Understanding Google ads and why you might not find yours where you expect to
I get it. You've invested money in Google ads (smart move!). And you see other people's Google ads every time you browse the internet.
So how come you never see your own ad?
It's a question we field from clients all the time. And there's a simple answer.
But first, to put you at ease: don't worry. There is nothing wrong if your Google ad is not showing your own personal search results.
In fact, this is often what you should expect.
We'll cover Google ads and SEM (search engine marketing) in more detail below.
But first, we asked our resident ads expert Daniel Simmons to settle the question once and for all - why can't you see your own Google Ads?
Understanding Google Ads (and why you don't see your own)
Google ads can be uses to create brand awareness, but they're often best used to sell or promote products or services, generate website traffic, or get email list signups. When used in this way, they offer an easy-to-measure ROI, so you can understand how your ads money is working for you.
Ultimately, budget plays a big factor in whether or not you'll see your own ad. But first, let's explore the two types of Google Ads - search ads and display ads - because the type of ads you're using can factor into if and when you'll see yours personally.
As the name suggests, Search Ads are ads that appear when someone does a Google search. Say you're a plumber in Bridgend. If someone Googles 'plumber in Bridgend,' then your ad could appear in their search results.
As you'd guess, these types of ads can be incredibly powerful, as you're making sure you're appearing front-and-centre to people who may be looking for your direct services.
The important thing to keep in mind, though, is that your ad won't appear every single time someone searches for your keywords. You're actually in a bidding war with every other company that's using similar keywords (and trust us: the competition is often steep).
So if you have a small budget - say, less than £20/day - then it can get used up pretty quickly each day.
And that means that depending on when you try to find your ad, you might be searching after your ad spend for the day has been used up. In other words, it would be impossible for your ad to show up for you.
This is compounded by your geographic parameters. If you have a very specific location you're targeting (as in, one small city), then maybe you'll see your ads, even if you have a small budget.
But if you're using a limited budget to target a huge area - like, all of Wales, for example - then your budget will likely get used up before you have a chance to see your own ads on any given day.
It's a numbers game. You don't have to spend lots on Google Ads to get results, especially when you're using smart SEM. But unless you're spending lots in a very targeted region, the odds of seeing your own ad just aren't there.
But don't worry. Again, if your campaign is set up well, the right people will still be seeing and clicking. And that's so much more important than stumbling on your own ad!
Display Ads work a little differently. These are images or video that show up on websites within a Display Network, and you pay per 1000 impressions.
There is a higher likelihood that you'll see your own Display ads, assuming again your budget isn't too small and your geographic targeting isn't too large. But there's a caveat.
These ads don't display on every website - only on specific ones within that network.
So, if you're on the 'wrong' website, again, there's a 0% chance your ad will show up.
Again, this isn't the end of the world. Because again, just because you're not seeing your ad, that doesn't mean potential customers aren't.
How to see your ad in search results
By now, you're probably getting the picture. Unless you have a big budget (in the £100/day range or higher) and a small target region, then there's a good chance you won't see your ads.
And that's OK.
Because not seeing your ad doesn't mean it's not performing well or getting you results.
We make sure that all of our clients have access to their Google Analytics account. From that account, you can see where your ads are being shown, on what devices, at what times, and at what rates. There's so much invaluable information you can find on your account.
That's why we are more than happy to spend time with clients to help them understand their Google Analytics accounts. Because sometimes all that invaluable information can lead to info overload. Many people log into their Analytics account once, find it overwhelming, and 'nope' out, never logging in again.
That's why we like to take an hour or so with clients to walk them through how to understand what they're seeing in Google Analytics.
Just like you have to understand your financial numbers as a business owner you have to understand your website analytics. They go hand-in-hand in understanding your business and where it's going.
Of course, we also give our digital marketing clients monthly analytic reports as well.
Seeing your ad versus seeing results
Don't fall into the trap of missing the forest for the trees.
Ultimately it doesn't matter if you see your Google ad.
It matters if potential customers do. This is how Google ads help your business.
And that's where an SEM expert comes in.
SEM, or search engine marketing, helps increase conversations from paid Google Ads by leveraging proven campaign management and optimization strategies. It's a critical tool in digital marketing. And it requires highly focused keywords to determine the most cost-effective approach to obtaining qualified customers who are searching for exactly what you offer.
Anyone can set up a Google account and get some ads running. Heck, you could probably set it up yourself.
But using Google ads properly, to connect with the right people at the right time with the right message, requires complex know-how. Without this know-how, you're setting yourself up to waste a lot of money.
You need someone who will manage your Google AdWords account, targeting the keywords and display campaigns that will drive conversions (purchases, leads, goal completions) to your site.
Through a variety of research tools and techniques, they can develop effective paid search campaigns focused on meeting your target cost per sale or lead. You'll reach eager buyers who wouldn't necessarily find you organically via search engine optimization techniques.