“Why Aren’t My SEM Ads Running?”

fb adsWhen running paid search campaigns for our clients, we are constantly asked to provide evidence of our value to their operation. For those of us who do SEM on a daily basis, our value is completely obvious: we provide traffic and conversions at a rate and price that the client would not be able to achieve on any other type of medium. However, many things are lost in translation when we bust out our graphs and figures to show the client how we’ve been spending their money in paid search.  Many times, the client just wants solid evidence that their ads are actually running on the search engines.

A common phrase we hear from our clients is “Why aren’t my ads showing?” This is usually after the client has decided to spot check their online marketing campaigns and did a search in their area for a keyword for which we should be running ads.  The client doesn’t see their ads running, and panic ensues. From an SEM perspective, it is easy for us to check on this and see that yes their ads are getting clicks and impressions today and it is all good from our standpoint. Clients usually need a little more convincing. The truth is, there are a lot of reasons why the ads might not be showing for the client:

  • Daily Budget – This is one of the first things I look at when a client tells me they can’t see their ads running. It means that the campaign has come close to spending the allotted amount for the day and now Google is restricting how many times they will show their ads. This is a good thing because it means that the ads are working and we are getting plenty of clicks. Oftentimes, this can lead to a discussion with the client about raising the budget.

daily budget

  • Geographic Location – Occasionally, we’ll have a client who doesn’t realize that our ads are targeted for a specific geographic location in order to optimize for the type of people who are most likely to convert. Make sure to ask your client where they are actually searching from. We’ve had clients out on business trips who can’t find their ads even though they are using the right location in their search query. Google has the following options for Geo targeting:

Geo Location Options

Many of my clients are set up with the “people in my targeted location” option. This will only show the ads to people who are physically in the geographic locations that you have specified. There are many reasons that you might want to do this even though it might be limiting your audience. It is important to make clear to our clients why we are using this type of option and how it is affecting their searches.

  • Which Search Engine Are They Using? – This one comes up from time to time with our less internet savvy clients. Depending on the clients budget we might only be running Ads on Google because they have the largest portion of online searches. It can be confusing to clients who think “we’re all using the same internet!” Make sure if your client likes to spot check the ads, that they know the limits of their budget and are not using a search engine that we don’t have ads on:

alta vista

  • How Often Is The Client Searching For Their Ads? – Your client is going to hate this one but there’s no way around it. Usually we love it when the client is pro-active and involved with our campaigns—it keeps everyone on the same page and eliminates confusion. However, if they are doing regular searches (and presumably know better than to click on our ads and waste their own money) Google’s algorithms will eventually stop showing them the ads. Google will do this because they start to see that the user (in this case, client) never clicks on the ads and it is wasting impressions on them. This is definitely useful because it helps us keep our click-through-rates to an acceptable level and eliminates irrelevant users but it can be frustrating to a very “hands-on” client who needs continued reassurance.

These are just a few of the myriad of reasons why the clients’ ads may not be showing. Completely disclosing these reasons to our clients is the best way to manage expectations and keep everyone happy. TargetClick is successful because of our transparent and open communication with all of our clients. We’ll do everything we can to get the clicks and conversions for our clients, we just ask for their trust in return.

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