How to fix Google Ads Performance Max campaign not running or low traffic

Occasionally, you may find that your Performance Max campaigns are not serving as many impressions as you would expect, or are not spending much of your set daily budget. In this article, we’ll outline common reasons why your ads may not be serving, and how you can troubleshoot using the tools in Google Ads.


Before you begin

What to expect when a campaign is enabled

If you recently enabled your Performance Max campaign, it can take some time for your campaign to start serving impressions. There are a few reasons for this:

  • It takes 24-48 hours for newly created or edited ads to be reviewed to ensure they meet all policy requirements.
  • For campaigns using automated bidding strategies, it is recommended to wait 1-2 weeks to allow systems to ramp up and start performing towards your set goal.
  • It may take Google Ads some time to adjust serving if you make changes to your campaign settings.

Go to the Campaigns page in your Google Ads account

Recommendations

Recommendations help highlight opportunities to improve performance when your Performance Max campaign is not running or is getting low traffic. For example, you can look out for the following example recommendation types when troubleshooting these issues.

Common recommendation types to fix campaigns not running:

  • Set up conversion tracking
  • Fix Merchant Center account suspension (for Performance Max campaigns with Google Merchant Center)

Common recommendation types to fix low traffic:

  • Adjust your budgets
  • Shopping campaign products disapproved (for Performance Max campaigns with Google Merchant Center)

Go to the Recommendations page in your Google Ads account

If your ad still isn’t receiving impressions after 3 business days, check the reasons listed in this article.

 

13 common reasons why your ads are not running or are getting low traffic

1. Account issues

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.

Next steps

  • For account suspensions, use our suspended account tool to automatically check your account status
  • For billing issues:
  • If you pay by monthly invoicing, check your account budgets. 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. Learn how to create or edit an account budget.
  • Check your Billing Summary or Transactions pages for declined payments. Your account may stop running until you pay off the outstanding balance.

Go to the Billing summary page in your Google Ads account

 

2. Date ranges and campaign start and end dates

Google Ads shows you performance data for the date range that you select. Your campaign will show no impressions outside of the date range your campaign has been active.

Next step

  • Check that the date range includes your campaign’s start and end dates
Note: 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.
 

3. Campaign is not enabled

To ensure your campaign is launched and can serve, check that your campaign is enabled.

Next steps

  1. Click Campaigns and find your Performance Max campaign.
  2. Check that the status is “Eligible”. If it’s “Paused” you can use the pause icon to select “enabled”.
  3. Check that your campaign status is now eligible.
 

4. Automation is evaluating data

Performance Max campaigns use automated bid strategies and machine learning to optimize your campaign and deliver maximum performance. These models train and adapt based on the data you provide through audience signals and the performance data in your campaign and account. This means performance optimization can take time.

Next steps

  • For newly created campaigns, we recommend waiting 1-2 weeks to evaluate performance as the campaign learns and starts optimizing. A report of low performance may be an indication that the model is still learning. If your campaign is still performing lower than expected after 2 weeks, contact support to troubleshoot further.
  • If your ads are not serving mid-campaign and you made significant changes to your settings, your campaign may be in learning mode. While you can make changes occasionally, know that you may see a brief performance fluctuation as your Performance Max campaign adjusts to these changes.
 

5. Low budget

When you have a low budget, your ads may not serve as often while Google Ads ensures your campaign doesn't spend more than your spending limit. Your campaign status may also display “Eligible (Limited)” to indicate that it’s either not serving or under serving due to low budget.

One indication that your performance may be limited by budget is if the cost/conversion for the campaign’s conversion goal is higher than your daily budget, your campaign may take longer to start serving, and you may see relatively low performance.

Example: If your average cost/conversion (from other campaigns in your account) is $15/conversion, and your campaign’s daily budget is $5/day, then you might expect to see 1 conversion approximately every 3 days. If you’d like to see increased performance, consider increasing your budget.

Next step

  • Consider increasing your budget to make sure your campaign has enough budget to be able to serve throughout the day
 

6. Low bid targets and optimization goals

While it may be possible to serve ads with a very low bid, your campaign may not enter or win as many auctions and your ads may not have any impressions.

Next steps

  1. Confirm your campaign’s optimization strategy is aligned to your business goals
    Example: If your goal is to drive as many conversions as possible within a set budget, use the Maximize conversions strategy.
  2. With your set optimization goal, consider whether your automated bidding target is achievable based on historical performance. If your target is too low (CPA) or high (ROAS), your campaign may not be able to perform at that level and will not serve.
    Example: If you’re using target CPA bidding and your target CPA is significantly below your historical average CPA for that conversion goal, your target CPA may not be attainable while maintaining reasonable levels of traffic, and you should consider raising your target.
 

7. Targeting is too narrow

While targeting settings help you find the right set of users most interested in your business, each time you add targeting or if you have issues with your remarketing lists, you narrow the potential reach of your ads.

Next steps

  • Location targeting: Targeting one postal code, a small radius, or a city with a low population may limit your campaign’s reach or prevent it from serving. Add additional locations to your targeting.
  • Negative targeting: Exclusions can be helpful if you have brand safety concerns. However, adding too many exclusions may limit or prevent your ad from serving (for example, excluding "youtube.com" or a remarketing list that contains most of your users).
  • Products: If your campaign is targeting only a few products, it may not be able to serve. Learn more about adding products to your campaign.
  • For campaigns targeting local store visits & promotions, offline ads are primarily generated based on the store locations provided in the campaign. If no store locations are synced in the campaign, ads cannot be created on the backend and the campaign won’t be able to serve. Check the campaign’s Settings > Store locations section to ensure locations have been successfully added to the campaign.
 

