I Can’t See My Ad. Why?

If your ad does not appear after two days, you might have a problem. Have no fear, the Ghostbusters are here!

We have a cheat sheet of common problems and how to fix them. With our advice, you’ll get your ad up and running in no time.


This cheat sheet assumes that you’ve already tried looking for your ad using the tools suggested in the previous sub-chapter.

Why your ad is not shownSolution
Your ad was not approved.Rewrite the ad. You aren’t getting away with poor spelling, or selling illegal stuff online.
Your credit card is declined.Enter new credit card details.
You’ve reached your daily budget.Wait until tomorrow for your new budget to kick in, or increase your budget.
You have a low ad rank. This means that your ad is not shown on page 1 of the search results.Raise your minimum bid or Quality Score. Money solves most problems and this is one of those cases.
For bidding help, check out our section on Budgeting and Keyword Planning.
No one is searching for the keywords that you had specified.Do better keyword research. Maybe there are too few people out there looking for “cute clothes for my pet lizard”. You could wait a long time before seeing a single click.
Your keywords have a poor quality score.Improve the ad or raise your bid. If your keyword has a poor quality score, it means that Google thinks your keyword is going to make them money, or that your ad gives users a poor search experience.

Let’s dive into disapproved ads with a little more detail, since this one really drives folks mad.

Why would Google disapprove of my doings? How dare these little Google-bots stop me from doing what I want?

Google has a responsibility to maintain the quality and standards of their ads. After all, they reach out to more than 1.2 billion users in the world.

If your ad is not approved, Google will let you know politely via email. In your AdWords account, the ad will also be flagged up as “Disapproved.” Click on the little “?” symbol to learn more. Google will leave a message next to the disapproval and tell you their reasoning. Their message usually goes like this:

You violated an editorial rule.

Google maintains stringent quality standards over all ads on its network.

  • Make sure that it does not contain too many exclamation marks or lousy spelling—you are not a teenager!!!
  • DON’T TYPE IN ALL-CAPS! It is rude to scream, on the Internet and in real-life.
  • Don’t lure your customers in with false information, such as free bonuses with fine print in size 6.

Your ads do not meet technical requirements.

There are character limits, image size requirements, file size limits and so on.

Your ad may be directing users to a page that does not exist.

In computer-speak, this is a 404 error. The simple fix would be to change the URL to that of a working page.

You’re involved with illegal and fishy business on the Internet.

As you were taught in school…

  • Don’t sell prohibited goods, such as counterfeit handbags, recreational drugs, weapons, and hacking services.
  • Don’t offend anyone with violence, racism, political intolerance and so on.
  • Don’t promote adult-oriented content, healthcare or alcoholic beverages. Gambling-related content requires authorisation from Google.

In 2011, Google was fined $500 million by the U.S. Justice Department for selling ads to Canadian pharmacies. These pharmacies were selling cheap drugs to U.S. customers. It was probably easier for the U.S. government to hunt down Google than to crack down on hundreds of little pharmacies. Learning from their mistakes, Google now uphold lots of policies to protect themselves from being burned again.

Your site is suspended.

This is a very serious issue and doesn’t happen very often. Google suspends accounts that repeatedly violates their policies, puts users at risk, fail to pay for advertising costs or appears to be related to an already suspended account.

At this point, even professional marketers give in to Google. All you can do is contact Google as soon as possible to find out why. You can call the toll-free number listed on Google AdWords or chat with staff online.

Fun Fact!

Do you know that Google made 70 percent of its $66 billion revenue in 2014 from advertising? They take all ads very seriously. They’d rather lose you as a customer than to allow any malicious ads. Anytime you want to pull a once-over on Google, just remember, your business is mere pocket change to them. They’d take you out faster than you can say “Google.”