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According to Google: This number represents how often an ad has been shown in relation to the rest of the active ads within the same Ad Group.
It is the only active ad , so shouldn't it be 100%?
Many other ad groups in this campaign also show that they are being served less than 100%, even though they all have only one ad.
Does anyone have any explanation for this?
I have an ad group in a campaign that says it has been served 17.7% of the time. It is the only ad in the campaign!
I fooled myself over this once (well twice!), so here is a possible scenario:
If you had several adverts running in the period you are reporting on, but deleted them because they were not what you wanted, Google will report relatively accurately the percentage time the remaining advert was served. So if we assume advert A was served 50% and B 50%, but you deleted B, you will see A having been served 50%.
If you are certain that you are looking at a period when only one advert existed then you have identified a bug, almost certainly in the reporting side.
I think a number of replies are failing to see that one advert, even served once, if it is the only advert that was served in that ad group in that reporting period, is served 100% of the time
As an AdWord support person, I've fielded this basic questions dozens of times in the past few years - and invariably the answer is found in making certain that one is looking at the stats for an appropriate date range, while also having checked the check box that says "Include deleted items that were active in this date range".