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Fix issues with Display campaigns

For Display campaigns, there's a simple place to find and fix many issues with your account set up. Sometimes, these issues can prevent your ads from being able to run. This article clarifies where you can find these alerts, and what they mean for your account. 

Before you begin

Try walking through the troubleshooting process for ads in general first. To learn more about why your ads may not be appearing, read Why you may not see your ad

How it works

If you're running an AdWords campaign on the Display Network, you'll be able to see a "Display Network" tab at the top of the page. In the "Display Network" tab, you'll land in your "Summary" tab — this is where you'll see how your Display Network campaigns are performing. In the top corner, you should see a link to any issues. These links appear at both the campaign and ad group level, so you can check the set up health for each of your ad groups too. 

Account set up health dashboard

When you click the link, you'll be able to see descriptions of any issues that came up when running your ads. These can be related to targeting, bidding, budget, or your remarketing and conversion tracking tags. 

To see how to troubleshoot these issues at the campaign or account level, click the View all button. For ad groups, you can click the Fix it button.  

Keep in mind

Alerts may take about a day to refresh and update in your dashboard. 

Types of alerts

There are a couple different types of issues that this dashboard can help with. The most common ones relate to your ads, your targeting methods, your bids, or your conversion tracking. For advertisers using remarketing, there are also alerts related to remarketing tags and feeds (if you're running dynamic ads).

Ads not serving

If your ads aren't running, the dashboard might show a few different reasons why. 

Example alerts

  • Targeting: Your targeting is too restrictive for ads to serve
  • Ads: Your ads aren’t running because some of them have been disapproved
  • Bids: Your bids are too low for your ads to run 

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

Incompatible targeting and ads

AdWords disallows certain types of targeting combinations on the Display Network. If your ads are set up with targeting that isn't compatible, your ads won't run, and you could get 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. 

Example alerts

  • Gmail ads aren't compatible with custom affinity audiences, remarketing and remarketing-based similar audiences.  
  • Gmail ads are compatible with Customer Match, but they can only run on mail.google.com. Learn more
  • Non-Gmail ads can’t run on mail.google.com

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.  

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.

Account set up health modules

Example alerts

  • For tagging: your tag activity has dropped, or your tag has errors in the HTML code 
  • For feeds: the items in your feed have been disapproved

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. 

For dynamic remarketing, tag parameters such as product IDs also help identify which products users viewed, and if there are issues with the parameters, the dynamic ads may show products that are not as relevant.

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. 

Other tag reporting places in AdWords

There are two places in AdWords where you can see if your remarketing tag is firing. One is in the setup health dashboard, and the other is the remarketing tag validator, within the Shared Library, in the "Audiences" page. The remarketing tag validator can sometimes show different information than what's in the set up dashboard, however they both can bring important issues to light. One of the reasons they could show different alerts is because of the time windows for when they collect data from your website. 

The remarketing tag validator

The remarketing tag validator appears in the "Shared library", in the Audiences section. The tag validator box is in the upper corner.

What is shows:

  • Whether or not your remarketing tag is firing
  • Details for which custom parameters are active 
  • Reports of tag firing rates and errors

Learn more

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