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

Occasionally, you may find that your Display campaigns are not serving as many impressions as you would expect, or are not spending much of their 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 Display 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, 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

Recommendations help highlight opportunities to improve performance when your Display 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:

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

Common recommendation types to fix low traffic:

  • Adjust your CPA targets
  • Raise your budgets

Go to the Recommendations page in your Google Ads account

 

If your ad still isn’t receiving any impressions after 2 business days, check the common reasons listed in this article.


11 common reasons why your Display 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


 

2. Ad groups, assets, or ads are not active or have policy issues

Even if your campaign is enabled, check to make sure you have active ad groups, assets, or ads within your campaign. The review status of your ads, assets, asset groups, or keywords can also impact your campaign’s ability to serve. Hover over your campaign’s status to see what percentage of ads are eligible to show.

Next steps

  • Check that your ads, ad groups, and assets are enabled so that they are active and can run.
  • 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

 

3. 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 in your account 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.

 

4. 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.

Next step

Add the following columns for Display impression share metrics to help understand if auction dynamics may be affecting your campaign’s ability to serve:

  • Display impression share: The impressions you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  • Display Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Display Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only.
  • Display Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Display Network due to poor Ad Rank. Note: Lost IS (rank) won't be shown on your Ad groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined.

 

5. 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 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 set manual bid or 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.
  3. If available, use the bid simulator from the performance report in your ad groups page.

 

6. 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 undeserving due to low budget.

Next steps

  • If campaign status indicates that your campaign is limited by budget, check the budget report to better understand your campaign’s spending relative to its average daily budget and how this has impacted your performance and spend limits.
  • Consider increasing your budget to make sure your campaign has enough budget to be able to serve throughout the day

 

7. Display 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

  • Keywords targeting: If you’re only targeting a small list of low search volume keywords, your Display campaign likely won’t be able to serve. Learn more about how to optimize your keyword list.
  • Placement 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)
  • Audience targeting: If the amount of users on the list is below our minimum 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 "youtube.com" or a remarketing list that contains most of your users).

 

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. Conversion tracking

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


 

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

If you’re running an asset-based campaign, such as Responsive Display Ads, it’s important to ensure you have a diverse 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 identify 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.

 

11. Audience segments are disabled, removed, or revoked

If any of your data audience segments(formerly known as "remarketing lists") are disapproved, you'll see the status of your data segments changed to “Disabled” due to policy violation in your Google Ads account, and you'll receive an email about the issue. Campaigns targeting disabled segments will not serve. Additionally, if any audience segments are revoked or unshared from other accounts, the campaigns and ad groups targeting those revoked segments will not serve.

Next steps

  • For disabled audience segments, remove the disabled segments from the ad group or campaign targeting those segments.
  • For revoked or unshared segments, please either re-share the segments with the account in question or remove the unshared segments from the ad group or campaign targeting those segments. You can find the disabled segments by going to the Audience Manager and clicking on “Audience Segments” on the left panel and then checking for “Closed” under the “Membership status” column next to the segments that are disabled.

Go to Audience manager in your Google Ads account

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