Keyword Planner: Fix issues with traffic forecasts

This article applies to the previous AdWords experience. Determine which AdWords experience you’re using.

If you’re using the new AdWords experience, read About Keyword Planner in the new AdWords experience.

In some cases, the traffic forecasts you see in Keyword Planner may seem lower than expected or different from the traffic your ad is actually getting. Or, you may have trouble seeing traffic forecasts altogether.

This article reasons why you might not be seeing traffic forecasts in Keyword Planner and what you can do to fix them.

Table isn't showing forecasts

Enter bid amount

If you see dashes "-" in all of the columns in the table, it's probably because you need to enter a cost-per-click (CPC) bid to get detailed traffic forecasts. To get forecasts in the table, simply enter a bid amount in the bid field above the graph or select a bid from the graph.

Average position forecasts

If you see a dash "-" instead of a number in the average position ("Avg. Pos.") column, we've determined that your ad will likely not get impressions on Google search and other search sites. We use samples of the historical ad performance for your ads and other ads that use similar keywords to calculate the average position. In general, you'll see a "-" when the combination of various factors like your cost-per-click (CPC) bid and clickthrough rate (CTR) aren't sufficient to earn an ad position. Try increasing your CPC bid to get an average position forecast.

Forecasts are limited by your budget

Sometimes, the maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bids that are in the graph will be shaded. This means that our system predicts that your budget can't accommodate all of the clicks and impressions available for your keywords for those shaded max CPC bids.

In addition to seeing a shaded section in the graph, you might also see that the line in the graph curves downward. This means that the predicted number of clicks your keywords might get are decreasing as your max CPC bid increases.

To get more clicks and impressions, we recommend doing the following:

  • Increase your daily budget. By increasing your budget, your ads might get more clicks and impressions.
  • Lower your max CPC bid. Lowering your bid might reduce the average amount you pay when someone clicks your ads, with the potential for your budget to go further and get more clicks.


Let's say you got forecasts for keywords ideas that you'd like to use in your campaign advertising your Cabo luxury resort. On the forecasts page, you entered a daily budget of US$500 and saw that a range of max CPC bids are shaded on the graph.

Now, let's say you'd like to choose one of those shaded bids. If you set a bid of US$1, then your keywords might get about 500 clicks. If you raise your bid to US$2, now your keywords might only get about 250 clicks. That's because your daily budget of US$500 is limiting the number of clicks your keywords might get as you increase your bid.

Forecasts are low

When you use Keyword Planner, you'll see approximations of ad position, and number of clicks and impressions you might receive each day. By increasing your cost-per-click (CPC) bid, you can often improve your results. However, you might find that increasing your CPC bid has little effect on your traffic forecasts. This might occur for the following reasons:

  • Historical ad performance: In its calculations, Keyword Planner includes samples of historical ad performance for your ads and other ads using similar keywords. If the overall clickthrough rate (CTR) for this sampling is consistently low, you'll see lower click predictions reflected in your forecasts.Try improving your CTR, which might increase your forecasts in the future.
  • Search analysis: To provide accurate traffic forecasts, we monitor keyword and search patterns. Any low forecasts you get might be due to a lack of searches for your specific keyword or keyword phrase. In this situation, try different keywords or keyword combinations. To do so, click the Search for keywords button.
  • Google Network policies: Sites that partner with Google to show ads (search partners) have different policies for what types of ads can appear on their pages or products. For example, some search partners only accept family-safe ads. Keyword Planner accounts for these policy variations among search partners, and displays forecasts accordingly. While advertising on the Search Network can increase your exposure to potential customers, the traffic forecasts you see may not always reflect this.
Traffic your ad gets is different than Keyword Planner's forecasts

Keyword Planner uses information from the dynamic ads system to project possible results on Google and its search partners. Here are some reasons why your traffic forecasts may be different than your actual results:

  • You recently created an AdWords account: If you're a new advertiser, your forecasts are based on historical average data for all advertisers because we don't know anything about your particular business yet. We provide a rough average for your guidance until we know more about how your ads are performing.
  • Your ads run on the Display Network: Your forecasts are for the Search Network, and don't include forecasts for the number of clicks your ads might receive on the Display Network, including placements that you choose. You can expect more traffic than what's predicted if your ads run on the Display Network as well.
  • You are targeting a small geographic region: You can expect results to be less accurate if you're targeting a small geographic location, simply because we have less data on which to base predictions.
  • You have the same, or very similar, keywords in different campaigns: Regardless of how many ads you have running on a single keyword, we'll show only one on each search results page. This means if you have similar or identical keywords in different ad groups or campaigns, your keywords are competing against each other. While Keyword Planner tries to account for competition among similar and identical keywords that appear across ad groups in the same campaign, its forecasts for these keywords might be less accurate. Keyword Planner doesn't look at keywords across campaigns, so cross-campaign competition won't be accounted for in your forecasts.
  • Your plan or keyword list contains similar keywords that you're getting traffic forecasts for: If you estimate clicks for two or more similar keywords, Keyword Planner tries to predict how traffic will be divided between the overlapping terms. As a result, your forecasts will be less accurate.
  • A full week of data is averaged to provide a daily forecast: Forecasts are based on one week of data, and are averaged to provide daily forecasts. Day-to-day traffic will vary, so consider an entire week's average rather than a single day's forecast.
Low average position

If you raise the maximum cost-per-click (max CPC) bid for your keywords, you can generally expect your ad to show closer to the top of the search results page. However, here are some cases when increasing your max CPC bid may lower your average position:

  • Your original bid was very low: If your bid is very low, people may only see your ad once other advertisers have spent all their daily budget. In this case, your ad may achieve a relatively high position, but it will only show a small number of times -- which means it may get few impressions. If you raise your bid, your ad may show alongside other advertisers before they've spent all their budget. In this case, you might gain additional impressions, but your ad might show at a lower position than it would once other advertisers' ads stopped showing. These additional impressions might lower your ad's overall average position.
  • Your bid is high enough for your ad to show in the top position: If you raise your bid and nothing changes, Keyword Planner is predicting that your bid is high enough for your ad to show in the top position. If you'd like your ad to receive more clicks, you can try increasing your daily budget.
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