Why Google Isn’t Spending Your Google Ads Budget

Jun 22, 2023

Ever found yourself in the strange situation of having allocated a budget for Google Ads, only to realize that it's not being spent? Fear not! It's not a personal grudge against your funds.

Google is more than eager to accept your money. If you're facing this issue, chances are it stems from a few common reasons that we'll explore in today's article.

Let's kick things off with some quick quality control checks to rule out any minor factors. Then we'll dive headfirst into the main culprit: incorrect target CPA or target ROAS settings.

We'll discuss how these settings can hinder your ad spending and, fear not, we'll provide practical solutions to get things back on track.

How Google Ads Budgeting Works?

Before delving into the potential reasons why your Google Ads campaigns might not be spending your entire budget, let's cover how budgeting works within the platform.

Google Ads operates on a daily budget system. This means that you set an amount that you're willing to spend each day on a specific campaign. Google uses this daily budget to guide its ad delivery throughout the day, aiming to generate as many results as possible within your set spending limit.

While setting up your daily budget, it's important to note that Google Ads has an overdelivery feature. This means that Google can and will exceed your daily budget on certain days when it detects high traffic potential. However, you won't be charged for any overages in a single billing period. In other words, if Google overspends on one day, it will compensate by underspending on another day within the same billing period, ensuring that your overall monthly budget is not exceeded.

Therefore, if your campaign is not spending its full budget, the issue does not stem from the budgeting system itself, but rather from other factors that are affecting your campaign's performance. It's these issues we will explore in the following sections, with a view to optimizing your Google Ads budget and maximizing your campaign results.

Potential Reasons for Google Ads Not Spending Full Budget

When your Google Ads campaign is under-spending, it might seem as though the campaign is not performing optimally. However, this under-spending can often be traced back to several key factors. Understanding these factors can provide a roadmap to diagnose the situation and rectify any underlying issues that are preventing your campaign from utilizing its full budget.

Low Keyword Search Volume

Explanation and Impact: If the keywords you've selected for your campaign aren't frequently searched, your ads have fewer chances to appear, thus leading to under-spending. It's like opening a store in a scarcely populated area; fewer people walking by equals fewer potential customers.

How to Identify This Problem: Using Google's Keyword Planner, you can check the search volumes for your selected keywords. If the numbers are low, this could be the root of your problem.

Possible Solutions: Broaden your keyword strategy. Include more general or high-volume keywords, use synonyms, or explore long-tail keywords. Remember to balance relevancy with search volume to ensure your ads are still reaching a relevant audience.

Overly Narrow Targeting

Explanation and Impact: If your campaign targets a very specific demographic or a small geographical area, the audience pool might be too small to exhaust your daily budget. It's akin to advertising a product only to left-handed people in a small town.

How to Identify This Problem: Look at your campaign's targeting settings. If you've set very specific demographic or geographic parameters, this might be limiting your ads' exposure.

Possible Solutions: Broaden your targeting parameters. This could involve targeting a larger geographical area or widening the demographics you're targeting. However, ensure that your audience still aligns with your customer profile to maintain the relevance of your ads.

Incorrect Settings and Bid Strategies

Explanation and Impact: Incorrect settings such as low bid limits, restrictive ad schedules, or the wrong bid strategy can limit your ads' reach and result in under-spending.

How to Identify This Problem: Review your campaign settings. Check if you've set a low bid limit, restricted ad scheduling, or if your bid strategy aligns with your campaign objectives and the market's competitiveness.

Possible Solutions: Adjust your campaign settings based on your objectives and market conditions. This could mean raising your bid limit, expanding your ad schedule, or changing your bid strategy.

Ads Quality or Relevance Issues

Explanation and Impact: If your ads or landing pages are low-quality or irrelevant to your keywords, Google might limit their exposure. This is because Google aims to provide the best user experience by showing relevant and high-quality ads.

How to Identify This Problem: Check your Quality Score, a metric provided by Google that gives an idea of the quality and relevance of your ads and landing pages.

Possible Solutions: Improve the quality and relevance of your ads and landing pages. This could involve enhancing your ad copy, ensuring that your ads align with your keywords, or optimizing your landing pages to match the user's search intent.

Incorrect Target CPA or Target ROAS

Explanation and Impact: If you're using automated bidding strategies like Target CPA (Cost per Acquisition) or Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), setting the targets inaccurately can prevent your ads from showing enough times to consume your entire budget. For instance, if your target CPA is set too low compared to the average in your industry, Google Ads may struggle to find enough auctions where it predicts an acquisition can be made for that cost.

