We’ve all been there when we’ve logged into our accounts, and there are AdWords notifications in the top right. But then some of us turn a blind eye…

Why do we ignore AdWords notifications?

No matter where we are, we are continually swamped by notifications. If we’re extra smart, we’ll sync all of our devices. That way, we have to acknowledge the same notification multiple times. From morning to night, these little buggers are jumping out at us like Toy Story aliens! In reality, many of them will slip through our claws.

The broad topic of notifications and why we ignore them is just fascinating to me. But, that is not why we are here! We are here because for obvious environmental reasons; our brains do not always want to take AdWords notifications seriously. Now it is time to find out whether we need to override this decision.

Is Google doing anything to help make certain notifications more noticeable?

Yes, they are! The most severe alerts, which show payment issues show up in a red bar at the top of the page.

All of the important alerts have a preview bar near the top of your screen. You can also view all of your notifications at once by clicking on the bell in the top right of your screen.

What are the different types of AdWords notifications?

At this time, there are three different notification categories.

1. Important alerts – If ads aren’t running, or there is a billing issue.

Important notifications will have a red triangle next to them with a ! in the middle.

BEWARE! Google uses a very similar red square with a ! to notify us of a new notification. So, it is easy to mistake the two.

The close similarities between the two can make matters confusing. A red square with an explanation mark does not mean there is an important alert. Despite seeing a very similar symbol, the notification we see once clicking may not be an important alert.

2. New AdWords features or system updates – Informs us of new reports available to help us track performance in a different way.

Features or system updates have a blue circle next to them and the letter ‘i’ for information.

In my opinion, blue info updates are the least useful. Please let me know if you disagree.

3. Opportunities – Suggestions that are tailored specifically to our accounts.

Opportunities will have a yellow light bulb next to them.

These may not be deemed to be important by Google, but in some cases, they can be! Examples are shown below.

Examples of AdWords notifications, solutions and thoughts

This section will help us answer the question of whether all AdWords notifications are important or not.

Your ads aren’t running. To resume serving ads, please verify your payment method.

As soon as this alert pops up, resolve it to avoid downtime.

This notification cannot be displayed in regular fashion because there’s a chance advertisers will ignore it. For that reason, Google shows this notification in a red bar at the top of the page.

Read this AdWords Help Center article that explains how to verify your form of payment.

None of your payment methods can be charged. Change or update your payment methods to use this account. 

This alert will often accompany the warning that notifies us that our ads are not running. Again, this is one we cannot ignore! Google reiterates this by also displaying this alert in a red bar at the top of the page.

This AdWords Help Center article provides information to help you manage your payment methods.

Ads disapproved. View your ads tab to learn why each ad was disapproved and see a link to more information.

Disapproved ads will not be able to run. If you are managing a large account, it can be tough to keep on top of ad disapproval alerts.

If you do not currently use the policy details column to diagnose your ad issues, I’d recommend using it.

  1. At ad group or campaign level, select the ads tab
  2. Click on the Columns button
  3. Click on Modify columns…
  4. Select Attributes
  5. Select Policy details
  6. Apply

Once you have this column selected, you can see line by line details. These details provide information on the specific policy in question that led to the disapproval. There is also a clickable link that provides you with more information.

Make the necessary changes to your ads, and they will need to go under review. Soon enough, Google will approve your ads, and they’ll be eligible to run again.

Google’s documentation states that they will review ads within one working day. Though, in my experience, they are always a lot quicker than that.

Unless you have a complex policy breach on your hands, your ads will be back up and running in no time.

Ad group without ads. Some of your ad groups have no enabled ads. 

In my opinion, there is no need for this notification to fall under the important alerts category.

This alert will show if you have removed ads and forgot to pause the ad group.

You should have checks in place which flag when there are no ads in an ad group. Especially if you have more than a few months experience with AdWords.

The high adoption of the AdWords copy and paste feature will also play its part. Many ad groups are now being born without ads existing inside of them in the first place.

Most of the time, this is just a helpful hint to clean up after yourself and pause both ad groups and ads at the same time.

Campaigns can use Conversion Optimizer. Conversion Optimizer uses your conversion tracking data to help you get the most conversions for your budget.

If your campaign has had 15 conversions or more in a 30-day window, then you can unlock the Conversion Optimizer.

Analyse the size of the account that you are managing, the results you are currently achieving and the time that you have to optimise your campaigns manually. Depending on your analysis, you may want to consider a Max CPA or Target CPA strategy.

Max CPA and Target CPA strategies do not always work. If you do not have a wealth of conversions for a campaign, a manual approach can work better.

For this reason, I do not think that Google should have made this an important alert.

This notification suggests to us that the Conversion Optimizer is superior to other bidding strategies. It would have made more sense for this to be an opportunity alert.

Keyword conflicts. Some of your keywords aren’t working because they’re being blocked by your negative keywords.

