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Why Aren’t You Seeing Your Own Ads?

So you just started a new digital ad campaign – paid search, display, or video – and you’re understandably excited! But then you notice that you’re not seeing your ad. Is something wrong with your campaign? Probably not. It’s not unusual to not see your own ad, for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at why this might be happening.

Paid Search

Your paid search campaign started and you keep searching for your business name or industry keywords, and your ad isn’t appearing. Why? Search engines are designed with in-depth, algorithm-based rules and preferences to determine intent and what ads to serve – and those algorithms undergo some amount of change almost every day! Since paid search is an auction system with real-time bids, a search that happens now will show different results than a search that happens five minutes from now.

There are many factors that will affect whether an ad will show such as day of the week, time, device type, bid, competitor bid, etc.

If you’ve previously searched and your URL has come up organically and you did not click it, or clicked it and closed quickly, the search engines think that you’re not interested in that site so they won’t show it to you in a paid ad. Searching repeatedly and not clicking on any ads or links will actually lessen the chances of seeing your ad, since the search engines think that you’re not interested in the types of ads they’ve been serving.

Additionally, if you do see your ad after searching on it, clicking on it will cost you money (since it’s a pay per click product). If you leave your site right after clicking the ad, the search engines will think your ad is less relevant, which negatively impacts your campaign’s performance. However, seeing your ad and not clicking it also hurts the campaign, because it thinks your ad is less relevant. As tempting as it is, it’s best to refrain trying to find yourself on paid search.

Display and/or Digital Video

The main reason why you may not see your display or video ad is the size of the Real Time Bidding environment. Our ads and videos run across 20+ ad exchanges – that’s thousands of sites and streaming platforms. Think of it like running TV commercials on every single channel at random times throughout the day. Grab a remote and start channel-surfing, and it’s still unlikely to find your ad, even though we know that it is running.

Many of our campaigns use layered targeting to serve your ads to the right audience. Maybe your profile falls outside that target demographic, or you’re not considered in-market for a product or service because you haven’t shown a historical interest in it. 

There are many qualifiers and factors that go into whether you see your ad or not, so not seeing an ad is not an indicator that something is wrong with your campaign.


We’d be happy to talk with you more about how digital advertising can reach your target audience and help build awareness of your company and services! 

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