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Google Ads will pause ad groups with low activity automatically

Google pause ad groups
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If you are running Google Ads campaigns, you may have noticed a recent announcement from Google: starting from March 11, 2024, Google will automatically pause ad groups that have not received any impressions in the past 13 months. So why is this happening and what do you need to do?

What has Google Ads updated?

Effectively, if you have redundant ad groups containing keywords that have not received any impressions over the past 13 months, then Google Ads will automatically pause these for you. You can still activate them if you should wish, and you can still update when they are paused. 

Why is Google Ads automatically pausing ad groups with low activity?

Google explains that pausing low-activity ad groups will help advertisers allocate their budget more effectively to the ad groups that are actually generating results. Having too many ad groups with no impressions can drag down the overall quality of the campaign, as they can negatively affect the average performance metrics and the relevance of the ads.

Pausing low-activity ad groups will also make it easier for advertisers to manage their accounts, as they will not have to manually review and update ad groups that are not performing. Google will notify advertisers via email and in the Google Ads interface if any of their ad groups are paused due to low activity.

What does Google Ads automatically pausing ad groups mean for you?

How can you unpause low-activity ad groups?

If you want to reactivate any of your paused ad groups, you can do so by following these steps:

  • Log in to your Google Ads account and go to the Ad groups page.
  • Filter the ad groups by status and select Paused.
  • Select the ad groups you want to unpause and click Edit > Enable.
  • Review your ad groups and make sure they are optimized to deliver impressions.

However, before you unpause any ad groups, Google advises that you should only do so if you expect them to get impressions in the coming weeks. Otherwise, they may be paused again by Google after three months of inactivity.

Check why your ad groups are not serving impressions. There might be something wrong!

Pausing low-activity ad groups is a good way to improve your budget efficiency and campaign quality, but it is not enough to ensure optimal performance for your Google Ads campaigns. Here are some additional tips to help you optimize your campaigns:

  • You might not have the right keywords. Use keyword research tools to find relevant and high-volume keywords for your ad groups.
  • Check your negative keywords. You might be accidentally blocking traffic you were intending to target.
  • Audit your use of keyword match types. You might be using the wrong ones!
  • Audit your assets to enhance your ads with additional information and features, such as callouts, sitelinks, structured snippets, etc.
  • Audit your ad relevance in responsive search ads.
  • Check your landing pages. Use landing page optimization techniques to improve the user experience and conversion rate of your website.
  • Check your conversion tracking and analytics tools to measure and optimize your campaign performance.

I think this is a good thing for everyone. If you have lots of ad groups serving zero impressions, you have to question why this is. If you’ve done the quality control and cannot find any other reason than low search volume, it’s probably because you don’t have the right structure in place. Remember, best practices now call for more consolidated campaigns with a responsible blend of broad match and smart bidding. This update just reiterates the need for some advertisers to get their butts into gear!

Dan Roberts
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