Why Your Google / Bing Ad Doesn’t Appear When You Search For It

You’ve set up your ads and want to confirm that your ad is showing to customers. You search for it, and it’s not there. Don’t panic! Here are reasons why your Google ad might not be showing when you search. We explain some of the key reasons why they may not be appearing. Remember, you ad will not appear in every search that you bid on!

Rotation Setting

Google defaults to showing your ads evenly throughout the course of the day. To do this, it has to anticipate how many clicks it can get for your budget and therefor how often it should show the ad, and when. You can overcome this by changing the setting to “accelerated”. Google will now show your ad in each eligible search until your budget has been depleted.

Depleted Budget

Once the daily and/ or monthly budget is used up the ad will no longer run. So if other people have already clicked on your ad that day and your budget has been consumed, your ad will not show.

Geographic Location

If you’ve targeted your ad for customers in a specific location, your ad will not be found if you’re searching whilst located outside of this target location. E.g your target location is England, but you are searching from Scotland. NB: Google uses IP addresses to try and identify location. These are not always 100% correct, so check your IP location.

Competing advertisers

It may be the case that a competing advertiser has out bid you, so their ad will appear above yours. This means that your ad rank may not be high enough for your ad to appear on the first page of a Google search. Your ad may be on a later page depending on your ad rank, which is determined by the quality of your ad and the maximum cost per click bid you’ve set.

Searched too many times

Google will only show your ad if it believes you will be interested in. Therefore if you repeatedly search for your ad but never actually click on it, Google may presume that you are not interested in the ad. Then decide to stop showing it to you.

Google is reviewing the ad

Each ad that Google permits must comply with Google’s rules, so must be reviewed by Google first. This can take up to five days.

Breach of Google rules

If during the review Google finds that your ad is breaching their rules your ad will be disapproved and will not run. If your ad has been disapproved you will be notified by email. Your ad may have been disapproved due to a disapproved keyword. Google prohibits the advertising of certain products.


The use of negative keywords is generally beneficial for the success of yours ads. However, your ad will not run if you have included any negative key words which nullify the rest of your key words for your ad. Also, your ad will not show for any keywords that Google deem to be “low volume” i.e. people do not search for it that often.


If you have targeted your ad to show to customers when they visit sites on desktop and laptop computers but not whilst using iPhones and Android devices or vice versa instead of targeting all devices your ad will not be found in a search on a non targeted device.

Bidding Method

There are several different bidding methods available to advertisers. If you choose a bidding strategy that focuses on conversions or transaction value (such as Enhanced CPC, CPA or ROAS bidding) then Google will prioritise showing your ad to people most likely to convert (which probably does not include you) by automatically adjusting your keyword bid. When you search, you may see your ad in a lower position or not at all as Google lowers the bid.

Top Tip: Use the Google AdWords Ad Preview Tool to check your ads. Not only can you simulate searches from different devices & locations, you can view your ads without impacting your impressions, click-through-rate, and quality-score – so ultimately, how much you pay for your ads!