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9 Reasons Your Display Ads Aren’t Showing

Posted on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Display, Featured

Google recently launched a full release of the Content Ads Diagnostic Tool (CADT), which is designed to provide greater transparency to Display campaigns and placement of ads across the Google Display Network. With CADT, Google now provides specific reasons why a specific Display ad is not running.

First step:  Go to the Networks tab and Show details for managed placements.

Second step: Hover over the speech bubble icon under the Status column and the diagnostic info will appear, similar to viewing a keyword’s Quality Score diagnosis.

Note: CADT can only diagnose managed placements and topics (even more reason to add automatic placements as managed placements on an ongoing basis). Google plans to support re-marketing and interest categories in the future. 

How to Run a Placement Diagnosis:

Diagnosis Examples:

My initial excitement over this new tool soon fizzled when, upon review of one of my accounts, it was discovered that out of the top 30 performing managed placements, almost 85% of the ads were ineligible for display due to one of the reasons listed below. And out of the 9 diagnoses Google provided, only 3 linked to AdWords help articles on how to improve performance.

9 reasons your Display ads aren’t running:

1)     Your ad is not showing on this placement because it has lost in the auction to more competitive ads.

2)     Your ad shares a similar Display URL with a competing, higher ranking ad.

3)     Based on the targeting keywords you have specified, this page is not relevant enough for your adgroup.

4)     Your bid is too low for your ads to show.

5)     Your ad is not being displayed as your ad is not supported by the publisher.

6)     The combination of your current campaign settings and targeting criteria do not appear to have enough Google AdSense pageviews to be meaningfully diagnosed.

7)     Your ads are currently set to appear to an audience that may not understand the language of the creatives.

8)     This ad is not receiving all the available impressions because your quality score is below our threshold.

9)     This adgroup does not appear to be available for serving. Please try again later.

Google’s new Display tool has the potential to be a very powerful tool for marketers, considering how difficult it is to keep track of where your ads are and aren’t running when dealing with a large number of sites, but it still needs fine tuning in providing actionable account-specific steps to improving performance of your ad.


About Ami Grant

Ami joined The Search Agency in 2004 and has over 9 years of online marketing experience both on the publisher and agency-side. She is responsible for SEM campaign management, strategy, and maximizing ROI. Before joining TSA, Ami was a Senior Content Solutions Editor at Yahoo! Search Marketing, where she spent over 2 years optimizing accounts through keyword generation, creative development, and landing page recommendations. Ami is originally from Austin, TX and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a certified Google AdWords Professional and SEMPO–LA Chapter Member.

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6 Responses to “9 Reasons Your Display Ads Aren’t Showing”

  1. Carmen says:

    Had a similar issue. My ads are not showing on a top site and the reason is number 6: “The combination of your current campaign settings and targeting criteria do not appear to have enough Google AdSense pageviews to be meaningfully diagnosed.”

    I can’t seem to figure out what that means. I took off all the targeting criteria and the ad still is not showing…

    Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Mark F. says:

    Good PR for Google yet not so helpful in application.

    Kinda of a bummer.

  3. Bobby says:

    Yeah this feature really inst too helpful. In some adgroups I still receive impressions, albeit a few impressions but still I receive them but the message I receive tells me I am not serving ads.

    Also, do you know what this message is suppose to mean?

    “this adgroup does not appear to be serving. please try again later”

    The GDN needs a complete overhaul in my opinion and we should be able to target pages much more effectively. It would also help if all pages with display ads were targetable by default. It really doesn’t help much when we have to wait for the automatic placements to finally produce websites worthy of advertising come through so we can manage them. Instead we are left waiting and wasting money for relevant sites to appear in the right adgroups. Unless you have lots of money to spend, the GDN isn’t in my opinion a good marketing channel. Its very time consuming and daily management is needed.

  4. We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with helpful information to paintings on. You have done an impressive job and our entire group shall be thankful to you.

  5. nice tips for
    why Not Display Ads Showing adwords

  6. Good article, just would like a little more depth to explain the various error messages to help diagnosis.


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