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Why can't I see my ad?

There are several common reasons you may be unable to see your ad. To help you determine why, we've developed two tools: the Ads Diagnostic Tool and the Disapproved Ads Tool (not available in Starter Edition accounts at this time). You can access these tools at any time via the Tools link on the Campaign Management tab. The tools provide you with information specific to your account and will help you quickly diagnose why you're not seeing your ad. In addition, you can view Ads Diagnostic Tool results on the Keywords tab of your Ad Group Details page. Just point your mouse to the magnifying glass icon next to any keyword in your ad group. A help bubble will appear with information about your keyword. If your ad isn't showing, click 'What can I do?' for more information.

Below is a summary of some of the possible reasons why you may not see your ad and ways to remedy them. You can refer to the section that best describes your situation, or review all the possible reasons listed.


I just created an ad and cannot see it yet.

  • Account Not Activated
    In order to activate your account and begin running your ads, you must successfully enter valid billing information. If you pay with credit card or other postpay option, your account will be activated once you submit billing information. Depending on the processing time associated with your payment option, your ads may begin showing and accruing costs immediately after that. If you're paying with bank transfer or other form of prepayment, it can take 8-10 days or more after you've submitted your billing information and made your first payment for us to receive and process your payment and begin running your ads.

  • Ad Approval Status
    All ads must comply with our Editorial Guidelines and advertising policies. While some ads may run on Google prior to review, others may not run at all before being reviewed and approved by an AdWords Specialist. If your ad is awaiting review, we'll get to it as soon as we can. While your ad is in queue, you can review our advertising guidelines to ensure that your ad complies. Also, note that no ads will show on the Google Network until after being reviewed and approved.

  • Ad Location
    Keyword-targeted ads typically appear to the right of or above Google search results. If your Ad Rank is not high enough to place your ad on the first page of search results for a certain keyword, it may appear on a subsequent search result page. To see additional pages of ads, click 'Next' at the bottom of the page, or click the 'More Sponsored Links' link below the column of ads.

    If you want your ad to show closer to or on the first page more often, you can improve your Ad Rank by optimizing your campaign and/or increasing your bids: cost-per-click (CPC) bids for keyword campaigns or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) bids for site-targeted campaigns.

  • Server Delay
    There may be a brief delay after you create your ads but before the time they are actually shown. Sometimes it takes our servers longer than usual to upload and prepare to serve your ads. Try checking for your ad again after a few hours have elapsed.

I have seen my ad before, but I can't anymore.

  • Daily budget
    If your daily budget is set lower than the recommended amount, the AdWords system may slow or even stop the delivery of your ad for that day in order to stay within your budget. Depending on the delivery option you've set, your ad delivery may be spread out over the day or your ad may stop showing earlier in the day as soon as your budget is reached. To maximize your ad visibility, consider changing your daily budget to meet the recommended amount.

  • Disapproved Ad
    If an ad doesn't meet our Editorial Guidelines, we'll stop your ad from running, and you'll see the word Disapproved listed below that ad. You can also use the Disapproved Ads Tool to easily find any disapproved ads in your account. If this is the case, please make the needed edits and save the changes to automatically resubmit your ad to us for review.

  • Keyword performance
    If you're running a keyword-targeted campaign and a keyword underperforms, it may become inactive and stop showing ads on the search network. Keywords typically become inactive when they are very general and therefore do not perform very well. Your ads may also only be showing on certain variations of your broad or phrase matches due to a low Quality Score. The best way to monitor your keyword performance is by reviewing the keyword status column on the 'Keyword' tab of your Ad Group Details page.

My ad is running and accruing statistics, but I've never been able to see it.

  • Geo-targeting
    You can target your campaign to specific languages, countries and territories, regions, and cities. If you don't target your own geographical area and the language of your Google interface, you won't be able to see your ad. If you're targeting a region or city, we show ads based on a user's internet protocol (IP) address. Sometimes we're unable to obtain IP information. In this case, we'd be unable to identify the user's location and therefore wouldn't recognize which regional ads to deliver. If we can't determine the user's location, we'll show nationally-targeted ads instead of regionally-targeted ads. Also see Why can't I see my regionally targeted or customized ads?
  • Language targeting
    You can target your campaign to specific languages, which means that your ads are only visible to users whose Google interface is set to one of these languages. You can view your Google interface language setting by clicking the 'Preferences' link to the right of the Search Box on the Google homepage. If your Google interface language isn't included in your campaign language targeting selection, you may want to edit your campaign language targeting in order to see your ad. You can also edit your Google interface language setting by selecting the appropriate language from the dropdown menu and clicking 'Save Preferences.'
  • Campaign ad scheduling
    If your campaign has ad scheduling enabled, make sure you are looking for your ad during the days and times when it is scheduled to run.

I can't see my ad on the Google Network

  • Google Network
    Your ad will not show on sites in the content and search networks until it has been reviewed and approved according to our advertising policies. Therefore, image ads, video ads, and any site-targeted ads will not begin running until after review and approval. Your ad may not appear on Google Network sites if its Ad Rank is too low. In this case, improving your Quality Score through optimization and/or raising your CPC or CPM bids can help increase your Ad Rank. In addition, some sites in our network may restrict advertising or keywords based on their own policies regarding content and editorial standards. In this case, your ad may not appear on a content or search site even if have chosen keywords which seem to match it. Also see How can I make sure my ads appear on the Google Network?
  • Image ad
    Image ads will only run on content network sites, and must be reviewed and approved before they will appear. The format of the ad you're running must match the size and format accepted by each website. For example, if you've uploaded a 160x600 wide skyscraper ad, make sure the site you're looking for your ad on runs ads in that format. Also see Why isn't my image ad showing?

  • Site Targeted Campaigns
    If you're running a site-targeted campaign, your ad will appear only on the websites you specify. Those websites must be part of the Google Network. Make sure you're looking for your ad on one of the sites you selected. In addition, your CPM price may be too low to win impressions on the site or sites you have chosen. This is especially likely if you have targeted popular sites that many other advertisers may also have targeted. Raising your CPM may help your ad appear more often. It's also possible that your ad simply isn't showing at the moment you view the page. Also see Why can't I see my site-targeted ad?

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