Why Google Ads Might Not Be Working for You

Why Google Ads Might Not Be Working for You

It would seem that it is enough to launch an advertisement and wait for a wave of traffic. This is how it would happen in an ideal world. It happens that something goes wrong. The ad is not displayed in the SERP, clicks, and applications are not received. Problems with contextual advertising can arise from the start or appear after several months of successful work.

How Does Google AdWords Work

For each promoted product, Google recommends creating ad groups of 3 or more ads. This will take into account the interests of different target audiences and show ads when potential buyers are most interested in it.

Ad serving is free. You pay specifically for clicks. That is, only when a user interacts with your ad. Naturally, it is in your best interest for this to happen as often as possible. Google Ads works like an auction. Advertisers place bids on specific keywords. Cost per click (CPC) depends on the popularity of the keyword and its relevance to the promoted page.

Google determines the ranking of your ads and the order in which they appear based on the auction results. When calculating the rating, the following criteria are taken into account:

  1. The maximum amount you are willing to pay per click
  2. Minimum rating
  3. The quality of the ad and landing page
  4. Relevance to the request
  5. Display conditions (geolocation, device type, search time, etc)
  6. The presence of extensions
  7. Competition among advertisers

All ads compete for the top positions in the rankings. An ad in the first position wins the race and gets priority on display. That does not mean that you’ll definitely see it at the top of the search page – just as well, the ad unit could be below the organic SERP. You can find out what fate awaits your ad from the statistics “Search abs. top IS” and “Search top IS”.

How often your ad is shown depends on its quality. A good Quality Score is 8 or more out of 10. To evaluate it, the system uses more than 100 criteria. Google keeps this secret. The relevance of the ad, the quality of the landing page, and the expected CTR are taken into account. The weaker the ad, the less it will be shown and the more it will cost. Read the related article – Scaling Back Your PPC Program? Here’s What You Need to Consider.

You can view your Quality Score separately for each campaign, ad group, and keyword. Go to the Keywords tab and add the appropriate column.

Don’t expect your ad to launch instantly. After you create an ad and complete the payment, the ad is automatically submitted to Google for review. Typically, this process takes up to 24 hours, and for videos, up to 48 hours. If after this time the status of the application is not clear, you should write to the technical support. Please note that if your ad has been disapproved, Google will not review it until you correct the reported issues.

How to Check Whether Google AdWords Works

After launching your campaign, you will probably want to check how Google Ads works for regular users. This can be done using the standard Google toolbox. Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool displays the real picture of search results for the selected keyword, location, language, and device type. You can see how an ad ranks when displayed on a smartphone in Detroit or on a tablet in Cleveland. 

What you shouldn’t do is to check how Google Ads works with a Google search engine. If you enter a search and don’t click on your ad, it will hurt your CTR statistics. The system may consider the ad uninteresting and reduce the number of impressions.

To make sure your ad campaign is going as planned, look at the key metrics in your Google Ads account. To do this, go to the “Ads and Extensions” section in the left pane of your account.

  • Impressions allow you to track how many times your ad has appeared on the general SERP, Google Maps, or a network of partner sites.
  • Each time a user clicks on an ad, one click is counted.
  • Conversions are an individual indicator. This can be a placed order, a call, an application for a newsletter subscription, or any other targeted action on a website page.

It would be incredibly encouraging to stock up on popcorn and watch the clicks and conversions grow (especially if this is your first ad campaign). But I have to disappoint you: Google Ads statistics are not displayed in real-time. The system needs at least 3 hours to collect and analyze data. The metrics “Received impressions,” “Auction statistics” and “Searches” are updated several times a day.

8 Reasons Why Google Isn’t Working And How To Fix Them

Make sure you don’t have AdBlock enabled. This seems like “advice for dummies”. If you just took your computer from a service center or decided to use someone else’s devices, it may contain software that limits the display of contextual advertising.

Make sure your Google Ads account is active and you have full rights to work with ad campaigns. If you just signed up for the system, it will take Google several days to verify.

Ads Google

1. The ad was rejected, removed, and suspended

Google has strict but fair requirements for ad security. The reasons for the rejection can be:

  • Advertising of goods that pose a danger to the life, health, or material well-being of users
  • Aiding unscrupulous activities: promoting pirated content, instructions on cracking software, fake traffic, falsifying documents, etc.
  • Shocking content or propaganda of intolerance towards a group of people on any grounds
  • Promotion of fake products

Political content, advertising of alcohol, gambling, adult content, financial services, medicines are not prohibited. Their promotion is allowed only in compliance with legal and cultural standards adopted in a particular region. Restrictions may apply to such advertising.

