Why Isn't My Google Search Ad Showing Up!?

In the land of paid search, there are many pieces to the puzzle of setting up a quality campaign. You’ve spent a lot of time planning your keywords and their phrase matching, the organization of ad groups, writing your ad copy and designing the landing page; the list is long!

As a b2b performance agency, BusinessOnline has helped clients comb through the details of planning in preparation of their campaign launch, followed by a question shortly thereafter from the client;

“Why isn’t my ad showing up?!”

Many times, after launching a campaign, someone on another team will try to search for a keyword to trigger their company’s paid search ad and not see it in the results. “Why isn’t our ad showing up?!,” they anxiously ask. You spent all the time building this campaign, you want to be seen.

If your ads aren’t showing up, you have a limited presence in front of the eyes of your audience and prospective customers. No eyes = no clicks = no goals met. Whether the goal of your campaign is brand awareness, lead generation, or ecommerce sales, the campaign is compromised if it’s not above the fold of a search results page.

If your ad isn’t showing up for a search query that fits your keywords and their match types, then you want to evaluate your search impression share (how often it does show up out its qualified opportunities).

On a holistic level, you’ll want to make sure that you avoid common PPC mistakes, but here we’ll focus on those affecting lost impression share.

What is Impression Share?

Per Google, Impression share (IS) is the percentage of impressions that your ads receive compared to the total number of impressions that your ads could get.

Impression Share = impressions / total eligible impressions

Two things that are greatly affecting how often your ads show up are your ad groups’ rank and the campaign budget.

Budget is often a huge factor, especially if your keywords have significant search volume. BOL has created the calculator below for you to determine how much of an increase you should consider so that your ads can show up more. But before we plug in more dollars, BusinessOnline helps clients increase their ads’ presence in the search results by walking them through a series of optimizations.

So where do you start?

What are Different Types of Bidding?

What are Different Types of Bidding?One thing to keep in mind is Google is smart. Very smart. And it often uses its algorithm(s) to present your ads to more qualified users based on their behavior. This is particularly the case in bidding strategies based on clicks and conversions versus impression share. So the person(s) searching the keyword may not fit the bill in Google’s eyes, which could be why the ad isn’t showing up.

First things first, what’s your goal?

  • …Awareness? Are you looking to have your name in front of as many viewers as possible? (Impressions)
  • …Website traffic? Are you focusing on getting viewers through to your site? (Clicks)
  • …Action or sale? Whether it be a content download or ecommerce purchase? (Conversions)

While, in the end, the action of a conversion/sale leading to a return on your investment is likely the ultimate goal, determining the primary goal of your campaign will affect your bidding strategy.

If your ad isn’t showing up, first make sure that you’re setting reasonable bid amounts for your ad groups.

Remember, if you’re bidding $5.00 and your competitor is bidding $2.50, when your ad is present and results in a click, you will be charged $2.51, not your top amount. Determine what keywords are of higher/lower interest and value to your goal.

Ensuring your bidding aligns with your goal is a must, but no matter what it’s set to, your campaign is only getting a portion of the overall impression share of search presence that aligns with the targets and bid strategy that you’ve set up. This is where your ad and landing page’s rank, as well as budget, have effects.

How Do I Fix Lost Rank in Search?

How Do I Fix Lost Rank in Search?Show users that you’re relevant! Google Ads has a column that can show your ‘Search lost IS (rank)’ as well as how the channel ranks you from an ad and landing page experience perspective. If you’re suffering from low rankings, increasing your bid amount can help increase the impression share to a certain extent. However, before you pay more, see if you can make improvements with the following optimizations.