8. Targeting overlaps with other campaigns or ad groups

You may have multiple campaigns or ad groups in your account that are eligible to enter overlapping auctions due to similar keywords or other targeting. If there is overlapping targeting, traffic may primarily go to one of your campaigns.

Next step

  • Review your campaign’s targeting and consider updating the targeting so it doesn’t overlap with other campaigns in your account.
 

9. Final URL expansion turned off

Turning on Final URL Expansion allows your Performance Max campaign to serve for additional searches that have a higher likelihood of leading to conversions, drives traffic to the most appropriate landing pages dynamically based on the query, and uses landing page content to dynamically customize headlines for your ads. You can choose to exclude certain landing pages from your website, as needed, for example your company blog or FAQ pages.

Next step

  • Turn on Final URL expansion in your Performance Max campaign's settings
 

10. Conversion tracking issues

Performance Max campaigns use Automated bidding to optimize towards conversions, but if your campaign is not getting sufficient conversion data or your conversion tracking is not set up correctly, your ad may have limited serving.

Next step

  • Check your conversion tracking setup using the Conversion tracking status troubleshooter.
  • Ensure your selected conversion action is actively registering conversions. It is recommended that you use the same goals used in other performance campaigns in your account if they are delivering value for your business.

Go to the Conversions page in your Google Ads account

 

11. Ad policy review status

Before your ads can be served, they will undergo a policy review to ensure they’re aligned with Google Ads’ policies. Performance Max campaigns comply with all Google Ads policies. If your assets don’t align with these policies, your asset group may be restricted from serving on some networks, which will affect your campaign’s performance. If your ad is under review for more than 2 full business days, contact us for information. Learn more about Text ad requirements, Video ad requirements, Personalized advertising policies, Image ad requirements, and Image quality requirements.

Note: Any time you make modifications to your asset group, your new assets will need to go through this review process again before they can start running.

Next steps

Check the status of your asset group and edit or appeal a decision:

  1. In Google Ads, go to your Performance Max campaign.
  2. From the page menu, click on the Asset groups tab.
  3. Check your asset group’s status to ensure it’s not under review, or that there are other policy issues.
  4. If the status is "Disapproved" or "Approved (Limited)", hover over the status to understand specific policy issues. If you understand the violation, you can click Edit Assets to correct the issue.
  5. If you think your assets have been wrongly disapproved, you can appeal this decision:
    • Navigate to the “Asset groups” page.
    • Hover over the status of a “Disapproved” or “Approved (Limited)” asset group.
    • Click Appeal and select the reason you feel it was wrongly disapproved.
  6. If you’d like to see the review status per asset:
    • Navigate to the “Asset groups” page.
    • Click View Details. You can see the policy review status in the "Status" column.
    • For assets that are in “Disapproved” or “Approved (Limited)” status, follow the steps listed in step 8.
 

12. Low creative asset coverage and diversity (Ad Strength)

For your Performance Max campaign, it’s important you have a diverse set of creatives that can be automatically combined into various ad formats that can serve across all surfaces. Campaigns with a limited set of ads or assets may have more difficulty serving since they are eligible to enter into fewer auctions and have more limited reach.

Next step

  • Check your campaign’s Ad Strength and Diagnostic insights to identify if greater asset coverage may improve serving.
 

13. Auction dynamics

Other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions as you can affect your campaign’s ability to serve. For example, If a new advertiser begins entering the same auctions as your campaign, this can affect how many impressions your ads receive.

Example: Another advertiser might decide to lower their target CPA, which means your ad no longer serves on the first page of search results, leading to a drop in impressions. Your Performance Max campaign will adjust automatically to this, so while you may see a temporary drop in performance, it should start serving again assuming you have no target (tCPA or tROAS) set. If you do have a target set and there is a drop in performance, consider adjusting your targets (raising CPA or lowering ROAS) to improve your performance or contact support.
 

For advertisers with a Google Merchant Center account

Advertisers with a Google Merchant Center linked to their Performance Max campaign should check several other signals when troubleshooting why ads aren’t running.

Merchant Center Account issues

If all Shopping campaigns in your Google Ads account are not serving, check your Merchant Center account to confirm whether it is suspended or if the accounts are linked correctly. If the account is suspended, a banner will appear notifying you of the account status. You need to resolve any of these account issues before the shopping campaign can serve.

Next steps

Go to the Account issues tab in your Merchant Center account

Products are not eligible to serve

The fastest way to verify if products in a Shopping campaign are eligible to serve is to check the Products tab.

Next steps

  1. Navigate to the campaign in question
  2. Click on the Products tab on the left and then Diagnostics
  3. Verify if products have a status of  ‘Ready to serve’

Go to the Campaigns page in your Google Ads account

Outdated listing groups

When setting up which products to run from your Performance Max campaign in listing groups, you could target all products or can select specific products by filtering for item ID, brand, custom label, etc. If attributes change in the Merchant Center feed, the listing group is not automatically updated in Google Ads.

Example: If the product group was targeting only certain products using item ID and now the Merchant Center feed does not include any of these products.

Next step

  • Check that listing groups are up to date and in line with the product attributes in Merchant Center.

Expired data feed

Merchant Center data feeds need to be uploaded every 30 days, after which time they expire. If a feed is expired, any Shopping campaigns that use this feed will not be able to serve.

Next steps

Check if your feed is expired in your Merchant Center account:

  1. Go to the Products tab, then click Feeds
  2. Click into the feed and check the last upload date.
  3. If it’s been more than 30 days since the last feed upload, the feed is now expired and a new feed will need to be uploaded
Go to your Merchant Center account

Expired items via the “expiration date” attribute

If products have been uploaded into the Merchant Center feed along with the expiration_date attribute, these products will not serve after the date included.

Next step

  • Check the products in the feed to confirm if their expiration date has not passed
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