How to fix common issues with Google display campaigns

Display campaigns allow you to show ads on the Google Display Network, which reaches millions of people browsing on desktop or mobile, checking email, and watching videos on YouTube. When serving ads on the Display Network, general or Display-specific issues can affect your campaign performance.

In this article, you’ll learn about the most common Display campaign issues and how to troubleshoot these issues.

Are your ads serving properly, but not performing to your standards? You can troubleshoot bidding, budget, targeting and other common issues in the performance issues and additional issues sections.

7 reasons why your ads may not be serving

1. Ad is new and still indexing

In some cases, it may take up to 24 hours to start seeing impressions in your campaign reporting. Because of this, it can take time to index newly eligible ads.

Next step: We recommend that you wait 24 hours after creating or updating an ad before making budget, bidding, and targeting changes or resubmitting your ad.

2. Ad is not eligible

Ad status describes whether an ad is eligible to run, and if so, whether there are any restrictions on how or when it can run.

Next steps:

  • Check whether your ads are eligible in Ads & extensions. In the ads table, there will be a “Status” column. Hover over each status to see a more detailed explanation of what the status means.

Go to Ads & extensions in your Google Ads account

3. Account is inactive

Your account may be inactive due to invalid billing information.

Next steps:

Go to Preferences in your Google Ads account
Go to Transactions in your Google Ads account

4. Account is suspended

Your account may be suspended. If we detect an egregious policy violation, such as violation of age requirements, your account will be suspended immediately and without prior warning. For other policy violations that lead to account suspension, we will send you a warning to outline the nature of the policy violation and any remedial action that can be taken, in order to comply. This email notification will be sent at least 7 days before suspension action.

Next step: Check your account status in the suspended account tool.

5. Account is under review

Google Ads may periodically review accounts for security purposes and to verify billing information. If your account is under review, your ads won't show. This process is designed for your protection and to maintain the quality and security of Google Ads. You will be notified by an in-account notification and email notification if your account is under review. 

Next step: Learn about Google Ads account pausing as well as how you can appeal a policy decision

6. Ad Group has no saved ads

If you have no ads saved to your ad group or campaign and no ads that are eligble and able to serve, your campaign or ad group won’t run.

Next step: Learn how to create responsive display ads in your ad groups .

7. Audience segments are disabled, removed, or revoked

If any of your data audience segments (formerly known as "remarketing lists") are disapproved, you'll see the status of your data segments changed to “Disabled” due to policy violation in your Google Ads account, and you'll receive an email about the issue. Campaigns targeting disabled segments will not serve. Additionally, if any audience segments are revoked or unshared from other accounts, the campaigns and ad groups targeting those revoked segments will not serve.

Next steps:

  • For disabled audience segments, remove the disabled segments from the ad group or campaign targeting those segments.
  • For revoked or unshared segments, please either re-share the segments with the account in question or remove the unshared segments from the ad group or campaign targeting those segments. You can find the disabled segments by going to the Audience Manager and clicking on “Audience Segments” on the left panel and then checking for “Closed” under the “Membership status” column next to the segments that are disabled.

Go to Audience manager in your Google Ads account

3 reasons why your ads are having performance issues: bidding, budget or targeting (may also prevent ads from serving)

When your bid or budget is too low or your targeting is too narrow, your ad may not show as frequently as you'd like or may not show at all. This happens when other ads are winning the auction over your ad due to low bid or low budget or because your targeting is so narrow that your specific audience isn’t being found.

If you’re seeing a steep decline in performance, it may be because your ad budget has dropped significantly or your bids were changed. Review your budget and bidding to ensure that they’re both at a level that will allow you to effectively advertise.

1. Targeting is restrictive & other targeting issues

When your ads and targeting aren’t working together, your ad may not be serving. Your targeting may be too restrictive or the ad types you’re using may be incompatible with the specific targeting methods that you’re using.

Problem

Your ad group's ads aren't reaching people

Solution

Reach can be limited under the following circumstances:

  • Using narrow targeting within only 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
  • Targeting a user list without enough active users
  • Revoked or disabled data segment lists

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 about "Targeting" and "Observation" settings.

Best practice

Use the reach estimatesto estimate potential reach.

2. Bids or conversion volume are too low

If your current bid amount is too low for your ads to be competitive, your ads may not serve.

Problem

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.

Adjust your bid in "Campaign settings."

If you’re using automated bidding but your conversion volume is too low, your ads may not serve. To fix this issue, learn how to set your campaign up for success by setting up conversion tracking and following other best practices for improving Display campaign performance.

3. Budget is low

Sometimes budgets are not flexible. In the case that your budget does have some room to expand and budget is limiting your ad serving, read on.

Problem

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. Consider a larger budget increase if your ads continue to perform well during the hours they hadn’t been showing before.

Go to "Campaign settings" to view and change your budget.

Learn more about average daily campaign budgets.

Additional common issues

Incompatible settings

  • Customer Match for Display Network doesn't work with third-party ad and third-party ad tracking (1x1 pixel).
  • Targeting the entire Display Network without any specific targeting is not compatible with the “Maximize Clicks” bidding strategy. When using the Maximize clicks bid strategy, ensure that any positive targeting criteria (audience, keywords, placements, etc.) is added to the ad group, so that you’re not targeting the entire Display Network. If you would like to run your campaigns without adding any positive targeting criteria, you should use the CPC, CPM, or CPA bid strategies. Learn more about bidding strategies.

Data segment (formerly known as "remarketing") Display ad group has no impressions

You may experience issues reaching your data audience segments. This can include critical issues with:

Problem How to Troubleshoot

Your audience targeted ad isn't serving due to an empty segment.

If the segment membership is too low, your ads may not be able to show for privacy reasons.

If your segments have fewer than 100 active users, you may need to wait for your segments to accumulate additional users, particularly if the segment is new.

View common problems with tags and segments article to see solutions to common problems with tags.

Use similar segments or auto-targeting to expand your data segment lists and reach new customers.

If you’re using multiple types of targeting or exclusions, you can adjust your ad group targeting to increase potential reach.

Check your segment rules to ensure they’re working as intended. Learn more about using rules.
Your tag ID doesn’t match values in your feed. For dynamic remarketing, tag parameters such as product IDs help identify which products users viewed. If there are issues with the parameters, the dynamic ads may show less relevant products." Confirm whether your event snippets are working.
Servable items is 0. If the number of servable items in your feed has dropped down to 0, or the items have been disapproved, then your dynamic ads won't be able to show relevant products to potential customers.

Create a feed for your dynamic ad.


These are added as "Business data" in Google Ads or as a product feed in Merchant Center.

Note: The number of users in your data segments includes all active and inactive users worldwide. Since your ads will only be shown to users who are in your campaigns' targeted locations and who are active on the targeted networks (for example Google Display Network, Search Network, YouTube, etc.), the number of users eligible to see your ads may be smaller than the membership size of your data segment.

Also try

For more personalized options to improve your campaign's performance, check recommendations in your Google Ads account Recommendations.

Go to Recommendations in your Google Account

Example:

  • Your recommendation may have an option to Use audience expansion. It will show you how audience expansion allows you to reach more customers who are likely to convert while staying close to your target cost per conversion.
  • If you like this recommendation, you may Apply it to your campaign.
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