Why Is My Google Ad Not Getting Any Impressions?

Google ads can be a great opportunity for you to attract new customers and maximize the potential revenue from your business. However, it can take some detailed knowledge to be able to set up and optimize your campaigns for success. One common issue we experience here at Salt Water when auditing a new client’s ads account is campaigns and ad groups that are not receiving any impressions even though they are active. In this week’s blog, we break down some of the common mistakes people make when setting up their campaigns, and some of the easy ways to fix them.

Check Your Google Ads Payment Went Through

In order to set up and run your Google Ads campaign, one of the first and most crucial steps is to set up your payment profile. Once you log onto Google Ads, it will ask you for preliminary information such as your business name and website. Once you follow these setup instructions, it will bring you to your payment profile section. This is also accessible at any time by going to Tools & Settings > Billing > Settings > Payment Profile. Here you can enter information such as your region business name, tax information and bank card information. 

Once you enter your payment information, Google will verify your card before any ads can go live. So often, one common mistake people initially make in their Google Ads setup is they either enter incorrect payment information, or there is an issue with their card verification. If your ads aren’t running or getting impressions, the first thing to do is ensure that your payment information has been entered and verified correctly. 

Google Ads Bids: Too Low Or Too High

Another common cause of your Google Ads not receiving any impressions is due to your max CPC settings. Max CPC (Cost Per Click) is the maximum amount of money that we are willing to spend to receive one click on our ad. We can set this in our ads profile, however it is vitally important that in-depth industry analysis is conducted first, to get an understanding of the industry-wide average CPCs for the keywords we are targeting, as well as their likely competitiveness. 

Generally, there are two reasons that your Max CPC settings can cause your campaigns to receive no impressions, either your bid is too low or it’s too high. 

Bid too Low: If your max CPC bid is lower than the average CPC for a particular keyword, this can cause your ads not to fire. The Ad auction will determine who gets to serve their ad, and this ad auction is a combination of your max CPC bid and your quality score. A good quality score can sometimes mean you can win the auction with a lower bid, however, a bid that is too far below the average CPC will make it extremely difficult for your ad to fire. This is why keyword research is crucial to understand the likely costs and CPCs of different keywords, ad groups and campaigns. 

Bid too High: If your max CPC for a particular keyword is higher than your daily budget, your ads won’t fire for that keyword and any related search terms. This is why in-depth keyword and market analysis is such a crucial part of the Google Ads set up stage. 

When you are determining your budget for Google Ads, the starting point is keyword research. What is the average cost or CPC of each keyword I am targeting? What location am I targeting? What are the search volumes for these keywords and how competitive are they? These are all crucial questions to ask yourself when determining your budget. 

Keyword Search Volume

Determining your keyword search volumes for your given location is perhaps the most important aspect of your initial keyword research. By determining the likely search volumes of the keywords we are targeting, we can forecast likely website visits and conversions, as well as costs. 

In general, it is good practice to target keywords with high search volumes and low costs and competition. Often this will depend on how competitive your industry is on Google. However, it can be also beneficial to target more niche, long-tail keywords with less search volume but also very low competition. However, it is worth noting that if your ad groups keywords search volume is too low, often google will not let your ads fire at all. 

If your ads are receiving no impressions, be sure to check your keyword status under the ‘search keywords’ tab to ensure your search keywords are eligible. 

Check Google Ads Status

Another common reason for campaign ads not to fire is due to the ads themselves. When we create ads within the Google Ads platform, we submit them for Google to approve. Once approved they can then be displayed to Google Users. One common reason for your ads not to show is that they have been disapproved by google. This can be for a number of reasons, such as showing explicit material or discussing another prohibited topic. 

To investigate the status of your ads, go to the ads & extensions tab, navigate to ads, and look at the ‘status’ section. If you hover above the ads status, Google will present a more detailed explanation of the issue, along with a link to more information. You also have the ability to appeal Google’s decision to disapprove an ad. 

Google Ads Scheduling: Is There A Mistake?

One useful feature within the Google Ads platform is a tool known as Ads Scheduling. This feature allows you to select a certain time period for which your ads will be displayed. Anytime a user searches your keyword outside of these designated times, your ad will not take part in the ad auction. This can be a very useful feature for certain businesses. 

For example, you are a custom furniture seller, and your main website conversion is a phone call. However, you know that the company phone is only answered in the office between 8am and 6pm. If we were to run ads with this phone number 24/7, there is a strong chance we will receive calls when no one is available to answer the phone. Although an answering machine can catch some leads, many more will be lost by not answering the phone. The solution here is a simple one. What you would do is set your campaign to an ad scheduled whereby ads with your phone call extension will only be shown between 8am and 5.45pm. 