In addition, Google is very demanding about the technical aspects of ads. Overly abstract text, a broken target URL, or an irrelevant and low-quality landing page can also lead to ad rejection.

All problematic ads can be grouped using the appropriate filter in the Google Ads cabinet. When you hover the cursor over each of the objects, you will see why the ad was not moderated and advice on how to get out of the situation.

The human factor has not been canceled. Perhaps you decided to pause an advertising campaign during the holidays, catalog updates or website redesign, and then forgot to unpause it. Keeping all the work moments in mind is unrealistic. This is a reminder on your phone or Google calendar will solve this problem.

The ads that interest you may have been completely removed from your account. Unfortunately, there is no other option but to launch the campaign from scratch. In the “Change History” section, you can trace all past actions. For convenience, report items can be filtered by Status.

2. Late payment for advertising

One of the most common reasons why Google is not working is the sudden run out of money in the account. Most advertisers prefer to automate their financial relationships with Google. This means that money will be debited from your account at the end of the billing period or when you reach a predetermined payment threshold. The account must be active, and it must always have a limit to pay for the next advertising period. If the payment is overdue, the ad will no longer be displayed.

There are times when the payment does not go through immediately. It can take Google several days to verify all transaction details.

3. Bids out of budget

Before launching a campaign, you set a daily budget in the settings. Every day, Google analyzes how often ads will participate in the auction, and how many impressions you can claim within a given amount. With a limited budget, ads will appear less frequently. For example, if 100 people searched for a product in the last hour, not everyone saw the ad. When the budget is exhausted, ads stop participating in the auction until the beginning of the next day.

You can check if the budget is enough for all search traffic in the “Modify columns for campaigns” section of the “Campaign” tab. Put a tick in the filter “Search lost to 15 (budget).” You will see the number of potential customers that can be reached with more funding.

Ads Google

The rate at which your budget is spent depends on the ad serving method. With accelerated delivery, the ad will participate in all available auctions as long as funds are available. You cannot use this option for automatic bidding. The standard display method distributes the amount evenly throughout the day. The ads are shown less often but are more useful.

Competition between advertisers is often very high. If you set a bid too low, other bidders are likely to outbid it. To understand the starting points for successful bidding, in the Keywords panel, add the columns “Est. top of page bid”,“ Est. first page bid”,“ Est. first position bid.”

Ads Google

4. Error in targeting or scheduling settings

Google Ads allows you to designate the audience for displaying ads. Select geolocation, language, type of user device, operating system. You can also specify the time when potential customers are most actively interested in your product. Please check the specified data before checking if Google Ads work. If you’ve set up ads for mobile but want to check them from the desktop or during the hours while the campaign is paused, you will not see your own ad.

Focusing on your target audience is always good. You need to know who your customers are and what they are interested in. Don’t overuse your targeting settings. Ads will be shown only if all parameters match. This may happen less often than you originally expected. To avoid losing impressions, split your targeting specifications across multiple ad groups.

5. Keywords search volume is too low

If users rarely use keywords, Google assigns them the “Few searches” status. Your ads will automatically resume as soon as your traffic grows naturally.

Don’t want to rely on chance? Optimize ads for keywords that actually work. It is better to focus on long-tailed keywords that more closely reflect the needs of the buyers. Use the tools from our selection of 24 Best Alternatives to Google Keyword Planners to stay on top of their selection.

The problem of low traffic can arise if a product has just entered the market and users do not yet know about it. In this case, it is worth adjusting the marketing strategy. Direct it to inform potential customers about your product or service, benefits, and features. Publications on thematic sites, partner materials on information resources, reviews from top bloggers, and active use of social networks will be useful. Read the related article – Influencer Targeting and How to Use it for SEO.

6. Group keywords are not related

To understand how Google Ads works, you need to understand the structure of ad groups. Each of them consists of two blocks: keywords and advertising text. When users enter a search term, the ad associated with it automatically enters the bidding process. The more relevant the text is to the keyword, the higher are the chances of being shown.

The secret to successful advertising is to write an advertising proposal in such a way that it overlaps with requests as closely as possible. The search engine will have more triggers to connect you to the auction and rank you higher.