You’ll want to watch out for negative keyword conflicts like a hawk. If you have conflicts in your account, you may be blocking your keywords from showing.

If you split your ad groups by match type, it is common to place negatives in the wrong place. You can easily forget to change the negative keyword match type or remove negative keywords.

Or, you may have been copying and pasting ad groups or moving keywords around. Make sure that you do not forget to keep on top of the negatives.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most helpful and necessary AdWords notifications!

Ad groups need targeting. Some of your ad groups aren’t running. Take action by adding targeting, such as keywords. 

In each ad group, you need both ads and keywords. If your ad groups are missing keywords, then you will see this notification pop up.

However, it is likely that you can see this message because you have purposely paused keywords. If this happens, remember to also pause the ad group.

This alert does serve as a helpful prompt to keep your account clean. Also, Google is not a mind reader! It cannot determine if this is laziness on our end or a genuine case.

So, if it were up to me, this wouldn’t cut the important mustard.

 Build a winning campaign. From the Basics to Best Practices, our guides and videos will show you the steps to success.

This is a link to Google’s basic and best practices guides. No matter how advanced you are, Google’s documentation is always helpful and worth reading.

 Flash ads can’t be uploaded as of June 30th. As of June 30, 2016, you’ll no longer be able to upload display ads built in Flash. To continue running similar ads, you can create HTML5 ads using Google tools like Google Web Designer, or you can upload your own.

This notification should not come as a surprise to anyone. If you do still have flash ads in your account, visit this AdWords help article.

Some of your landing pages aren’t mobile-friendly. A % of your mobile clicks go to non-mobile-friendly landing pages.

If you see one of these AdWords notifications, make your pages mobile-friendly.

Obviously, I understand that you may not be responsible for developing websites. However, to get the most out of your campaigns and spend, you’ll need your sites to be up to date. So, this is something to fight for.

Add keywords. Get your ads in front of potential customers and get more clicks. 

If you do not conduct keyword research outside of AdWords, this notification can be helpful. However, this does not mean that this notification is not helpful. I just think that Google will keep throwing ‘opportunities’at us, and I think while this is a good place to start, external research is required.

A campaign may be losing clicks due to a limited budget. Raise the campaign budget to avoid missing out on more than X clicks by keeping your ads running.

This AdWords notification is important. If you do not have budget constraints, you’ll never want to lose out on clicks.

Therefore, always be as generous as possible with budgets. Small and timid changes will not always be sufficient. Leave yourself a cushion to cut down on the back and forth. You should carry out daily checks to manage budgets.

Prepare yourself for search volume changes caused by seasonality or events. For example, in the travel industry, your campaigns will need more budget in June compared to December.

Create ad groups from existing keywords. Organise your keywords by theme and create more relevant ads.

Firstly, try to keep all of your ad groups as targeted as possible. If Google has to pull you up and show this notification, you have work to do. I like to get as granular as possible when creating ad groups. In some cases, I only have one keyword per ad group allowing me to show the best ad possible to searchers. These types of AdWords notifications act as reminders for us to keep on top of our accounts.

Optimise your ad rotation for a campaign. Get more clicks when you show your best ads.

By clicking on ‘view’, we can see the opportunity that Google is presenting to us. We’ll receive a recommendation to change our ad rotation setting. Also, we’ll be supplied with forecasted results to help to make the decision of whether to apply the change or not.

Receiving AdWords notifications via email

Customise your email notification preference to help you keep on top of AdWords notifications and alerts. By default, you’ll have critical alerts flying into your inbox, but you’ll want to tailor the settings to suit you.

If you are on of many people managing an account, be aware that at least one user must opt into important alerts.

Also, if the email associated with an AdWords account is not one that you check often, then set up forwarding rules.

Here are the different types of AdWords email notifications:

  • Billing
  • Campaign maintenance
  • Newsletters
  • Google’s market research
  • Customised performance suggestions
  • Disapproved ads and policy alerts
  • Reports
  • Special offers

Where did my AdWords notifications go?

If you are asking this question, then I can currently think of three scenarios.

  1. You initially saw the notification when your view was at campaign level, and you may now be looking at a different view such as keyword or ad group.
  2. If you aren’t the only person managing the account, someone else may have dismissed the alert.
  3. You may have dismissed the notification yourself by accident or by purpose and forgot about it. Hey come on, it happens!


After looking at all of the AdWords notifications out there (that I could find), it is clear that we should not ignore them. Clearing out notifications of low importance should be seen as simple admin. That way, everything is nice and clean and when you get an important notification, you can act quickly.

Also, if you are one of many people managing an account, don’t annoy your peers by not cleaning up after yourself. You’ll also then be at risk of leaving notifications for each other to deal with and the account will get messy!

I’m going to run away now and make sure that I keep on top of my AdWords notifications. I suggest you do the same!

As always, I’ll be updating this post as I go. Help me out, interact with me and tell me how I could be improving my posts.

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