How to fix Google Ads Video campaigns not running or low traffic

Occasionally, you may find that your Video campaigns don't receive impressions or stop serving. In this article, we’ll walk you through common (and not so common) reasons why your Video campaigns may not be serving. Please note that while we can’t cover every possible issue that can lead to ads not serving, this article outlines the most common issues.


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Your campaign is receiving a low number of (or zero) impressions

What you'll learn

  1. Sometimes, the issue may not be related to your campaign. Check for any account-related issues in Google Ads first, such as the account status, ad review status, or delays in reporting.
  2. Then, look for common reasons like your ad status being something other than “Eligible” or your bid being too low.
  3. Finally, look for less-common reasons such as the country that you’re targeting not being eligible for YouTube monetization or that you’re using too many restrictive content exclusions.

Check these first

The date range in Google Ads

Google Ads will show you performance data for the date range that you select. Make sure that the date range includes your campaign’s start and end dates. Keep in mind that the pre-configured date range settings (for example, “Last 7 days”) won’t include today’s date. Learn more about date ranges in Google Ads.

The status of your Google Ads account

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. Keep in mind that if other campaigns in your account are running, you don’t have to check on the status of your Google Ads account.

Is your account suspended? Appeal an account suspension.

Are you having a billing issue? Resolve a declined payment in Google Ads.

Account budgets may also affect the serving of your campaigns. Account budgets are available to you if you pay by monthly invoicing and acts only as a spend cap across all your campaigns. If your total campaign costs reach the designated amount in the account budget before your set end date, all ads in the account will stop running.

Your campaign start date

If the start date of the campaign is in the future, then you won’t see any impressions until the campaign starts.

Your campaign total budget

If you’re using a campaign total budget (not a daily budget), make sure the budget hasn’t been fully spent. Otherwise, your campaign won’t receive additional impressions, as the campaign will no longer run.

Ad reviews

After you create, edit, or resume a campaign, it may take some time for the ad to begin running. Keep in mind that:

  • Most ads are reviewed within 1 business day. However, some reviews take longer if the ad requires a more complex review. 
  • If your ad is under review for more than 2 business days, contact us for information.
  • Google reserves the right to prioritize ad reviews or re-reviews to ensure the overall stability of system operations, or temporarily restrict ad serving to ensure policy compliance.

Delays in ad serving or reporting

In general, your campaign should start serving or show results within a day. If you still don’t see results after 3 business days, and you can't spot any issues that are also mentioned in the rest of this article, contact us.

You can use your change history to see when you created your campaign and when ads were approved to confirm how much time has passed since you launched your campaign.

Common reasons

The ad status is something other than “Eligible”

Ads that are “strongly restricted” or “moderately restricted” aren’t eligible to serve on YouTube and Google video partners. Learn more about restricted ads.

When an ad is “Eligible”, it complies with the Google Ads policies and can be shown to all audiences. Ads that have a different status may have some restrictions, or may not run at all.

Disapproved: If any of your ads are disapproved or limited, in the “Status” column you’ll see “Disapproved", and the ad may not be able to run. Hover over the status of your ad in Google Ads to see why your ad is disapproved, including the policy violation impacting your ad.

Eligible (Limited): Your ad complies with our policies but may be limited in where and when it can show. For example, an ad promoting alcohol sales may have restrictions on where it will show. The type of targeting that you use may also be limited by our Personalized advertising policy. Learn more about the “Eligible (Limited)” status.

Fix a disapproved ad

Your bid is too low

While it may be possible to serve ads with a low bid, you won’t win as many auctions and may not see any impressions. You should increase your bid so that you have a chance of competing in the auction. For example, if your bid strategy is Target CPA, select a bid that accurately reflects what it costs you to get a conversion.

Your budget is too low or the bid is too close to the budget

A low budget can limit the results of your video campaign. For example, if your budget is only USD $1.00 and your CPV is only USD $0.10, then your bid doesn’t have enough flexibility to spend within the budget. A poor bid to budget ratio can lead some campaigns to not serve. Learn more about budget requirements for Video campaigns.

Your targeting strategy is too complicated

You may think that targeting one YouTube channel or combining different types of targeting will allow you to reach your target audience, but you may actually be narrowing your overall target audience.

Examples

Narrow targeting

  • If you’re targeting only one placement, it may not be eligible to serve (for example, your video ad can’t serve on some YouTube channels, even if you add them to your campaign’s targeting). A remarketing list with a small number of users may also be too narrow. Consider expanding your targeting.

Layered targeting

  • Let’s say you have a remarketing list based on visitors to your website and you target “Pets” as a topic. This means you’ll only target people who visited your site and that view content on a website related to pets, which may limit how many people your ads reach. Instead of combining targeting types into one ad group, you should split your targeting between ad groups (for example, one ad group for your remarketing list, and another ad group that targets the “Pets” topic).
  • You may also want to stick to one targeting type in a campaign (for example, add the “Cats” and “Dogs” topics so that the ad group targets websites with content related to “Cats” or “Dogs”.)

Location targeting

Exclusions

  • Exclusions can be helpful if you have brand safety concerns. However, targeting specific websites or remarketing lists may limit or prevent your ad from serving (for example, excluding "youtube.com" or a remarketing list that contains most of your users).

Your remarketing list may have issues

Check your remarketing list for any potential issues that prevent ads from serving.

Examples

Remarketing list removed from account

  • If your remarketing list is still being used in active campaigns, but you recently removed the list from the account, any campaigns using the list will no longer serve. To verify if the audience list is removed, check Audience manager in Google Ads.

Remarketing list is too small

  • The amount of users on the list is below our requirements, so the campaign doesn’t serve.

Personalized ads are turned off in your YouTube Studio account

  • If you disable personalized ads in your YouTube Studio account, YouTube remarketing lists won’t be able to add users for remarketing in Google Ads campaigns.

Remarketing list is “Closed”

  • In Audience manager, check the “Membership Status” column. If the status is “Closed”, your list won’t see any new users. If there aren’t enough users in the list, the campaign won’t serve.

Check these last

  • If the country isn’t eligible for YouTube monetization, the campaign can’t serve.
  • Review your bid adjustment settings. For example, if your ad is only scheduled to run on Tuesday, and you have -100% bid adjustment set for Tuesday, your ad won’t serve.
  • Review your content exclusions. For example, pairing a restrictive targeting strategy with a limited inventory, or excluding your ads from all digital content labels, may limit or prevent your ads from serving.
  • Make sure not to exclude “youtube.com” as a placement. If you’re using a list of shared placement exclusions, open up that list and do a quick search for “youtube.com” within that list of placement exclusions.

Your campaign performance stops unexpectedly

Consider changes made to your campaign

If you lowered the bid, narrowed your targeting, or changed something else in your campaign’s settings, it may cause the campaign to not perform as well as it used to. To isolate when changes were made to the campaign, check your change history and undo any previous changes that you made.

Check your campaign budget compared to your ad group spend 

If an ad group in your campaign stops serving, but other ad groups are fine, check the daily budget for the entire campaign. If other ad groups are cutting into the daily budget, you may see an ad group stop serving.

Some ads show zero views in Google Ads reporting

Not all video ad formats are able to increase the paid view count you see in Google Ads, including bumper ads and non-skippable in-stream ads. If you’re still seeing impressions on your video ads, your campaign is serving as expected.

Skippable in-stream ads less than 10 seconds in length will increase the view count in Google Ads, but not on the watch page of your video on YouTube or in YouTube Analytics.
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