How to Identify This Problem: Check your campaign's bid strategy settings and the targets you've set for CPA or ROAS. Compare these with the average figures in your industry or the performance of your other campaigns.

Possible Solutions: Adjust your target CPA or ROAS settings to more realistic figures based on your industry's average or your past campaign performance. Be careful not to set these targets too high, though, as it could lead to inefficient spending. It's about finding the right balance to ensure your ads are competitive in the auctions and delivering a satisfactory return on investment.

Think of it like this: When you set a Target CPA of $20, you're essentially telling Google that you only want to target users and search terms that yield a $20 cost per conversion. However, if there's a shortage of potential customers within that cost range, Google will face difficulties in allocating your budget accordingly.

By comprehending the potential reasons behind low spending in Google Ads, you can take proactive steps to optimize your budget utilization.

Remember to conduct thorough quality control checks, address any warning signs promptly, and meticulously evaluate your target CPA or target ROAS settings to ensure they align with realistic expectations.

For a more detailed explanation with visual examples, be sure to watch my full YouTube video below.


How can I increase the overall search volume for my chosen keywords?

Increasing the search volume for your chosen keywords isn't directly within your control since search volume is determined by how often users search for those particular keywords on Google. However, you can adopt strategies to target keywords with higher search volumes or better align your keywords with the search behavior of your target audience. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush can help you find related keywords that have higher search volumes. These tools provide insights into the popularity of certain keywords and can suggest alternatives that are more frequently searched.
  2. Expand Your Keyword List: Don't limit yourself to a few keywords. Expanding your keyword list gives you a greater chance of including high-volume keywords. Use a mix of short-tail (more general) and long-tail (more specific) keywords. Long-tail keywords might have lower search volumes, but they often have higher intent, leading to better conversion rates.
  3. Use Broad Match: Using broad match keyword setting can help you reach a wider audience. Google will show your ads for searches that are variants of your keywords, including synonyms, singular or plural forms, misspellings, or other related searches.
  4. Leverage Seasonal Trends: Certain keywords can see an increase in search volume during specific times of the year, like holidays or seasons. If relevant, align your keywords with these trends to take advantage of the increased search volume.
  5. Consider User Intent: Think about what your target audience might be searching for when they're in need of your product or service. User intent keywords can capture a larger volume of searches and increase the likelihood of reaching users interested in your offering.

What factors affect the quality score of my ads?

The Quality Score in Google Ads, a rating system that assesses the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads, greatly influences your cost per click (CPC). It hinges on several critical aspects.

The first factor is the Click-Through Rate (CTR), which is a prediction of how often your ad is likely to get clicked when it is shown for your keyword. Ads with a high CTR tend to have better Quality Scores.

Another critical factor is how closely each keyword is related to its ad group. The tighter the relevance between your keywords and the ads within an ad group, the better your Quality Score will likely be.

The quality and relevance of your ad text also have a significant impact. The more engaging, compelling, and pertinent your ad copy is to your keyword, the better your Quality Score.

Similarly, the quality and relevance of your landing page play a significant role. Google takes into account whether your landing page offers a good user experience, is easy to navigate, and is related to the keyword and ad copy.

Lastly, your historical performance on Google Ads matters. Google considers the overall success of your past campaigns, and if you've demonstrated a pattern of high-quality, successful ads, this could positively affect your Quality Score.

In essence, a high Quality Score can lead to higher ad rankings and lower costs, thereby enabling you to maximize the value from your Google Ads budget.

How do I know if my bid strategy aligns with my campaign objectives?

Understanding if your bid strategy aligns with your campaign objectives involves first clearly defining what you hope to achieve with your Google Ads campaign. Are you looking to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, drive sales, or increase brand awareness?

Once your objectives are clear, you can evaluate your bid strategy. Each bid strategy in Google Ads is designed to help achieve a specific goal or set of goals.

For example, if your campaign objective is to increase website traffic, a 'Maximize Clicks' strategy may be appropriate, as it automatically sets your bids to get as many clicks as possible within your budget.

On the other hand, if your objective is to increase conversions or sales, strategies such as 'Target CPA' (Cost per Acquisition) or 'Target ROAS' (Return on Ad Spend) could be more suitable. These strategies use Google's machine learning to automatically find an optimal bid for your ad each time it's eligible to appear, aiming to get as many conversions as possible at your target CPA or an average return on ad spend at your target ROAS.