Why Isn’t My Ad Showing Up on Google: What You Need to Know About Google’s Impression Share

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Photo of Austin LeClear by Austin LeClear on August 13, 2021

Have you ever Googled your own keywords to see your ad firing only to be faced with disappointment when you don’t see it at all?

This can be concerning to businesses who are putting their all into extending their reach with Google Ads, especially since most are paying a pretty penny to do so alongside the time investment that comes with research, strategy, and campaign creation.

If you’re wondering “why isn’t my ad showing up on Google,” the good news is that there are a number of very common reasons. In this post we’re going to take a look at why your ad isn’t showing up on Google and what you can do to maximize your impression share for more visibility.

What Is Google’s Impression Share?

Google’s impression share tells you what percentage of deliverability opportunities your ad is capturing for your target keyword and in relevant searches. It’s telling you what percentage of the impression pie you’re getting.

There are almost definitely a large number of other advertisers who are bidding on the same or similar keywords that you are. Google can’t feature every single one in every SERP, so sometimes you’ll show up and sometimes you won’t.

Here’s an example. These are two SERPs for the exact same keyword in the exact same location. Nothing changed except I refreshed my browser.

Google search results showing different ads Google search results showing different ads

As you can see, though, there are different ads. North American Van Lines showed up twice, but the others were all shuffled; they have a smaller impression share than their twice-ranked competitor, at least according to this example.

Why Isn’t My Ad Showing Up on Google?

Your ad just isn’t going to show up every time, even if users are within any geographic or demographic targeting and they’re using your exact keywords.

There are several different reasons why your ad isn’t showing up on Google.

The most common is simply due to the fact that there’s an enormous amount of competition on Google, and no one is ever guaranteed an ad slot. Other ads may rank higher than yours, bumping you out of an impression. This may be because they’re more relevant, have higher quality scores, or have higher bids.

Budget is a common issue, and it’s one of the most significant factors we see that advertisers can control when they want more of an impression share. If you don’t have a large enough budget, you’ll be limited in how many times your ad is shown. And if your bids are lower than the competition, you’ll have a harder time with getting ad placements.

The time that you’re searching also plays a factor. Did you search from your phone at 10PM at night, or your laptop on your lunch break?

While this doesn’t seem like it may matter, it definitely does. The bids you’re paying are influenced by a variety of factors, including device type, ad schedule, audience, demographic, and more. While you may not see the ads, other users could be.

An in-depth analysis by a professional Google Ads agency can help pinpoint the exact cause of why your ad isn’t showing and what you can do about it.

Why Budget is Such a Big Factor

It only makes sense that your Google Ads budget is a major factor in how often your ad shows up.

If you’re bidding for a popular keyword like “air filter,” this may be a search conducted around 10,000 times per month. If you don’t have the ad spend to match that search volume, you just will absolutely not appear in each search even if all the other factors line up well.

In our experience, we’ve found that 90% of the time when our clients weren’t having their ads show up on Google, budget was the issue.

How to Get More of the Impression Share

Want to increase how often your ads are showing up in Google? While you’ll never have 100% of the impression share, there are four things we recommend doing to boost your percentage overall and to have your ad show up more often.

1. Boost Your Budget

If you can increase your budget at all, that’s always a good start. More budget means more chances for you to have your ad displayed, and as we said, budget is the issue restricting impression shares for a large percentage of our clients.

Google Ads budget in campaign manager

If you need to, consider trimming away unneeded or unprofitable campaigns to invest more in those that are high-value and driving significant results. You can always reallocate ad spend later if this doesn’t work in your favor for some reason.

2. Revamp Your Bidding Strategy

How much are you bidding, and what exactly are you bidding on? There are several options available through Google Ads, and it’s important to consider what works best for each individual campaign that you’re running.

Google Ads bidding strategies

While it depends on the campaign, we typically optimize and bid towards profitability, often either opting to target ROAS or the CPA as the goal. Keep in mind that they can’t show up 100% of the time and still be profitable, but that they’re more likely to show up when there’s a good opportunity for profitability

3. Improve Ad Quality

Your Google Ads quality score is an indicator of quality, and it’s a little like getting a physical every year to make sure you’re in good health. Ads with high quality scores cost less and often receive prioritized placements in the SERPs, and they are directly tied to high performance.

If you’re having issues with impression share, you should look at your quality score. This can help you determine whether you have a technical issue or if your competitors are outbidding and outperforming you. If your quality score for a specific keyword is high but your impression share is low, you’re almost certainly bidding less than the competition.

Google Ads quality score

This is a powerful signal that it’s time to increase bids, but only if you’ll still be profitable off that keyword and you can justify doing so. It’s never worth paying more for acquisition costs if you can’t afford to do so and it derails profitability. If that’s the case, it may be time to look into other keywords.

4. Use Relevant Exclusionary Targeting As Needed

Exclusionary targeting options allow you to prevent your ad from showing up for certain users. You can exclude users, for example, who live outside of a specific geographic region. You can also limit users by audience targeting criteria.

Google Ads targeting criteria

While this won’t automatically increase your impression share, what it will do is help you show up in relevant searches more often. This way you aren’t having your ad show up in searches where there’s no chance of conversion for any number of reasons, making it easier to profit more off the impressions you do get.

Final thoughts

If you’ve asked yourself “why isn’t my ad showing up on Google,” then hopefully we’ve helped answer that question. There are so many reasons why your ad isn’t showing up on Google all the time, or even why you may not see it popping up as often as you’d like.

The most immediate change you can make is to adjust your budget, but following the other steps outlined in this post is a good start. And when it comes to how much you should be bidding and budgeting for, always consider what will keep your campaigns profitable. If you need help figuring out what that balance would be, know that we’d be happy to help!

Need help determining why your ads aren’t showing up on Google and your impression share is low? Or looking to better optimize your campaigns for more results? Schedule your free consult with us here.

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