Why Can’t I Find My Ad?

A reader reaches out for help:

What does it mean if Google AdWords says your average position is 5.8, when in fact, it’s not? When I type in the keyword [actual keyword omitted], it doesn’t show on the first several pages of results. What’s the scoop?

My response:

First, I asked if the keyword triggered the reader’s ad anywhere – page 8 or 13 or 43 of search results. His answer: "My ad doesn’t appear at all."

Aha! Now we’ve narrowed it down to several possibilities:

1. You’ve run out of budget.

Google isn’t showing your ad because you’ve already spent your budget, or are on target to max it out because you selected the "show my ads over time" campaign setting.

2. You’re limited your ad geographically.

Are you searching from a location outside your geo-targeting?

3. You’re limiting the days of the week and/or times of the day your ads will show.

This is another campaign setting you might have forgotten about.

4. Your ad has been disapproved.

Check your ad variations tab within the ad group in question and make sure Google will allow your ad to show.

5. You’re using position preference and underbidding that position.

If you have position preference "1" chosen for that keyword and you’re not bidding enough to achieve position 1, then your ad won’t show.

6. Mercury is in retrograde.

Hey, it happens. Just this week all the printers stopped working, my packing tape dispenser developed a nervous tic, and when I squeezed my eyes really hard, the second hand on my wall clock went backwards for one second. So you never know.

The Ad Diagnostic Tool

If you still can’t figure out why you can’t find your ad, Google provides a helpful tool within AdWords. Here’s a two-minute video demo of the Ad Diagnostic tool.


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