You’ve decided to partner with a digital marketing agency to drive traffic to your website, and they’ve suggested Google Ads. This is a great move to make if you’re looking for fast results – who isn’t, right? It’s only natural that – once your Google advertising campaign is up and running – you’ll want to search for your own ads. However, many business owners don’t see their own ads when doing so. This blog article reveals a few reasons that answer the question: why can’t I see my Google ads?

Here’s Why You May Not See Your Own Google Ads:


Before looking at the below reasons, log into your Google Ads account and have a look at your notifications tab (little bell icon in the top right-hand corner). This is where Google will send information about your campaigns, like if any adverts have been disapproved for whatever reason. 

  1. Keyword Search Terms

The Google Ads campaign setup process involves adding keywords and phrases relevant to your business. These are the search terms you’d like your ads to be found for, and your digital marketing partner should have sent these to you for approval before going ahead with the campaign build.


So, if you’re searching for your Google Ads but you’re using search terms that aren’t part of your Google text advertising campaign – there’s a good chance your ads won’t be served to you. For example: if you’re targeting the phrase pink sneakers, and you search for womens shoes, you’re not going to see your ads (unless you add the phrase womens shoes to your campaign).

WSI Tip: If there are search terms you’d like to be found for, but they aren’t part of your campaign, make a note of these and forward them on to your Google advertising partner for campaign inclusion.


  1. Limited Daily Budget

Another step in the Google advertising campaign setup is to assign budgets. Google Ads use daily budgets, which are assigned per campaign. For example, if your Google advertising budget is R1700 for management and R2000 for spend, your daily budget for the campaign will be R2000 divided by the amount of days in the month (R2000 / 31 days = a daily Google Ads budget of R64,50).

So, how does this affect your exposure to these ads? Well, Google can only run your ads and serve them to potential customers while there is available budget. If your ads are doing really well on a given day, your daily budget will deplete faster – and your Google Ads will stop displaying until after midnight.

WSI Tip: If you’re not seeing your ads because of daily budget constrictions, consider speaking to your marketing partner about how much you’d need to increase your budget by to ensure that your ads are delivered throughout the day. 

  1. Geographic Targeting

Another big reason business owners can’t see their own ads is because of geolocational targeting. Some Google Ads campaigns are set to attract customers from specific areas in South Africa other than where the actual business is based. For example, a Durban-based online shoe retailer might want to market a specific style of shoe to potential customers in Johannesburg.

Using the above example, if the owner of the shoe retailer lives in Durban, and they search for their Google adverts from home – there’s no chance Google will serve the ads. Why? Because you’ve told Google to target people in Johannesburg – not Durban.

WSI Tip: If you’d like your Google ads to show up anywhere in South Africa, chat to your digital marketers about what targeting strategy is being used on your campaign. Keep in mind that the larger the target area – the faster your daily Google advertising budget will deplete.


  1. Device Targeting


We see our smart phones as just that – our phones. However, some of us have iPhones; others prefer Android. Just like how Google allows you to target people using specific computer operating systems – Google Ads can be set to show up only for people searching on iPhones, or only for people using Android.

So, if you’ve decided to target Android users with your Google adverts, and you’re searching for your ads on your new iPhone 6 – Google will not show you your ads. The same goes for operating systems. If you’re targeting customers who browse the internet using Safari (the Apple iOS search engine), and you’re trying to find your ads using Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, you’re not going to see them!

WSI Tip: Be sure to engage in market research before refining your Google Ads campaign too much. This will prevent over-targeting, which could see your ads being served to near on nobody! Chat to your digital marketing partner about how to gain valuable insights from your target market.


  1. Your Search Behaviour

Google is watching you! Or rather, Google is watching your searches performed on their search engine. They do this for a bunch of reasons, like search suggestions that pop up while you’re typing something into the search bar. Google recognises your search queries and serves you relevant ads in text or display format.

However, should you prefer not to ever activate online adverts, Google will learn that you are not engaging with the adverts – and stop showing them to you altogether. This is a critical algorithm trait if you’re paying for impressions and not actual clicks.

WSI Tip: If you’re managing your own Google Ads, check to see if you’re paying per click or paying for impressions. It’s better to pay per click, as impressions are free and you only pay once the person clicks on the ad.

  1. Your Own Website

Finally, one big contributor to the invisibility of Google Ads to the business owner managing them is the business website itself. If you’ve got a website there’s a good chance you spend a substantial amount of time on it. Checking wording, adding products, and optimising the look and feel.

Google – being the geniuses that they are – can see that you spend more time on your site than most other websites, and assume that you’re well familiar with the services and products thereon. For this reason, Google might not show you ads linking to your website. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

WSI Tip: While we’re on the topic of websites, does yours have an SSL certificate? This is an online security measure that protects your website visitors’ information when they sign up to your newsletter or order products. Chat to us about securing your website today!


Don’t Worry About Not Seeing Your Google Ads

Seriously – the Google advertising platform is a remarkably well-oiled machine. If your campaign has been setup correctly, and you’ve assigned budget, your Google ads will be showing up. Keep in mind that any Google advertising partner should be providing you with monthly reports on the performance of your campaign. Here you can see the keywords your campaign is using, how well they are performing, how many people are clicking on your adverts, and how much money you’re spending to attract those potential leads.


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