Top 10 Reasons Your Google Ads Aren’t Working

Google Ads can be a great way to generate leads and sales for your business, but only if they are set up correctly. Many businesses make the mistake of not optimizing their Google Ads campaigns, which results in poor performance. In this blog post, we will discuss the top 10 reasons your Google Ads aren’t working…

You’ve Got The Wrong Bid Strategy

One of the most common reasons Google Ads campaigns don’t work is because businesses use the wrong bid strategy. These days Google has such a wide array of bid strategies it can be quite the minefield unless you are working on strategies and in multiple accounts every day.

Search Volume can be a reason for your ads not showing

Often, a switch of bid strategy can lead to a big change in performance or worst case scenario your Ads fizzle out and stop working altogether. These days smart bidding often takes time to learn how to use and configure it for each account you manage, but with the right setup, it can lead to huge performance gains.

Ensuring your account has enough data before choosing a performance-based bid strategy is crucial as this will help you avoid any big swings in performance that can occur. Also, it may take much longer to get your ads off the ground by setting up Google Search Campaigns with the wrong bid strategy.

If you’re not sure which bid strategy to use, consult with an experienced Google Ads professional like our team.

Your Google Ads Account Needs A Relevancy Check

If your Google Ads account is not relevant, it will not work. Relevancy is key when it comes to Google Ads. Make sure your ad groups are relevant to the keywords you’re targeting, and that your landing pages are also relevant.

At Move Ahead Media we refer this to the circle of relevance. The three key areas that need to be relevant are;

  • Ad Groups
  • Landing Page
  • Keywords

Negative Keyword Lists

Make sure your ad group level and campaign organization is on point. Generally, the main reason to have a campaign is to control your budget. From there on it’s all about ad groups and keeping them tight. Some PPC experts are now using SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Groups) to keep relevancy super high.

If you are brand new to Google Ads then the best way to start to keep your relevancy high is to build your Google Ads account around the structure of your current website. This way you can be sure that there is a landing page on your website for every keyword you want to target. If you then find there are a number of keywords or “ad groups” that are not on your website. Then you can make a content plan for improving your website and adding more landing pages.

Your Landing Page Is Poor

Pages effect on Ad Rank

Following on from the above point, landing page content can play a huge part in the relevancy of your Google Ads account. If you are selling “red shoes” make sure the landing page you are directing people to is also about red shoes. It seems like common sense but we see this mistake being made all too often!

Include CTAs, since humans need telling what to do. Once they have read your amazing landing page and are convinced they need your product or service, you then need to tell them what to do. Add a CTA (call-to-action) telling them to “Buy Now” or “Sign Up Here”. If you don’t include a CTA then often people will just leave your website.

If your landing page is slow loading and doesn’t have the right content or offering to the client’s needs, then it’s going to make it really hard to get the desired results from Google Ads. Make sure your landing pages are high quality and easy to use and this will improve your ad rank. There are a whole host of site speed checkers there, with all the recommended fixes which will ensure you don’t lose people before they even get a chance to view your content.

You’re Showing For The Wrong Keywords

If you’re not targeting the right keywords, then your Google Ads won’t work. Make sure to research your keywords and target those that are most relevant to your business whilst keeping in mind keyword search volume. Keyword research is the foundation of any Google Ads campaign.

Even if you get the keyword research correct you can still get it wrong within Google Ads. The reason for this is Keyword Match Types.

Phrase Match Keyword vs Exact Match Keywords

There are four keyword match types in Google Ads which are broad match, modified broad, phrase match and exact match. Depending on which match type you choose will determine how wide or narrow your targeting is within Google AdWords. If you select the wrong match type it can result in your ads showing irrelevant searches which will cost you money and not generate the results you desire.

One thing to be careful of with Google is their recommendation to not have any match types and go “broad”. This effectively gives full control to Google as to the keywords they can show you. At Move Ahead Media we have had a mixed bag of results when adopting this strategy and it’s important to be very hands-on and ensure you have a liquid-tight negative keyword list.

Negative Keyword lists are a list of words that you do not want your ads to show for. By building out negative keywords you are able to further control the relevancy of your Google Ads and ensure they are as targeted as possible.

Negative Keywords

Check Your Location Settings

Over the years we have seen thousands of dollars wasted in the wrong locations. The reason for this is that businesses have not checked their location settings in their PPC Campaigns.

Google AdWords gives you the ability to target people by country, state/region and even city. If your business is only targeting certain areas then make sure you check your location settings and adjust them accordingly.

Google’s Default setting can often end up costing you money. Showing to people “who have an Interest IN” your location means people who are not even in the same country may see your ads. Purely because they searched for your location recently. In all honesty, Google seems to have improved in the number of wasted clicks over the years. But at Move Ahead Media, we still recommend working with the “People IN” setting for most of our accounts.

