One of the most common questions I hear in my line of work is, “Why can’t I see my own ads?” There are several common reasons why your ad doesn’t show when you Google your own business or keywords and I’ll cover some of them here for you.
But, first thing is first, STOP Googling your own keywords. This wastes your budget and can also throw off your data and your results. Doing this effects click-through-rates, impressions, and ad relevance. For example: if you see your ad and don’t click it, it effects your relevance, if you see your ad and do click it, it costs you, if you click your ad and quickly close out of your website or destination, it lowers your ad rank.
Now, let’s talk about some reasons why you may not see the ads running for your business.
An Algorithm Optimized Toward Conversions
I’m just going to say it! Google knows more about you than your closest friends and relatives. Not only that, but they use what they know about you to, in less than a millisecond, decide that your ad does or doesn’t need to be served to you. Since paid search is an auction based system with real time bidding, a search that happens right now will be different than a search that happens an hour from now.
You may even search for the exact same thing as someone who gets your ad shown to them, but Google accounts for your search history, your past behavior, the types of websites you visit, the things you are shopping for, and so much more. If Google doesn’t think that you are likely to convert or to take the intended action, it’s not going to show you the ad. Instead, your ad will be shown to someone more likely to convert.
Familiarity With Your Own Domain
If you spend a considerable amount of time on your own domain, you’re not going to be served an ad to lead you there. Google knows you’re already familiar with your own brand and domain, so it’s not necessary to show you an ad that you’re not likely to click on. After all, you own the company.
Ads are built to target specific audiences. More importantly, ads are meant to avoid serving to anyone except the ideal user who is most likely to take action. This targeting is not limited to, but does include both age and geographic location. You’re less likely to see your own ads if you don’t fall within the demographic or location that’s being targeted. If you’re 55 and your target audience is between the ages of 25 and 35 you’re not going to see your ad. If you fall outside of the boundary where ads are serving, you won’t see your ad.
Time of Day
Some ads are programmed to run only during certain times of the day. If you search outside of that timeframe, you will not be served an ad.
If you’re running on a smaller budget and Google doesn’t think you’re likely to take the desired action, it’s going to save that impression or potential click for someone who is more likely to convert.
Maybe you did see your ad, but you aren’t anymore. Often, we’ll set a frequency on ads. This means that once a person sees it a set number of times in a day, or so many times without interacting Google stops showing it to them.
What if You DO See Them
Seeing your ads is perfectly ok too. You may fall into the demographic, radius, or audience that ads target. There are also many different types of campaigns that run ads. For instance, awareness-only ads will often show up to a more generic audience within a certain radius. If you fall within that radius, you will see an ad displayed. It’s still important not to click through it, but you should not panic.
What You Should Be Asking
The question you should be asking is: How can I see my ads without negatively effecting my ad spend or results and what results am I getting?
Most platforms allow you to see a preview of your ad. For instance, Google allows you to see your ad in “ad preview and diagnosis”. If you have an agency that manages your ads, they can send you a preview link. Most ad platforms will also provide data on where ads are showing, when they are showing and the demographic that they are showing to.
Also, if you’re working with an agency, you should get monthly or quarterly updates that show you how ads are performing.