How to fix Google Ads Discovery campaign not running or low traffic

Occasionally, you may find that your Discovery 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 Discovery 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, creatives, or assets to be reviewed to ensure they meet all policy requirements.
  • Since Discovery campaigns rely on automated bidding strategies, there may be performance fluctuations or changes in spend as Google Ads optimizes 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 help highlight opportunities to improve performance when your Discovery campaign is not running or getting low traffic. For example, you can look out for the following example Recommendations when troubleshooting these issues.

Common Recommendations to fix campaigns not running:

  • Campaign hasn’t started or has ended
  • Create or unpause an ad group
  • Account budget exhausted
  • All ads disapproved
  • Fix Discovery assets

Common Recommendations to fix low traffic:

  • Discovery tCPA too low
  • Raise your budgets

Go to Recommendations in your Google Ads account​

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


8 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 & payments 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. Low bid targets and optimization goals

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

Next step

Example: If your goal is to drive as many conversions as possible within a set budget, use the Maximize conversions strategy.
  • With your set optimization goal, consider whether your automated bidding target is achievable based on historical performance.
Example: If you’re using target CPA bidding and your target CPA is significantly below your historical average CPA, your target CPA may not be attainable while maintaining reasonable levels of traffic, and you should consider raising your target.
  • If you are bidding for lower funnel conversion events, consider increasing your bids and/or setting a longer conversion window. You can also check view through conversions in your reporting tab.
  • If available, use the bid simulator Bid Simulator icon from the performance report in your ad groups page.

4. 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

  • Audience targeting: If the amount of users on the list is below our requirements, your campaign may not serve.
  • 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, targeting specific websites or remarketing lists may limit or prevent your ad from serving (for example, excluding "" or a remarketing list that contains most of your users).

5. 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 using the same audiences 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.

6. Conversion tracking issues

If your campaign is using Automated bidding to optimize towards conversions, but 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.
  • Check the historical performance of your targeted conversion action to ensure it occurs frequently enough to be used for Automated bidding.
Go to the Conversions page in your Google Ads account

7. Ad policy review status

The review status of your ads, keywords, or assets can impact your campaign’s ability to serve. Hover over your campaign’s status to see what percentage of ads are eligible to show.

Next step

  • Use Policy Manager to see policy restrictions of ads, keywords, and extensions across your entire account.
Go to Policy manager in your Google Ads account

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

It’s important to ensure you have a unique set of creatives across ad formats. 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 to see if creative coverage or quality can be improved. In particular, if your Ad Strength is not 'excellent’, adding more assets can help boost serving and performance.
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