Occasionally, you may find that your Shopping campaigns are not serving as many impressions as you would expect, or are not spending much of your set daily budget. A Shopping campaign or products may not serve due to issues at either the Google Ads side or Merchant Center. In this article, we’ll outline common reasons why your ads may not be serving, and how you can troubleshoot using the tools in Google Ads and Merchant Center.
Before you begin
What to expect when a campaign is enabled
If you recently enabled your Shopping campaign, it can take some time for your campaign to start serving impressions. There are a few reasons for this:
- It takes 24-48 hours for newly created or edited ads, creatives, assets, products, or feeds to be reviewed in Google Ads and Merchant Center to ensure they meet all policy requirements.
- For campaigns using automated bidding strategies, there may be performance fluctuations or changes in spend as Google Ads learns to optimize towards your set goal. Learn more about the duration of the learning period
- It may take Google Ads some time to adjust serving if you make changes to your campaign settings.
Recommendations help highlight opportunities to improve performance when your Shopping campaign is not running or is getting low traffic. For example, you can look out for the following example recommendation types when troubleshooting these issues.
Common recommendation types to fix campaigns not running:
- Campaign hasn’t started or has ended
- Create or unpause an ad group
- Fix Merchant Center account suspension
- Account budget exhausted
Common recommendation types to fix low traffic:
- Adjust your ROAS targets
- Adjust your budgets
- Fix disapproved products in your Shopping campaigns
If your ad still isn’t receiving any impressions after 3 business days, check the reasons listed in this article.
15 common reasons why your Shopping ads are not running or are getting low traffic
1. Account issues
If your account is suspended, or if you have a billing issue on your account, you won’t be able to run your ads until the problem is resolved. Keep in mind that if other campaigns in your account are running, you don’t have to check on the status of your Google Ads account.
- For account suspensions, use our suspended account tool to automatically check your account status
- For billing issues:
- If you pay by monthly invoicing, check your account budgets. If your total campaign costs reach the designated amount in the account budget before your set end date, all ads in the account will stop running. Learn how to create or edit an account budget.
- Check your Billing Summary or Transactions pages for declined payments. Your account may stop running until you pay off the outstanding balance.
Go to the Billing summary page in your Google Ads account
2. Merchant Center account issues
If all Shopping campaigns in your Google Ads account are not serving, check your Merchant Center account to confirm whether it is suspended or if the accounts are linked correctly. If the account is suspended, a banner will appear notifying you of the account status. You need to resolve any of these account issues before the shopping campaign can serve.
Go to the Account issues tab in your Merchant Center account
- Check on your Google Ads and Merchant Center account linking status.
- Check your account for account-level enforcement for product data quality violations.
- Check your account for account-level enforcement for policy violations.
3. Date ranges and campaign start and end dates
Google Ads shows you performance data for the date range that you select. Your campaign will show no impressions outside of the date range your campaign has been active.
- Check that the date range includes your campaign’s start and end dates.Note: The pre-configured date range settings (for example, “Last 7 days”) won’t include today’s date. Learn more about date ranges in Google Ads.
4. Targeting overlaps with other accounts, campaigns, or ad groups
You may have multiple Shopping campaigns or ad groups in your account that are eligible to enter overlapping auctions due to similar targeting. Depending on preferences determining which one of your ads ultimately enters a given auction (e.g. location, priority, products), traffic might shift from one campaign to another that has similar targeting.
- Checking product targeting overlaps between campaigns from the same Google Ads account:
- Sign in to your Google Ads account.
- In the subpage menu on the left, click Products.
- Select Diagnostics.
- Click into products in the “Ready to Serve” status will help understand if there are product targeting overlaps.
- Checking product targeting overlaps between campaigns from different Google Ads accounts:
Go to Linked accounts in your Merchant Center account
- Review if there are other Google Ads accounts linked to this Merchant Center account.
- If yes, check the Shopping campaigns set up in the other Google Ads accounts to see if the same product is being promoted.
- If you’d like to have multiple Shopping campaigns, you will need to ensure that the campaigns are running at different times using ad scheduling or targeting different products or targeting different locations or running on different campaign priorities or linked to different Merchant Center accounts.
5. Local Inventory Ads setup
If the campaign is a Local Inventory campaign, ensure that the setting is enabled to run these ads.
- Click the Settings tab from the left side of the screen.
- Select the campaign you’d like to edit.
- Click the Additional settings arrow, and then click Local inventory ads.
- Check the box to enable local inventory ads.