7. The ad is incorrectly optimized

It is important not only to find the right keywords but also to write them in the right places. Pay special attention to Heading 1. This is the place for your main keyword, and in the most user-friendly format. Don’t be afraid to narrow the topic down – the title signals the user that the link can be used to find the information they need.

Heading 2 provides more information on the product and how to purchase it. You can prescribe a price fork or offer delivery.

Heading 3 is where you highlight the benefits of collaboration. Tell us how a customer can save money – add seasonal discounts, special offers, or post a call to action.

Save the rest of the information for the description. It must match the meaning of the search query and headings. Describe the functionality and features. Avoid general phrases and unnecessary facts for the buyer – they only distract and confuse.

8. Conflict between primary and negative keywords

When setting up an ad group or campaign in general, it’s important that ads don’t pop up for irrelevant searches. Negative keywords do an excellent job with this task. Problems start when negative keywords conflict with the primary target one. The system cannot figure out what you want from it and eventually pauses the display.

For example, you developed a cool video editor app. In order to be downloaded by as many users as possible, the ad text can offer “video editing software free trial”. Your application is a paid product, and we would like to exclude the “video editor free” keyword. Google’s algorithm can see this as a contradiction. You can solve the problem by switching from broad match negative to the exact match negative.

Ads Are Shown but Don’t Generate Clicks

In some niches, user response is notoriously lower. This applies to products with low demand and long purchasing decision cycles. In the process of choosing, buyers want to get acquainted with different product options, compare characteristics, prices, and study reviews. Pushing them with a ready-made solution is pointless.

If your users don’t respond well to “selling” ads, try thinking from a different angle. For cold audiences, multi-brand ads can work. Give potential customers the opportunity to compare multiple products and decide for themselves. Do not let go of potential customers. Provide comprehensive information so they don’t have to go to another site. Lead the buyer by the hand from going to the site, through all the complexities of choice and the variety of assortments, to the basket itself.

Use all Google Ads fields such as titles, descriptions, images. The more information you provide, the more visual area your ad will occupy. It is likely to come to the attention of users.

Use extensions to boost your CTR. Google Ad services allows you to add a Call button, additional links, detailed product descriptions, promotions, seasonal discounts, prices, reviews, and store physical address to your ad. Everything that will make your ad more visible and more convenient for users. The more useful information you provide, the more users will trust you and the more likely they will go to the site.

The reason why Google isn’t working might be in the ad itself. If it is boring, you are unlikely to interest potential customers. Try to use unusual solutions, catchy phrases, and pictures that catch your eye. Your task is not only to stand out from the competition but also to motivate users to click on your ad. This will become an additional contribution to the Quality Score – advertising can count on higher positions in the auction.

Users Go to the Site but Do Not Take Targeted Actions

If users see an ad, respond to it, but the conversion rate remains at zero. AdWords is not working for your business. The problem may be lurking both in the ad settings and on the landing page, and possibly in both places.

Incorrect targeting settings

You’re targeting the wrong audience. People are really interested in the product, otherwise, they would not click on the ad. They are not interested in a real purchase, subscription, or using your service.

If you are counting on a serious buyer-seller relationship, you will have to say goodbye to casual website visitors. Identify keywords with high bounce rates (50% or more). Pause all ads optimized for them.

Take a close look at the mobile segment, especially in-app ads. Often users click on it by mistake If non-targeted traffic is the main source of referrals, make sure that the relevant sites and games are listed as excluded placements.

The landing page is poorly optimized

When you invite friends to visit, you plan ahead for entertainment and snacks. It’s the same story with website visitors. They expect to be greeted with all the hospitality after clicking on the ad. First, the page must be relevant to the advertising promises. You should also provide detailed information about the product and tell how it can be useful in a given situation. This motivates you to make a purchase in a store, subscribe, or make an appointment.

Speaking of motivation. No matter how great, useful, and authoritative text you write, the buyer needs to be further led to a conversion. Use clear calls to action, highly visible buttons, and easy navigation. Reduce the number of fields in the application form to the most necessary. Users appreciate simplicity and convenience. Add a chatbot, specify contacts – even if everything is detailed on the site, the client may have additional questions. Read also the article on the topic – What is PPC Advertising and How Paid Search Marketing Works.

About author
Anna has been working in Digital Marketing for 9 years and has extensive experience in SEO, content marketing, customer-oriented product branding. Previously, a commissioning editor in Nighparty Project and a creative member of the Marketing Unilever team in Europe.

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