Serving ads outside your Desired Location

Your budget is too low to give yourself a chance of Conversions

Negative Keywords

Before you start Google Ads, you should always have a play around with the forecasting tool in the keyword planner. This can give you recommended budgets, search volume and CPC bids for all your target keywords. A common mistake is not starting with the right budget to gather enough data in Google ads. Once you have the data you can then make an educated decision as to whether Google Ads is the right marketing channel for your business and any areas for optimisation.

If you’re only spending $100 a month on Google Ads, it’s going to be really hard to generate any conversions. Think about the value of your product and what your competitors are probably willing to pay to make this work, multiplied by the number of leads you are looking to receive. This should give you an easy way to figure out a monthly budget.

Also, make sure you’re increasing your budget as your campaigns become more successful so you can continue to capitalize on that success.

Strengthen Your Ad Copy And Your Offers In Your Ads

08 Top10reasons

Ad text plays a huge part in your success on Google Ads. Ad text is what appears on your ad and should be clear, concise and to the point. Ad text should also highlight any unique selling points or benefits of your product/service.

Your offer is what you are actually offering the customer e.g. 20% off, free shipping etc. Your offer needs to be strong enough to encourage people to come to your website and make the call or purchase.

Don’t forget you are going to be up against 3 or 4 other people on page 1. So make it catchy and ensure it stands out from the crowd. Think of it as a crowded elevator pitch – you have a few seconds to make an impression. So make it count!

Ad extensions give you more real estate in your ads and are additional pieces of information that can win your clients over and take them to the right landing page of your site. Ad extensions can include things like call buttons, location, site links, and previous visits.

A good ad means good Click-Through Rates. CTRs play a huge part in how Google calculates ad rank. As is a clear indicator to them as to whether ads are relevant and attractive to the user’s search query. So making those killer ads can really have a massive effect on your overall bang for buck and CPCs.

Your Quality Scores Are Too Low

Quality Score of Targeted Keywords

We will cover Google Ads quality score in more detail in its own blog. But in brief, checking your keywords quality score on a regular basis is key to long-term PPC Campaign Success.

Keep this as simple as possible. A quality score is a number that Google gives your ad, which is a measure of how relevant and useful your ad, keyword, and landing page are to the person who sees it. The higher the quality score, the less you pay per click and the better position your ad will be in.

A high-quality score means:

  • Higher Ad positions at a lower cost
  • More impressions as your ad will be more likely to show
  • Better clickthrough rates, as users are more likely to click on ads that seem relevant

There are many ways to improve your quality score but the main ones are making sure your keywords and ads are tightly themed, landing pages are relevant to the keywords you’re trying to bid on.

Price or Other Market Factors

Ad Auction Insights

Sometimes you have to think outside the interface with Google Ads. If you are an E-commerce site then without doubt pricing is going to affect the performance of your PPC Ads. Given that a portion of every market, are likely to be price sensitive. You can actually get Price Analysis & Optimisation tools and you may want to do some A/B Testing on pricing to see if it has an effect on the performance of your Google ads account.

Frequent competitor Analysis is also a good idea. If a competitor launches a new product or website, this could have an effect on your AdWords account and you need to be aware of it. You can do this by setting up Google Alerts for your main competitors so you are kept in the loop with their latest news and events.

Make sure your value proposition is on point. If it isn’t then you will have to reassess what your offer is to the customer and how this differs from the competition.

Regularly Check Auction Insights. After all, Google is an ad auction. See how many of those auctions you are winning, by viewing your Auction Insights. You can do this at both campaign and ad group levels. Different players or even Big players from outside of your normal competitors can often jump in and out of your industry keywords, and this can massively affect your performance.

Being too Hands Off

There are 9 points above this one and we could probably do another 10 with ease. But if you’ve made it this far, you will probably be mentally calculating the amount of time all of the above will take.

Being too hands-off can be a big reason your Google Ads account is not performing. If you’re not regularly monitoring your campaigns, then you’re likely to see a gradual decline in performance over time. This is because as the landscape changes, so do people’s search habits and what they are looking for when they type certain queries into Google.

So there you have it! Our top ten… But we haven’t finished. Because of the title of this blog you may also be looking for reasons why your ads are not running at all. So we have put together some bonus info just in case.

Bonus Info:

Some of the common reasons your ads are not running at all are:

  • Check your card or payment method
  • Ad Schedule is set wrong
  • Your account could be suspended for Policy Violations.
  • Your ad’s status could be “paused”
  • You might have an AdWords spend limit in place
  • There could be a problem with your campaign’s settings
  • Your Ads are disapproved
  • Trademark issues


So we have had a look at the 10 common reasons your Google Ads account may not be working and trust me, the list could quite easily go on! If you’ve tried all of these and your Google Ads still aren’t working, it may be time to seek help. We can manage your account for you so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. Get in touch today and let us show you how we can increase traffic to your website through our expert management of your Google Ads campaign.

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