why can't i see my google ad

In the SEO vs PPC debate, pay-per-click advertising wins out when you need results fast. While it won’t drive organic traffic for your clients, white label PPC management can boost brand awareness, increase conversions, and get more eyes on time-sensitive campaigns. And unlike other types of online advertising, Google Ads are displayed before organic results in SERPs.

But PPC comes with caveats. Not only can these ads be expensive, but they can be notoriously tricky to manage on your own. Even if you have a solid working knowledge of digital marketing, PPC campaign success isn’t guaranteed.

In fact, some of the most common questions we hear from our partners (and from their clients) pertain to PPC management. We know what a pain Google Ads can be – and if you aren’t careful, your campaigns might never get off the ground.

Understandably, business owners want to track the progress of their Google Ads after they go live. But you’ll want to stop them in their tracks before they go searching for their ads in SERPs. Let’s talk about why.

I Want to See My Google Ads Succeed, So I’ll Manage My Campaigns Myself!

Many business owners value the DIY approach. As such, they might assume they’re perfectly capable of managing their own online ads. But they’ll quickly discover that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. At that point, they’ll probably find someone to whom they can outsource their PPC management.

Of course, not every SEO reseller has experience with PPC ads. (That’s what we’re here for!) Because Google Ads management can be so complex, we recommend that you rely on your white label PPC management specialist to launch and monitor these ads on your behalf. This can help you avoid costly mistakes later on.

One of those mistakes is actively looking for a client’s live Google Ad in search engine results pages. Agency owners who have experience running Google Ad campaigns may already know about this no-no. But if you’ve got customers asking, “Why can’t I see my Google Ad when I perform a search for the keyword bids we discussed?,” you’ll want to keep reading. We’ll discuss why performing a search to bring up these ads is a bad idea all around.

Why Don’t I See My Google Ads? Does That Mean They Aren’t Running?

Say your client has already gone ahead and performed a search for their ad. They tell you the ad is nowhere to be found. They assume that you aren’t doing your job, that you’re charging them for a campaign that isn’t actively running, or that Google isn’t working the way it’s supposed to.

You already know that those assumptions aren’t true. But how do you explain this to your client in a way they’ll understand? Here’s the main takeaway they should know about.

Your ad won’t be displayed every single search.

A lot of people assume that every time you perform a search for the term you’ve bid on for your ad, the ad will appear. But that’s not the way that Google Ads works. Ad displays can fluctuate depending on your location, the device you’re using, the time of day, campaign optimization, and a host of other factors. If you’re performing a search outside of the target area or you’re searching at a time of day for which your ad hasn’t been optimized, your ad won’t show up in your search. That’s actually a good thing, as it means the advertising platform is following the parameters established in your campaign setup.

And because Google Ads works on an auction basis, your ad won’t show if you’ve already used up your advertising budget for the day. Every single search that’s completed counts as an “auction.” If you’ve capped your ad spending at $100 a day and you’re performing a search at 7 PM, you may not “win” the auction if you have nothing left to spend. As a result, your ad won’t be shown.

Even if your ad is perfectly crafted and you’ve got an optimization score of 100, your ad won’t be displayed every single time a relevant search is performed. But additionally, searching for your own ads can be detrimental to campaign success.

Why Shouldn’t I Search For My PPC Ad?

Okay, so why should your clients avoid searching for their own Google Ads? Walk them through the following reasons and they’ll start to appreciate how one simple act can have major ripple effects.

why you shouldn't search for your google ads

Your data will be skewed.

Performing a DIY ad search won’t yield usable data. This will never give you an accurate reflection of actual performance. It’s essentially an anecdotal experience – and an unscientific one, at that. It can also inaccurately inflate your impressions and lower your click-through rate (CTR), which can mess with your ability to measure precise performance.

If you’re trying to access better campaign performance data, rely on your white label PPC management expert! Your account manager can provide you with the analytics you need. We can track impressions and clicks within specific time frames to give you a more comprehensive look at your progress. Aggregate data (week-over-week or 30- and 60-day time frames) will tell you a lot more than a single search ever will.

