How to fix Google Ads Search campaign not running or low traffic

If you are using Dynamic Search Ads, make sure to check out how to fix low traffic issues with Google Dynamic Search Ads.

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Occasionally, you may find that your Search campaigns are not serving as many impressions as you would expect, or are not spending much of your set daily budget. 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.

Before you begin

What to expect when a campaign is enabled

If you recently enabled your Search 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 to be reviewed 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.
  • It may take Google Ads some time to adjust serving if you make changes to your campaign settings.

Go to the Campaigns page in your Google Ads account

Using the Ad preview tool

The Ad Preview Tool and Diagnosis tool helps you identify why a specific search term may not be serving. Note that the search results returned by this tool may change over time.

Go to the Ad preview tool in your Google Ads account


Recommendations help highlight opportunities to improve performance when your Search 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
  • Account budget exhausted
  • All ads disapproved
  • Add or unpause keywords

Common recommendation types to fix low traffic:

  • Adjust your CPA targets
  • Adjust your budgets

Go to the Recommendations page in your Google Ads account

Use diagnostic insights to identify why your campaign isn't serving

Diagnostic insights highlight issues that may be limiting your campaign’s ability to serve. Diagnostic insights also provide recommendations on how to resolve these issues. Learn more About diagnostic insights.

Example: An advertiser hasn’t gained any conversions or traffic after creating a campaign. They use diagnostic insights to discover that their campaign isn’t serving because their assets are disapproved, and views a recommendation to fix these disapproved assets.

11 common reasons why your Search 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.

Learn more about Account issues.

2. Date ranges and campaign start and end dates

Google Ads shows you performance data for the date range that you select.

Learn more about Date ranges and campaign start and end dates.

3. Ad groups, assets, or ads are not active or have policy issues

Even if your campaign is enabled, check to make sure you have active ad groups, assets, and/or ads within your campaign.

Learn more about Ad groups, assets, or ads are not active or have policy issues.

4. Low bid targets 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.

Learn more about Low bid targets and optimization goals.

5. Low budget

When you have a low budget, your ads may not serve as often while Google Ads ensures your campaign doesn't spend more than your spending limit.

Learn more about Low budget.

6. 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.

Learn more about Targeting is too narrow.

7. Targeting overlaps with other campaigns or ad groups

You may have multiple campaigns or ad groups in your account that are eligible to enter overlapping auctions due to similar keywords or other targeting.

Learn more about Targeting overlaps with other campaigns or ad groups.

8. Lost impression share

Impression share data, specifically Lost Search IS (ad rank), can help you identify the percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Search Network due to ad rank in the auction.

Learn more about Lost impression share.

9. Conversion tracking

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.

Learn more about Conversion tracking.

10. Ad Quality

Ad quality is an estimate of the experience that users have when they view your Search ads.

Learn more about Ad Quality.

11. Auction Dynamics

Other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions as you can affect your campaign’s ability to serve.

Learn more about Auction Dynamics.

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