Cannot see my own Google Ads adverts

Tanel Vetik

Digistrateeg

This is something every Google Ads advertiser has come across at least once in their career. We have seen it (or rather not seen it), our clients have asked this question and many people have written about this.  We also wanted to have our own article on this topic. 

Mostly to have some page to send clients who are suffering in the unknown, but also to (hopefully) introduce some new knowledge in the field of finding out why you cannot see your own Google Ads adverts. 

Cannot see google ads

After all, you have invested money and can see clicks happening. So why can I not see my Google Ads adverts? It’s not like I’m planning on clicking on it to just spend my own ad cash. 

There are many reasons why Google are hiding your ads from you. And it’s not just a Google thing, but also programmed to happen on Bing and Yahoo in the West, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russian-speaking regions. In most cases, the reason is somewhere between how you have set up targeting and how the AI works.

Cannot see my own Google Ads adverts

Tanel Vetik

Head of Strategy

This is something every Google Ads advertiser has come across at least once in their career. We have seen it (or rather not seen it), our clients have asked this question and many people have written about this.  We also wanted to have our own article on this topic. 

Mostly to have some page to send clients who are suffering in the unknown, but also to (hopefully) introduce some new knowledge in the field of finding out why you cannot see your own Google Ads adverts. 

After all, you have invested money and can see clicks happening. So why can I not see my Google Ads adverts? It’s not like I’m planning on clicking on it to just spend my own ad cash. 

Cannot see google ads

This is something every Google Ads advertiser has come across at least once in their career. We have seen it (or rather not seen it), our clients have asked this question and many people have written about this.  We also wanted to have our own article on this topic. 

Mostly to have some page to send clients who are suffering in the unknown, but also to (hopefully) introduce some new knowledge in the field of finding out why you cannot see your own Google Ads adverts. 

Cannot see google ads

After all, you have invested money and can see clicks happening. So why can I not see my Google Ads adverts? It’s not like I’m planning on clicking on it to just spend my own ad cash. 

There are many reasons why Google are hiding your ads from you. And it’s not just a Google thing, but also programmed to happen on Bing and Yahoo in the West, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russian-speaking regions. In most cases, the reason is somewhere between how you have set up targeting and how the AI works.

There are many reasons why Google are hiding your ads from you. And it’s not just a Google thing, but also programmed to happen on Bing and Yahoo in the West, Baidu in China, and Yandex in Russian-speaking regions. In most cases, the reason is somewhere between how you have set up targeting and how the AI works.

What happens on the back-end of Google AI

Truthfully, we don’t know. I’ve come to believe that 90% of Google’s employees don’t, either. There’s probably a select group of VIP’s with body armour carrying this secret knowledge in a titanium briefcase, handcuffed to their wrists. It’s that well hidden. 

To our luck, Google have revealed some parts of this, as if intentionally to watch desperate marketing excecs pecking at the breadcrumbs of their powerful algorithm bagel. Then again, if everyone knew how Google’s AI works, there’d be a local John’s Google search engine in every town. 

Marketing and SEO pro’s have united in this effort to understand what Google likes and does not like. There are thousands of articles on this topic, millions of £ have been invested, and some clarity has been achieved. But just to rub salt on the wound, Google are regularly updating these systems. We must start all over. 

Perhaps I went a little overboard, but that’s how it generally feels like. Understanding these algorithms is mostly guesswork and pretty much trial and error. It’s imperative that you keep track of these updates, or yesterday’s tactics will certainly be outdated tomorrow. 

What can you do?

It’s clear that Google’s search engine is an algorithm that uses mathematical equations to match content with intent. Google have stated this repeatedly. That much is clear. Our (and your) job is to leverage this algorithm to perfectly match your products and services with the people who need it the most. 

Let’s take a look at what we know Google takes into account. Well, we don’t know with 100% certainty, but it’s a strong 98%.
We know that the following aspects matter:

  • quality score;
  • landing page content;
  • budget;
  • max. cost per click;
  • how much your competitors are spending;
  • ad copy relevance;
  • targeting;
  • conversion journey;
  • conversion type;
  • detailed persona of previously converted visitors;
  • detailed persona of the person using your search terms;
  • many more criteria that Google may not have yet published.

But why am I not seeing my own Google Ads advert, when it's my business?

The easy answer is that Google do not see you as a potential customer. What are the odds of you clicking on your advert and purchasing your own products or services. You’d probably just walk into the office or warehouse and take one of those products. No need to click on any ads. 

We cannot underestimate the amount of data Google have on each one of us. It’s baffling how much they track. There’s a good chance Google already know it’s your business and to optimise towards purchases, they exclude yourself from seeing your adverts. After all, you can easily preview these adverts in Google Ads Editor or Google Ads Preview Mode. 

For example, a well built Google Ads campaign aims to deliver conversions at the best price possible. Depending on your campaign bidding strategy, you could be paying per click (standard search and display ads), impression (display and YouTube ads), view (YouTube or Performance Max campaigns) or conversion (all of the above, with a bidding target CPA bidding strategy). 

Another reason for not seeing my own Google Ads adverts is misconfigured targeting. For example, if you are targeting 25-35 year old women, living in Birmingham, who regularly consume content from a choice o YouTube channels, then you may not see these adverts if Google do not know you are 25 years old. Even if you do match this targeting segment. It’s a surprisingly common reason for not seeing your own Google Ads campaign in the search results. 

What can you do to fix this

If you’re working with an ad agency then write to them, asking to be sent a preview link for your Google Ads adverts. This way you will see them without having to search the webs. If you just want to see the copy/visual side of things. It’s quite easy to send these previews through Google Ads. 

When working on your own ads and your boss is asking for a progress report. Of course you want to make it visual and include some excerpts of your hard work. Follow these steps: 

  1. Open Google Ads and choose the correct account.
  2. Navigate to the Campaigns view.
  3. From the table in the left, choose “Ads and extensions”. Choose the correct ad. 
  4. Now, click on Edit (the pencil icon works too) and go into the editing menu.
  5. Here you will see Google generate random preview selections of your current ads (you may need to turn off your ad blocker here). 
  6. Take the screenshots and paste them in your email or report.
  7. Be proud of yourself. You did it! 🙂

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