This article was inspired by a client who recently asked that exact question. Read on to discover the answer.
Although Google doesn’t recommend searching for your own ads, it’s a tempting option because it seems like the easiest way to find out if your ads are running and how they look in the Google search results. This is particularly tempting when your ads are new, or you’ve recently started working with an AdWords agency, and you’re not sure how it all works.
Actually, the best way to know if your ads are being shown is to look in your account and see if impressions are accruing. An impression occurs every time your ad is shown, so if your account shows 100 impressions for a day, then your ad has been shown 100 times. Keep in mind that every time you search for your own ad and see it but don’t click on it, your ads accrue an impression. Impressions with no clicks means a lower Click Through Rate, which can reduce the Quality Score of your keywords and therefore the overall quality of your ad campaign.
Despite the downside you’ll probably still want to search for your own ads. And here will be times when you search and don’t see it. Here are the three most common reasons why.
1. Your Budget
The objective of an AdWords campaign is to generate targeted traffic to website. There are a lot of factors related to how many clicks are possible in a day, but a key factor is your daily budget.
If you have an unlimited daily budget, or at least a daily budget that is way bigger than can possibly be spent in a day, then your ad will be shown frequently throughout the day.
However, the reality for most small businesses is that their daily budget is lower than what you could possibly spend in a day. In this situation Google AdWords will only show your ad enough times in a day to get enough clicks to use up your budget. Also, if your Campaign is set to ‘accelerated’ rather than ‘showing ads evenly’ then your budget might be used up earlier in the day.
For example, if your budget is $20 per day, and your clicks cost $2 each, Google will only show your ads enough to get 10 clicks. The amount of times the ad is shown depends upon how good your ad campaign is, and the Click Through Rate, but often when a Campaign is “limited by budget” your ads won’t be shown each and every time someone searches for one of your keywords.
Once your budget is reached during the day, your ads will stop showing.
2. The Phonomena of Self Googling
When you search for your own ads regularly, but never click on them, guess what, Google will start showing you someone else’s ads instead, hoping that you’ll be more interested and click on them!
An alternative to self Googling is to use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool that’s found via the “Tools” navigation link in AdWords to find out if there are any issues with your ads.
Or, as mentioned above, check for impressions in your account.
3. You’re outside the target area of your Campaign
When your AdWords Campaign is set up, you select the target area. This might be a Country, like Australia, a city, like Melbourne, or a specific local area, like 16 kms around your office address.
Given that only people in your target area can see your ads (unless they include a location based search term) if you are outside the target area you won’t see them.
If you really want to see the local Google search results that people in a different part of your Country see, select “search tools” in Google and change the location.
It’s also worth mentioning that if your ads are scheduled to run during specific hours, then you’ll never see them when they are scheduled to be off.
Are you a self Googler? Feel free to share your feedback in the comments.
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.