Caroline S

May 3, 2019
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Up until recently, I had a Google Ads account that had been doing really well: $1500/month with a few campaigns going, averaging about 15 conversions/month (no call tracking). We run these ads seasonally so from last October till this past March, we had our campaigns paused. When we picked back up in March, it was as if something had changed. I hadn't changed anything about the ads, but suddenly we were only spending half of our budget and getting a quarter of the number of conversions.
I checked my keywords (6-8 quality scores) and negative keywords. I made sure I had at least 3 ads in each campaign (with a responsive ad in each). I checked the targeted locations to make sure nothing was being left out, and everything was fine. The biggest problem was that, when I used the Ad preview tool, it was telling me that my ads weren't being shown (even though I was searching with my targeted keywords in my targeted location) and it wouldn't tell me why they weren't showing.
Calling Google Ads support didn't give me any helpful information, so we tried dumping the whole budget into just one campaign instead of 2-3 in case budget had become the problem. I also switched the remaining campaign from manual CPC to Target CPA. After a few weeks of no improvement, I increased the daily budget 2-fold.

The campaign is currently at $300/day with a Target CPA of about $45 so the budget should not be a problem. I'm still only spending about a third of my monthly budget per month. My conversion rate and cost per conversion are great, but I just don't understand why the ads are not getting as many impressions as they used to.

Chatting with/calling Google Ads support is not helping. They are only giving me very general advice and refuse to try to look into the reason why they are suddenly not showing and why the preview tool won't tell me what the problem is.

The kicker here is that when looking at Auction Insights, my ads are showing more and have a higher position than anyone else (My impression share is 76% while the next best competitor is 54%. My average position is 1.6 while the next best competitor is 2.0. My top of page rate and Abs. top of page rate is also significantly higher than any competitor). How can I be getting the most impressions but still not even spending half of my budget or even see my ads? Has anyone else had this problem?


Local Search Expert
LocalU Faculty
Oct 5, 2018
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Hey Caroline!

This is really tough to answer since I can't see the account haha

The first thing I would do is check your impression share across each keyword you are targetting by adding in the column if you are looking over the auction insights it just does the average for everything bundled together so I don't like to think of it as the most accurate.

Second, I would switch back to manually CPC or maximize clicks, target CPA is unreliable (And my biased opinion is it sucks even if you are trying to spend more money) and just jack up the bids

The third thing I would recommend doing is going through all the change history from the last seasons till now, to see if there were any setting changes or major changes that occurred near the end of the last season that may be causing you to get less activity.

Some other things I would also check is:
Is search partners enabled?
Is there now Local Service Ads in the area you are targetting, for the business type?
Are your ads labeled as "limited"?
Has your cost per click gone down from last season?

Caroline S

May 3, 2019
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Thanks @Your_Cedric!
I did do a check before this and I know that Local Service Ads aren't currently available in my area in my service type (It's a Chimney Sweep business so very niche). If it was, do you know how that would affect regular search ads?

I have had automated bids work in other campaigns in the past (though I've always been very wary of them) So I think I'll just have to give it up for this one and go back to manual as you said.

As for everything else you mentioned, I'll have to give it a go and hopefully, that will help! It all sounds like good stuff that I haven't tried yet, so thanks again!

Tony Wang

Oct 13, 2014
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I agree with Your_Cedric's advice, you need to narrow down specific kw's and see the details. How far off are impressions for each kw compared to the same period last year? Are you sure you didn't change something that would have affected it? Compare device usage, as well.

For sure LSA will affect PPC, but no way of knowing how much. It's not a factor anyway, in your case.

The Ad Preview tool is not always helpful, as you say, but sometimes trying different combinations (location, kw, schedule, etc) gives different results, and may show a reason for ad not showing.

And don't be afraid to do an actual search to see if your ads are actually showing.

Finally, try calling help again, each rep is different and someone else may offer better insights. But if you push hard enough they may ask their supervisor and get a better answer.

Caroline S

May 3, 2019
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Thanks, Tony!

I actually found the root of the problem. Somehow all of my best performing campaigns had been switched to exclude all demographics below the top 20% of household income... Not sure how that got switched and they wouldn't let me reinclude those demographics so I created all new campaigns and that did the trick!

Your other tips are great to keep in mind for the future!
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