It’s a common fear for Adwords customers – they’ve typed in a critical keyword to Google to see their PPC advertising and discover to their horror that it isn’t there, and to all appearances their ads aren’t showing. What are you paying for? What is your PPC agency doing? Are you bidding on totally the wrong keywords and throwing your budget away?
The answer – to the latter question at least – is no. It is very important to remember that although it is paid search, a lot of the “under the bonnet” details of Adwords are not entirely dissimilar to Google’s organic search algorithm – and that includes personalised search.
Personalised PPC Ads
Much in the same way as Google’s personalised organic search, Adwords is smart enough to look into your local browser history and tailor the ads it shows you with the aim of achieving maximum relevance. So if it has shown you a certain ad in the past and you didn’t click on it (as you really shouldn’t if you’re running PPC, as you’ll be wasting clicks budget) then you’re less likely to see that ad again. Type in the same query again and again with the hope of seeing your name in Adwords lights and sooner or later your ads will stop showing – because you’re not clicking, Adwords assumes you aren’t interested in those ads and so kindly removes them from your view.
PPC Budget Allocation
Your PPC budget also determines how often your ads will show up as a percentage of “impressions.” An impression is a “view” of your ad – so when it shows up in a search result and can be seen by someone. For keywords which have very high search volume (i.e. lots of people go looking for them) this is the most common cause of PPC panic when ads don’t show up.
Adwords spreads your daily budget out over the day to ensure that your ads only show on a limited percentage of possible impressions – this prevents your budget from being all spent in the first twenty minutes and then your ads not showing at all for the rest of the day. This is perfectly normal and actually a good sign that your PPC is being properly managed to let your ads show up for a sensible percentage of available searches. After all, 10% of 100,000 daily searches (not impossible for some big, popular keywords) still lets people see your ads 10,000 times in a day - which is particularly relevant for often very product specific eCommerce PPC.
Remember that the only way to ensure your ads will show up 100% of the time is to have an entirely unlimited daily budget – and even the biggest Adwords advertisers would struggle with such an idea, especially as having sufficient clicks budget to achieve this is likely to tank the ROI figures on your PPC and make it an extremely inefficient form of marketing.
Don’t forget as well that despite Adwords’ best efforts any account with a fixed daily budget could just have run out of clicks for the day – if you’re averaging £2 a click on a £100 daily budget that only requires 50 clicks in a day for the budget to be exhausted and the ads to stop showing altogether until the following day!
If you want to know more about how visible your PPC is on searches and how often your ads are showing, ask your PPC agency to send you an impressions share report which will tell you more about how often your ads are visible to people using Google and how much you are potentially missing out on due to your current budget – but remember that plugging more money in to try to capture more and more search impressions is rarely the most economical way to improve your revenue or lead generation, and getting too overenthusiastic can actually severely damage the viability of your PPC in the medium to long term!