On the ad level:

  • Use keywords that you are targeting in your ad copy messaging. A video conferencing SaaS company targeting ‘online meetings’ but not using this term in their headline and/or description will have a lower rank, therefore will get fewer impressions and, when they do get clicks, will pay a higher CPC.
  • Utilize Google’s ad extensions to not only obtain real estate and potential rank, but incentive for the user to click.
    • Use Callout Extensions to show company information and/or features + benefits such as ‘An industry leader for over 50 years’, ‘Free virtual/on-site demos’, ‘24-hour Customer Support’.
    • Use Structured Snippets to speak about categories, industries, verticals, etc that your product/service adheres to. If your company offers multiple brands of a particular product, you could list those.
    • Use sitelinks to provide additional links to other content associated with the user’s search query. These can be a variety of links, such as correlated products/services, a training course you’re offering, or a recent blog article you posted about an award you’ve won.
    • These three extensions are the most applicable to many businesses, but do keep in mind that there are more, such as Review, Call, and Click to Text.

On the landing page level:

  • Ensure the keywords you’re targeting are present on your landing page, particularly best in your page title, h1, and content above the fold.
    • We know. That may be quite a bit of keywords to incorporate into your page. Consider focusing just on the terms that are of higher search volume and/or higher value. If able, you can also create unique landing pages that use terms more specific and aligned to particular ad groups, though having the same message and goal.
  • Consider the user experience of your page. Is it easily navigated? Is the purpose clear? How is the page speed? Is it mobile responsive? Mobile and user experience are getting more and more attention from Google on both the paid and organic levels.
    • If the landing page and customer journey have a very poor mobile experience, it may be worth optimizing your campaign by device to focus on desktops.

Knobs turned, dials tweaked, and your campaign’s rank and CPCs have improved! But there’s still an impression share gap due to budget. Each day when your daily budget is reached, the campaign is paused until the next. If your campaign is best performing, or primarily applicable, during certain days/times, it may be worth dayparting your ads. To determine how much budget would help you achieve more impressions, it’s time to assess impression share lost by budget.

How Much Budget Do I Need to Increase Impressions?

How Much Budget Do I Need to Increase Impressions?This can be seen at the campaign level in the ‘Search lost IS (budget)’ column. So how much more budget could be used here?

By looking at some of your performance metrics, you can determine how much additional budget would have closed the gap of impression share lost by budget and forecast what those metrics would have been. To do this, you’ll follow the impression share formula steps below. Or just enter the information in our Impression Share Lost by Budget Calculator below!

Let’s say you looked at your campaign in Google Ads and saw the following performance for one month:

  • 50,000 impressions
  • 20% Search Impression Share
  • 65% IS Lost (Budget)
  • 3.0% CTR
  • $2.00 Average CPC


Find the Total Impression Eligibility of your campaign

Impressions divided by Search Impression Share.
Impressions / Search Impression Share = Total Impression Eligibility

50,000 / .2 = 250,000


Determine how many of the total impressions were lost due to the budget

Total Impression Eligibility multiplied by Search lost IS (budget) percentage.
Total Impression Eligibility x IS Lost by Budget = Total Impressions Lost by Budget

250,000 x .65 = 162,500


Determine the total Lost Clicks

Multiply this number by the campaign’s average click-through rate (CTR).
Total Impressions Lost by Budget x CTR = Lost Clicks

162,500 x .03 = 4,875


Calculate the Additional Budget

Finally, multiply this number by the average cost per click (CPC).
Lost Clicks x Average CPC = Additional Budget

4,875 x $2.00 = $9,750

You now have the amount of additional budget that would have covered the impression share lost by budget. With these numbers, you can also determine your forecasted impressions and clicks:

Projected Impressions

Find Projected Impressions by adding the result of Step 2 to your campaign’s actual Impression results

Actual Impressions + Lost Impressions = Projected Impressions

50,000 + 162,500 = 212,500

Projected Clicks

Find Projected Clicks by multiplying this by your campaign’s actual CTR

Projected Impressions x CTR = Projected Clicks

212,500 x .03 = 6,375

New Budget

We then get the New Budget Forecast by multiplying Projected Clicks by Average CPC

Projected Clicks x Average CPC = Projected Spend

6,375 x $2.00 = $12,750

I’m sure you’re taking notes, but feel free to use BusinessOnline’s Impression Share Budget Calculator below!

Impressions Budget Calculator