In general, the best practice is to not use ad scheduling. Unless you have a compelling reason to use ad scheduling, like the above example, or data to verify that your ads are not effective at certain times, we would always advise not to use one. 

If your ads are receiving no impressions, one area to look at is ad scheduling. A common reason for your ads not running would be that you chose too small a time period in your ad scheduling, or a time period in which much fewer impressions occur, for example between 9pm and 6am instead of 9am and 6pm. 

Is Your Google Ads Targeting Set Up Correctly?

Google Ads Audience Targeting is another great feature that advertisers use to target specific sets of people, based on demographic and behavioural data. It is accessible in the audiences tab in your Google Ads account. There are two types of audience targeting available, targeted and observational audiences. Observational audiences are a great way to get data on a segment without exclusively targeting them to see if using a targeted audience may be beneficial.

In order for you to target an audience on google, it needs to include a minimum number of users. With the Google Search Network, this stands at 1,000 active users in the last 30 days, and for the Google Display network, it is 100 active users in the last 30 days. If the amount of users falls below this threshold, your ad will not be shown. This is also true of display re-marketing campaigns, which can be extremely effective ways of increasing brand recall and reducing bounce rates. However, you need to have a large enough audience of past website visitors before your campaign will begin to gather impressions. 

Negative Keywords In Google Ads

An important part of your keyword research is to also identify negative keywords that can be used in your campaigns and ad groups. Similar to how your ad will fire when your keyword is searched, a negative keyword will prevent your ad from firing when your keyword is searched. Generally, it is best practice to enter your negative keywords in exact match. 

One common cause of ads not firing is that conflicting search keywords and negative keywords have been entered into the same ad group. For example, I might be targeting the keyword [property manager free estimate] for a property management client, but I also have added [free] as a negative keyword. In this instance, your negative keyword will prevent your ad from firing for that keyword. 

Bid Adjustments Google Ads

Another useful feature within the Google Ads platform is the ability to make automatic bid adjustments. These are essentially percentage increases or decreases to the bids you make on search terms, based on where people are, who they are and what time they are searching. The 5 main bid adjustments available on Google Ads are as follows: 

  • Location
  • Ad Schedule
  • Devices
  • Audiences
  • Placements

If you have started your campaign and new ads that are not getting any impressions, your bid adjustment setup is a good place to check for potential errors. Say you are selling outsourced IT, you may have very high bid adjustments for professionals in the IT sector, but have your overall max CPC set far too low for the industry average.

The issue that can occur here is that there may not be a lot of search volume amongst your targeted audience, which will mean you will not receive many impressions, and in tandem, your ads won’t be served to general users due to your bid being too low. 

Landing Page Relevance Google Ads

The experience that users have once they visit your landing page from a Google Ad, as well as how relevant that page is to their search query, will have a big impact on how you perform at the ad auction, and in turn, whether or not your ads get served and collect impressions. The relevance of your landing page plays a big part in your Quality Score.

So if you are receiving no impressions, check the quality score of some of your keywords. If they are very low, it can be due to three main factors: A historically low ad Click Through Rate, an irrelevant ad, or an irrelevant and not useful landing page. It is best practice to routinely check your landing pages, making sure they are working and any CTA’s or web forms are working, and also that they are highly relevant to your keywords and ads, and engaging to the end user. 

Your CTR May Be Too Low

Another reason that you may have a campaign or ad group that is active but that hasn’t received any impressions is that your expected CTR is too low. Google aims to provide users with a good experience, by serving them with relevant and useful ads. When your ad doesn’t get clicked, this signals to Google that your content is irrelevant to searchers, which would be evident by your falling CTR. If your CTR is low enough, it won’t be served by Google at all. 

Essentially, the higher your CTR for a given ad or keyword, the better you can expect to perform. If you do have a campaign or ad group that isn’t running, check to see your ads or keywords CTR to see if this could be the root cause of the issue. 

Key Takeaways: Reasons Why Your Google Ad Isn't Getting Impressions

  1. Your payment didn’t go through
  2. Your ad bids are too low or too high
  3. Your chosen Keywords search volume is too low or too high
  4. Google disapproved your ad
  5. Your ad is scheduled to run at a bad or wrong time
  6. Your targeting isn’t set up properly
  7. Your keywords are conflicting and can’t be read by Google properly
  8. If Google made bid adjustments you bid amount could now be too low
  9. Make sure the landing page you are linking to is not broken
  10. Your Click Through Rate is too low. When your ad doesn’t get clicked, this signals to Google that your content is irrelevant to searchers, if your CTR is low enough, it won’t be served by Google at all. 


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