It can be extremely frustrating to have spent hours, or even days, setting up the very best AdWords campaigns only to find that when you activate the campaign, nothing seems to be happening. Why this occurs is a relatively common question that AdWords advertisers put to us so hopefully the below will help you to find out why your ads are not getting any impressions.
1. Are the relevant campaigns or ad groups paused? This may sound quite straightforward but if you have several people working on an account, making changes both online through AdWords itself and offline through AdWords Editor, things can get adjusted either accidently or deliberately! It is well worth just checking that everything is set to ‘active'.
2. Have you set a daily budget? Be sure to check that your campaign daily budget is set above £/$0.00, as your ads will not run if you do not have daily budgets set for each campaign. AdWords Editor (at least the newer versions) should display a warning message to this effect if you should forget to apply a budget during campaign setup.
3. Have you entered billing information? Double check that your account billing information is accurate i.e. the credit card number, expiry date, billing address, etc. Again, if there is any issue in this area, Google will not serve your ads. If you're paying by credit card, we strongly recommend using the backup card feature in order to ensure that your ads continue to run should there be a problem with your primary credit card.
4. Do your keyword bids exceed your daily budget? If your keyword bids are set higher than your daily budget itself, Google will not show your ads. If this is the case, you will need to lower your keywords bids and/or increase your campaign daily budget.
5. Do your keywords have low search volume? A lack of impressions could be due to there being low search volume for your keywords. A message should be displayed to this effect in the ‘status' column of the keywords reports in AdWords itself, so be sure take a look to check if this is the case. If so, you can either leave the keywords as they are in the hope that search volume will improve, or you can explore other keyword opportunities using the Google keyword tool. Alternatively, you could trial other match types for these keywords including the new Broad Match Modifier match type, to see if this generates some impressions for your keywords.
6. Have your ads been disapproved or placed under review? If you have breached AdWords ad text policy guidelines for say, excessive capitalisation, then your ads could be disapproved until you have reviewed and edited them. You should receive an automated warning email alert to this effect from the system but in case it didn't reach you, you can check manually in the AdWords interface once logged in, under ‘Reporting and Tools' >> ‘More Tools' >> ‘Disapproved Ads'. It is also important to remember those of us advertising for things such as online gambling, that the ads can take longer than normal to be reviewed and approved. Such ads being approved is also dependant on the advertiser being registered with the Gambling Commission (in the UK) and providing a valid operating license number. See here for more information on restricted sites and advertising policy.
7. Have your keywords been disapproved? The AdWords system also reviews and approves campaign keywords. If your keywords are seen to be relating to prohibited content such as for advertising products and websites related to firearms, drugs, cigarettes, etc, then it may not approve the keyword/s.
8. Are your negative keywords preventing ad display? Negative keywords are an important ally in the fight against irrelevant traffic that drives up campaign cost and reduces advertiser ROI, but it is important to avoid adding negative keywords that conflict with your active keyword list. Double check that this is not the case as mistakes can sometimes be made, and are normally due to over enthusiastic use of the copy and paste function in reviewing search query reports and adding negative keywords to the account!
9. Has ad scheduling been set without your knowledge? Ad scheduling is another useful feature that allows us to select the days and times on which we wish to display our ads, as well as allowing us to increase bids on certain days and hours that have strong conversion rates. Whilst it's unlikely that you would accidentally set up ad scheduling then forget about it, have you inherited an account that has Ad Scheduling currently in use? Has someone else got access to the account and forgotten to communicate a bright idea to you? It's always best to double check!
10. Is the position preference tool preventing your ads from being served? If your keyword bids are not set highly enough for the set position you would like to achieve, the position preference tool can actually prevent your ads from being displayed! Basically, the Google position preference tool will only show your ad when you qualify for the preferred position, so be sure to use this tool carefully. It may be best to either turn position preference off at least to see if this is the issue preventing ad display, or to at least expand your preference to include more positions.
If you have checked all the above issues and you still don't have an answer, we would recommend contacting your Google rep to ensure that there isn't a bigger issue being experienced i.e. that the account isn't being penalised for being a ‘low quality affiliate site' or similar (see more here on the Google Adwords Help pages).