An AdWords campaign can be chugging along without any issue for days, weeks, or months, when all of a sudden something stops working as it has been (and how it should). What’s gone wrong? You haven’t noted making any significant changes to the campaign in recent days and yet… your keywords aren’t delivering ad impressions, the campaign isn’t spending to the level it should, or your campaign’s CTR is low or has dropped.
What to do? Here are some AdWords campaign troubleshooting tips for a few common issues…
My Ads Aren’t Showing
You test one of your keywords and it isn’t delivering ad impressions. What to look for…
- Ads enabled: Have you potentially – in your zeal for optimizing – inadvertently paused all the ads in a particular ad group? Confirm to make sure you have active ads in the ad group.
- Keyword status: Check the keyword’s status on the keywords tab in AdWords. Is it reporting “low search volume”? Is it saying that it’s “Eligible”? Use the “Ad Preview and Diagnosis” tool from the keyword’s status bubble to determine whether the ad is showing.
- Keyword bid: If the status is being reported as “Below first page bid”, that may be one of the reasons your keyword isn’t showing. The market is always changing – new competitors are being drawn to AdWords all the time, so the bid you had yesterday may not be sufficient today. Consider increasing your bids accordingly based on your own strategy and business needs.
- Quality score: Has the keyword’s score changed? I like to keep historical records of quality score for keywords so that I can easily track whether there’ve been significant changes to the score for a particular keyword. If there has been, that may be indicative that there’ve been changes made to the landing page that did the keyword no favours or that there are issues with the relevancy of the ad copy – two definite places to continue your investigation.
My Campaign Isn’t Spending to Budget
You have been assigned a minimum budget amount to spend in a given month, but the campaign is lagging behind. A few things you may wish to consider to boost spend, albeit with this caveat: monitor all of these changes closely to determine whether they are a smart use of your media dollars. It’s better to underspend than to spend money on traffic that doesn’t forward your business goals.
- Delivery method: Is your campaign set to deliver ads on “standard” (evenly throughout the day) or “accelerated” (as quickly as possible) pacing? If it’s the former and you have to maximize spend, consider setting the campaign to “accelerated”
- Ad schedule: If your campaign has been previously set to deliver ads only during specific time windows during the day, does it make sense for your business and campaign to test broadening the time period in which your campaign is in market? Only you know for sure, but it’s another means by which to maximize spend opportunities.
- Networks: It’s possible your campaign may currently only be active on the Search Network. If this is the case, you may find additional opportunity to spend either by enabling “Search partners” or putting the campaign on the “Display Network”. If you decide to test the latter, I recommend setting up your Display Network campaign as a separate entity from your Search Network one for easier and more specialized optimization.
My CTR Is Low
You notice that your CTR is lower than before or are having issues increasing your CTR after some time in market. Some tips to consider…
- Networks: Have you recently enabled “Search Partners” or the “Display Network”? Yes, it’s true. The very same features that could drive more spend will almost surely result in a drop in overall CTR for your campaign or account, so keep that in mind when you make changes.
- Ad Copy: Just as the market changes, your ad copy may be in need of a refresh, as well. Make sure that you are continually auditing your existing ad copy and testing new variations to see what’s working and not working.
- Dynamic Keyword Insertion: In testing new variations of your ad copy, you may wish to consider trying Dynamic Keyword Insertion in your ads. As AdWords describes it, DKI is a “feature that dynamically updates your ad text to include one of your keywords that matches a customer’s search terms.” By seeing their keyword in the ad’s headline, for example, this may increase the relevancy of the ad for the person searching and compel them to click on your ad.
These are but three common AdWords issues and a few means by which they may be addressed. When it comes to AdWords, a fix for one campaign doesn’t necessarily translate to a fix for another.
It’s important, as with any optimizing you do, to ensure that the optimizations you make are in line with your overall strategy and business goals, and that you are closely monitoring the campaign regularly to gauge the impact of the changes made.