Troubleshooting Google Ads with Zero Impressions

This month’s Ask A PPC: Why Are My Google Ads Approved But Have No Impressions?

Vijay asks: “Why are my Google Ads approved but have no impressions? How do you fix it?”

We’re going to delve into the timely question of why a Google Ad entity (keyword, ad, ad group, and campaign) might not have impressions. While we will focus on the main and solvable reasons, there will always be edge cases. If you have questions beyond these, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Why Doesn’t A Google Entity Have Impressions?

The primary reason for zero impressions is often low search volume. If you’re targeting a long-tail (5+) exact match keyword or a keyword in a hyper-niche industry, that keyword concept may have zero impressions. Additionally, in a brand-new ad account, keywords will struggle to gain traction.

Google typically recommends starting with broader ideas to collect data and optimize the account. Implementing bid caps, whether through bidding strategies, portfolio bidding, or manual bidding, is a common practice to protect your budget.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) can provide insights into search behaviors. Pairing DSA with max clicks and bid caps can give you a sense of industry costs and search volume. Utilizing limited broad match with numerous negatives is another strategy, but be cautious with conversion actions as broad match considers conversions in matching.

It’s essential to understand that some ideas may naturally have lower search volume, especially when introducing a new offering. Visual content can be beneficial, but Performance Max should only be used with at least 30 conversions in a 30-day period.

Another reason for zero impressions could be an ad awaiting approval. Google may take up to two days to approve ads, especially in new accounts. Similarly, ads discussing trademarked terms or credit-related topics often undergo editorial reviews.

Accidental duplicate keywords can also hinder ad serving. If multiple keywords compete for the same traffic, winners and losers will emerge. However, sometimes, these keywords can negate each other, leading to no impressions.

Low impressions can also result from misaligned bids and budgets with the targeted keyword concepts. Google has set a floor for the auction, and insufficient bids or budget allocation will yield zero impressions. Using the Keyword Planner and Google Trends can provide insights into auction prices and search trends.

How Can You Solve Low Impressions?

If low impressions stem from budget or bid constraints, consider exploring other channels or Google properties like display or video. Additionally, platforms like Microsoft or Meta/Instagram might offer cheaper auction prices due to a different buying bias.

If structural issues are the culprit, reducing the number of entities in an ad group or campaign can help. Consider reallocating budget or pausing less valuable ideas to optimize performance.

In campaigns utilizing smart bidding, having too many keyword concepts can lead to winners and losers. Google will pause keywords with zero impressions in the past 13 months to prevent account penalization.

If creative elements are the problem, leverage responsive search and display ads, Performance Max, and Google’s AI for creative assistance. Ensure the creative aligns with your brand standards.

Final Takeaways

Experiencing zero impressions for a keyword or ad can be frustrating. It may be due to low search volume, bid and budget issues, or structural and creative challenges. By broadening your targeting, optimizing bids and budgets, and refining your account structure and creatives, you can enhance your ad performance.

If you have a question about PPC, submit it via this form or tweet @navahf with the #AskPPC hashtag. See you next month!

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