Why Can’t I See My Own Ads?

If I made hearing this question into a drinking game my colleagues would be holding an intervention for me before next Monday.

“Chloe! I Googled [insert keyword here] and I didn’t see my ad anywhere!”

“Chloe! I have been browsing Facebook non-stop for the past 48 hours and I haven’t seen my own advert once!”

My responses differ depending on how I was asked this question but the top and bottom of it is – why do you want to be served your own ads?

I Don’t Show In Google Ad Results

First of all – stop Googling your own keywords. You’re wasting your budget and you’re skewing the results. 

I optimise your ads all the time, tweaking bids, schedules and audiences on a day-to-day basis. 

So, say you Google your own brand name 6 times a day between 12pm-2pm and you’re in the 40-50 year old male demographic… Now, I look at my report and I see that your brand name gets a tonne of impressions on lunchtimes by 40-50 year old males. I then go ahead and adjust the bids and ad schedule to spend more of your budget showing ads at this time to this demographic.

Not only does Googling your own terms affect your click-through-rate, impressions and ad relevance – it doesn’t teach you anything about your ads that you can’t learn from asking your account manager to share the ad previews with you (or, if you’re a whizz with Google Ads, you can find them by using ‘Ad Preview And Diagnosis‘!)

Now I’m not saying you should blindly trust Google, but I am saying that you should be working with an account manager that you trust to take the steps to ensure that your budget is being spent optimally and that your ads are appearing for the relevant people, on relevant searches.

I Can’t See My Ads On Facebook

Paid and unpaid social are two very different beasts. Your paid adverts won’t show up on your page’s timeline unless you put them there yourself.

Now, you might know that you can ‘promote’ posts that have appeared on your feed but that evil ‘Boost’ button should never be touched if you value spending your budget wisely, but that’s a whole different blog post.

“But I ‘like’ my own page! I am arguably my business’ biggest fan! Shouldn’t I be seeing the adverts?”


Are you your own target audience? Are you in the prospective age demographic? Is it a prospecting campaign or a retargeting campaign?

All of these things matter because the chances are I have excluded you from the campaign because you’re not likely to convert! Especially for prospecting campaigns – did you know that I sometimes exclude people who already ‘like’ the Facebook page so the ad is only seen by new potential customers?

And even if you are the ideal customer for your own brand, you’re right in the age range, you’re right in the target location and we’re running retargeting campaigns so existing ‘fans’ will see the ad – it could be as simple as Facebook deciding that there is something else you are more interested in. 

I advertise Omni all the time but I never see our own ads because Facebook likes to taunt me with *checks feed* weighted blankets, luxury holidays, kitchen renovations and for some reason that I will never understand: Wish.com.

The Algorithm Knows

It’s no secret that Google and Facebook know more about you than your immediate family, but did you know that they take all this information into account when showing your adverts too?

You might search the exact same thing as another person, but Google can look through all your past behaviour on the platform and decide that [Person A] is much more likely to complete the ‘conversion action’ than you are, and therefore, decides to spend the budget showing your advert to [Person A] instead of spending it on you.

It might also be the case that if you’ve Googled this term or brand several times before and never clicked through the ad or completed a conversion, Google has probably decided that it’s pointless to continue showing you this advert because you’re not interested.

In short, your own behaviour skews your results.

Targeting Matters

I tailor your ad campaigns to your target audience – this could be as broad as their age and location or as specific as which University they attend, whether they’re avid cyclists or if their partner has a birthday within the next 30 days.

If you don’t fall into the same categories as your target market, it’s likely that you won’t see your own adverts.

At the same time, are you in the correct location? Remember that your ads can be served to a specific geographical location and if you fall outside that boundary, you won’t see your ads

The same goes for your advertising schedule! Your ads might not be running all hours of the day, so if you search outside of this timeframe, there won’t be anything to find.

Budget & Review

Your ads are delivered throughout the day, so if your budget is quite small it might be the case that your ads have maxed their budget if you’re searching later on. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you are assigned a ‘value’ by the platform that correlates to how likely you are to take action on the advert. It could be that this time, Google has decided to not show you the advert right now so the budget can be spent later in the day showing the ad to a higher ‘value’ searcher.

And don’t forget, your ads won’t show straight away as soon as they’re signed off. There’s a review process for every platform that can take anywhere from an hour to 48 hours before the adverts start delivering.

So I come back to my original question –

Why do you want to see your own ads?

I get it, you want to make sure that your ads are ok and they’re showing. If you’re familiar with the platforms you can see previews of your ads without affecting results by going to ‘Ad Previews And Diagnosis‘ in Google, or to the ‘Campaign Manager‘ in Facebook. If you’re not comfortable looking around the platforms, just ask your account manager for ad previews or performance reports!

And if I haven’t convinced you and you still want to see your own ads…

I am more than happy to tailor a campaign to you directly. I can make sure your ads show up every time you, personally, Google the terms and every time you open social media.

Just let me know your age, your interests, your home postcode your work postcode and what time you go to sleep and I can create the perfect campaign that follows you around the internet.

I will haunt your every waking moment with your own advertising campaign.

But I can guarantee you won’t get any conversions.


If you need help planning or implementing your PPC campaign, just give our experts a shout here.

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Chloe Rudd

Chloe Rudd

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