nothing, nada … your company’s Ad does not appear. To your colleagues you’ll bellow, “Google is a scam,” or, “What am I paying these people for?”

Why the hell can I not see my own damn Google ads

In fairness, if you’re a first time user of Google Adwords it can be a bit confusing. And yes, I promise your Ads are working.

Here’s 5 points to keep in mind if your Google Ads do not appear:

1. Air time

Much like television or radio advertisement, your click cost budget will dictate the percentage of time that your Ads will appear on the Google network. In other words, you’re not always going to show up unless your budget is high enough to allow this. To check this, you can add custom columns to your interface. Luckily, this is a very easy fix – if you increase your budget to 100% air time, you will show up more frequently.

Google AdWords Air Time

2. Time of Day

Adwords allows you to select the hours of the day in which you’d like your Ads to run. In some instances, you may want your Ads to be off over the weekend or you may find, after a month or so of testing, that you receive the most leads in the afternoon and thus you run your Ads from 14:00 – 19:00. Before you panic, ensure you’re searching for your Ads during a period that you’ve set your campaign to run.

3. Search Terms

Often clients believe they have a “money keyword” that they always want to appear, for such as “carpet cleaning Perth.” Yes, this is, in broad terms, the service that your business provides. However, you may be surprised to find that you can get a bigger “bang from your buck” from other search terms. In the beginning of a campaign we may include broad terms, however these tend to cost more per click and convert at a lower rate. Through experience and testing we may determine that “steam cleaning Anketell” costs 3.05 per click (vs. $10 for “Carpet cleaning Perth”) and converts at 10% – tada, cheaper leads for you!

4. Previous Search History

Google, as a service, is all about providing a user with the most relevant search. If you’ve done numerous searches for phrases like “Carpet cleaners Perth” or “Carpet steam cleaning in Perth”, and never clicked on your own Ad (of course you wouldn’t, this would cost you money) Google may deem your Ads to be irrelevant to you, and will show you different companies’ Ads instead.

5. Location Settings

Are you on a business trip to Sydney, searching for your Perth-based carpet cleaning business? Google Adwords allows location-specific searches by State, City or even kilometers from a given location. Be sure to check which locations your Ads are set to appear.

Next time, before you panic, think a bit about the above points. I strongly encourage my clients to NOT search for their Ads on Google. In short, this can negatively affect your campaign as you’ll receive Ad impressions but not Clicks (you should never click on your own Ad) and in turn your quality score will decrease and your click costs will increase. To ensure this is not a problem, use this Google tool to search for Ads without any detrimental effects:

Google AdWords Ad Preview

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