- Click Save.
6. Ad schedule setup
Your campaign's ad schedule determines when your ads will show. If the ad schedule is not set up during appropriate times it may limit your ad serving.
- Review the Ad schedule settings and make sure the campaign is running.
7. Products are not eligible to serve
The fastest way to verify if products in a Shopping campaign are eligible to serve is to check the Products tab.
- Navigate to the campaign in question.
- Click on the Products tab on the left and then Diagnostics.
- Verify if products are in status "Ready to serve".
8. Outdated product groups
When setting up which products to run from your Shopping campaign in product groups, you can target all products or can select specific products by filtering. If attributes change in the Merchant Center feed, the product group is not automatically updated in Google Ads.
Example: If the product group was targeting only certain products that are no longer in the Merchant Center feed.
- Navigate to the campaign in question.
- Click on the Products tab on the left and then Diagnostics.
- Verify how many products are in status ‘Ready to serve’.
9. Expired data feed
Merchant Center data feeds need to be uploaded every 30 days, after which time they expire. If a feed is expired, any Shopping campaigns that use this feed will not be able to serve.
Check if your feed is expired in your Merchant Center account:
Go to your Merchant Center account
- Go to the Products tab, then click Feeds.
- Click into the feed and check the last upload date.
- If it’s been more than 30 days since the last feed upload, the feed is now expired and a new feed will need to be uploaded
10. Expired items via the “expiration date” attribute
If products have been uploaded into the Merchant Center feed along with the expiration_date attribute, these products will not serve after the date included.
- Check the products in the feed to confirm if their expiration date has not passed.
11. Bid limitations and optimization goals
While it may be possible to serve ads with a very low bid, your campaign is not likely to enter or win as many auctions and your ads may not have any impressions. If you are using Smart Bidding and setting ROAS targets without considering historical performance, this may limit the strategy and the campaign may not serve at all.
- Confirm your campaign’s optimization strategy is aligned to your business goals.Example: If your goal is to drive as many conversions as possible within a set budget, use the Maximize conversions strategy.
- With your set optimization goal, consider whether your set manual bid or automated bidding target is achievable based on historical performance. If you are using Smart bidding, you can incentivize the system to bid higher and potentially get more impressions by lowering ROAS targets.Example: If you’re using target ROAS bidding and your target ROAS is significantly higher than your historical average ROAS, your target ROAS may not be attainable while maintaining reasonable levels of traffic, and you should consider reducing your target.
12. Targeting is too narrow
While targeting settings help you find the right set of users most interested in your business, each time you add targeting or if you have issues with your remarketing lists, you narrow the potential reach of your ads.
- Products: If your campaign is targeting only a few products, your Shopping campaigns may not be able to serve. Learn more about adding products to your campaign.
- Negative keywords: Setting up negative keywords may prevent your product listing ads from showing for those search terms. Check your setup and make sure that none of your negative keywords are potentially blocking the products you are targeting.
- Campaign inventory filter: You can set up an inventory filter in your Shopping campaign. This can be done if you want the Shopping campaign to target specific products. Sometimes this may be set up incorrectly.
- Audience targeting: If the number of users on the list is below our requirements, the campaign will not run.
- Location targeting: Targeting one postal code, a small radius, or a city with a low population may limit your campaign’s reach or prevent it from serving. Add additional locations to your targeting.
13. Conversion tracking issues
If your campaign is using Automated bidding to optimize towards conversions, but is not getting sufficient conversion data or your conversion tracking is not set up correctly, your ad may have limited serving.
- Check your conversion tracking setup using the Conversion tracking status troubleshooter.
14. Ad policy review status
The review status of your ads or products can impact your campaign’s ability to serve. Your Shopping ads should not have a status that is "Disapproved or Under Review or Approved (limited)" as this will not serve. Hover over your campaign’s status to see what percentage of ads are eligible to show.
Go to Policy manager in your Google Ads account
- Use Policy Manager to see policy restrictions of ads, keywords, and extensions across your entire account.
15. Auction dynamics
Other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions as you can affect your campaign’s ability to serve. For example, If a new advertiser begins entering the same auctions as your campaign, this can affect how many impressions your ads receive.
- Auction insights report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions that you are. This info can help you make decisions about your bidding and budget.
- Use Impression share data, specifically Lost Search IS (ad rank), to help you identify the percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Search Network due to low Ad Rank in the auction. In order to minimize Lost Search IS (ad rank), improve your ad quality and your bids.