When a client performs a search for their own PPC ad and they come up empty, they might think their experience represents that of their target customer. When you can educate them on the reasons their ad doesn’t show up, they’ll view you as the resource they can rely on to provide them with the information they’re really looking for.

You could hurt your campaign performance.

It isn’t just bad data you’ll be risking. Searching for your own PPC ad could actually hurt your campaign.

Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant and valuable information to web users. So when you perform a search that delivers your ad and then you fail to interact with that ad, what message does that send? That the ad isn’t relevant to you or the search term you’re using!

That means Google won’t continue to show your ad to you when the search term is performed. Worse yet, you’ll send the signal that the ad isn’t relevant to the search term being used. That can impact your Google Ads quality score, which could also negatively affect ad performance (including click-through rate) and overall cost.

If you search repeatedly for your own PPC ad and don’t click on it, you’re basically saying to Google that you don’t want to see that ad. Google prides itself on learning, so you’ll have a tough time getting the ad to display again – for yourself and for customers alike!

Google might block your IP address.

Repeatedly searching for your own ads can have even more drastic consequences. Google may take the extra step of blocking your IP address – your unique identifier online – from seeing your ads ever again! This is the ultimate way to ensure you aren’t seeing ads that Google thinks are irrelevant to you.

Even if your ads are still being displayed to your target audience, you won’t ever know it if you’re relying on a simple Google search to see your ads. This could force you to choose a different network connection or to reconfigure your IP address as a workaround, neither of which is fun to deal with.

What Happens If I Click My Own Google Ad?

Performing repeated searches for an ad that isn’t clicked can signal irrelevance to Google. Naturally, you might think that clicking on the ad when it appears will tell Google to keep showing it.

While that might sound like a good idea, this tactic isn’t worth the literal cost. Clicking on your own Google ad will waste your advertising budget! Since you’re charged a fee every time your ad is clicked, interacting with your own ads will incur a cost and reduce the longevity of your daily ad budget.

Clicking on your own ad can have other ramifications, as well. Say a client clicks on their own ad, is taken to the landing page, and then immediately exits their browser or hits the “back” button. Google will record that as a bounce. Having a higher bounce rate can signal to Google that the landing page is an irrelevant choice for your ad; that, in turn, can sway your analytics, reduce your quality score, and adversely impact how frequently the ad is shown. You’ll then have to pay more to display your ads (as lower quality scores = higher ad costs) and have a tougher time getting them seen.

Ultimately, this means searching for your own ads – whether you end up clicking on them or not – isn’t recommended. You’ll waste money, hurt your campaign performance, and will find it harder to achieve PPC ad success in the future.

How Can I See My Google Ads the Right Way?

If you’ve been asked, “Why can't I see my Google Ad in search results?,” you’ll want to let your clients know that there’s a much better way for them to monitor campaign performance than performing searches on their own.

Of course, you can get all of the analytics and other data you need for your PPC campaigns from your Google Ads analyst or account manager. They’ll compile all of the information you need for a complete picture of campaign performance so you can relay it all to your clients.

You can also use Google’s Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool to search for your keyword bids and view a preview of the correlating Google SERPs page. This can show you which ad is displayed for the keyword and can even help to determine whether there’s an issue with your campaign that needs to be rectified.

Here’s an example of how we used Google’s Ad Preview tool to view one of our own PPC ads. As you can see from the screenshot below, our ad is displaying for the “seo reseller” keyword at the very top of the Google Ads section of search results.

google ad preview tool

This tool provides a much more accurate picture of Google Ad performance. If you don’t feel comfortable navigating this tool yourself or need help analyzing the results, your white label PPC management team is here to support you.

Finding Your Own Google Ads Won’t Give You What You Seek

If a client (or even someone at your agency) has searched specifically for an ad you’re running, it may not be the end of the world. But it should remain an isolated incident, rather than a habitual behavior.

Conducting repeated searches for Google Ads in hopes of gauging performance is a costly mistake. While it may seem harmless at first, it can hurt your campaign’s ability to compete. By educating your clients on the possible consequences upfront, you can avoid insurmountable problems in the future. Protect your PPC campaigns by being proactive and you’ll reap the rewards.