Fix issues with Display campaigns

If your Display campaign isn't performing as expected, it may be due to specific problems with your ads, bidding, targeting, conversion tracking, remarketing setup, or campaign settings.

To troubleshoot these issues, try the following:

  • Use the Why you may not see your ad troubleshooter to get a list of reasons why you might not see your ad, along with the steps to fix the problem.
  • Consult our list of the most common issues, and how to fix them, at the bottom of this article.
  • Use the tools in AdWords to find and fix the issues. Instructions on how to use the different tools are in the Troubleshooting your Display campaign section below.
    • The old AdWords experience uses tools such as the setup health dashboard and the tag validator.
    • The new AdWords experience uses Status review and Audience manager.

Troubleshooting your Display campaign

 

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more

In the new AdWords experience, you can view alerts and gain information about many issues affecting your display entities by viewing the "Status review" card in the "Overview" page. Learn more about Status review.

  1. In the navigation panel, click on Display campaigns or the name of an individual campaign.
  2. Click on Overview from the page menu on the left, to the right of the navigation bar.
    • You will find the “Status review” card to the right of the performance chart.
  3. Click on View or on any of the alerts in the "Status review" card to see the full list of alerts.
  4. Click on any of the alert cards to expand the alert and view more information.
    • If you clicked in through an alert on the “Status review” card, the alert you clicked through will automatically expand.

Keep in mind

Alerts may take about one day to refresh and update.

Types of alerts

The Overview page will surface important account status information to help you understand and resolve issues with your Display campaigns, remarketing campaigns, ads, ad groups, and audience sources. You’ll find 3 types of alerts: 

  • Critical performance issues that require a resolution for your ads to continue serving
  • Issues that require attention to reach the full potential of your ads and maintain a healthy campaign
  • Statuses informing you that your audience sources, feeds, and conversion tracking are working as expected

Other tag reporting places in AdWords

You can also see if your remarketing tag is working through the Audience sources section of the Audience manager.

 

Common issues for Display campaigns

Ads not showing

Why this is important 

Keeping your ads running is one of the most important aspects of a successful campaign. To walk through each potential issue one by one, try the troubleshooting exercise Why you may not see your ad

Common alerts for issues that prevent ads from showing

Restrictive targeting

Your ad group targeting is too restrictive to show ads.
Alert message Your ad group's ads aren't reaching people
Solution

Reach can be limited under the following circumstances: 

  • Narrow targeting within one targeting method
  • Layering different targeting methods in the same ad group
  • Using multiple exclusions
  • Campaign settings that restrict reach such as targeting a small geographic location

If your ad group reaches too few people, it won’t show ads. For example, if your ad group targets audiences, placements and keywords at the same time, you may not find many people who match all of those targeting methods at once. Try removing some of those targeting methods and adding them as Observations instead.

Learn more

Best practice Use the reach estimates tool to estimate potential reach.

Bids too low

Your current bid amount is too low for your ads to be competitive.
Alert message The bids in your ad group are too low to show your ads
Solution

Increase your bids to improve your chances of showing ads to potential customers. For example, new competition or shifts in market trends could require a higher bid than what you’ve been using.

Adjust your bid in "Campaign settings." Learn more

Best practice Use the bid simulator to find the optimal bid amount for your business goals.

Incompatible targeting and ads

The old AdWords experience doesn't allow certain types of targeting combinations on the Display Network. If your ads are set up with targeting that isn't compatible, your ads may not run, causing an alert in the dashboard. Some of them aren't obvious, so the dashboard is a great place to make sure your campaign targeting is able to work. 

Why this is important

When your ads and targeting don't work together, you may not reach your potential customers. Sometimes, AdWords ad types aren't meant to be used with specific targeting methods, and if that's the only ad type or targeting method in your ad group or campaign, your ads won't be able to run at all.

Please note that if you switch to the new AdWords experience, any incompatible targeting set up in the old AdWords experience will carry over and still require troubleshooting.

Common alerts for incompatible targeting and ads

  • Gmail ads aren't compatible with custom affinity audiences.
  • Only Gmail ads in a Gmail campaign subtype are eligible to show with remarketing lists or similar audiences. Other campaign types will not be eligible to run Gmail ads with remarketing lists or similar audiences.
  • Gmail ads can only run on mail.google.com. Learn more.
  • Non-Gmail ads can’t run on mail.google.com.
  • Customer Match for Display can only run with Gmail ads.

Remarketing tags and feeds

The dashboard can also show if there are any critical issues with your remarketing tag, including custom parameters, or with feeds connected through "Business data" or a Merchant Center account. These are used with your remarketing lists to create dynamic display ads.

Why this is important

If your tag isn't working, then your remarketing lists may not populate, and you won't be able to use these lists for targeting. If the list membership is too low, your ads may not be able to show for privacy reasons.

Note

 
The number of users in your remarketing lists includes all active and inactive users worldwide. Since your ads will only be able to show to users who are in your campaigns' targeted locations and who are active on the networks you are targeting (for example Google Display Network, Search Network, YouTube, etc.), the number of users eligible to see your ads may be smaller than the remarketing list membership shown in AdWords.

For dynamic remarketing, tag parameters such as product IDs also help identify which products users viewed. If there are issues with the parameters, the dynamic ads may show less relevant products.

If the number of eligible items in your feed has dropped, or some items have been disapproved, then your dynamic ads won't be able to show relevant products to potential customers. 

Commons alerts for Remarketing tags and feeds

Inactive tag

Your tag hasn't been adding website visitors to your audience lists.
Alert message Your AdWords tag hasn't been active in the last week
Solution

Review the tag instructions. Then, validate your tag and check that you've added the custom parameters for your business type.

Click on REVIEW TAG INSTRUCTIONS in the alert card for directions on how to access and change your tag code.

Learn more

Best practice Use the Audience manager to compare tags.

Other common issues for Display campaigns 

Budget Low

Your ads are showing less than they could, which limits your campaigns from reaching their full potential.
Alert message Your campaign is limited by budget
Solution

Consider increasing your budget. For example, if you notice you’re reaching your budget partway through peak hours, consider increasing the budget a little bit to see if your ads maintain high performance. You may want to consider a larger budget increase if your ads continue to perform well during the hours they hadn’t been showing before.

Click Go to campaign settings to view and change your budget

Learn more

No ads

Ad groups without ads will not run.
Alert message Your ad group doesn't have any ads 
Solution

Add ads to your ad groups. 

Click Go to ads in the alert card to view and assign ads to ad groups.

Best practice Use responsive ads, which adjust their appearances and formats to fit most available ad space. Learn more

Disapproved ads

Your ads can't show unless they are approved by the policy team.
Alert message All ads in your ad group are disapproved
Solution

If there are policy issues, follow the links provided in the alerts to see how to fix them for each of your ads. Once you edit your ads, they'll be sent for review again. For example, your ad may contain inappropriate content, misrepresent you or your product, solicit personal information, or violate a trademark. Learn more

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