You’ve created an AdWords campaign for your product, compiled keyword lists, and written a bunch of ads that are sure to drive credit card people to your site. The campaign has been running for a couple of days, and all of a sudden Google notifies him that some or all of his ads have been disapproved.

There are simple and easy to find reasons for this and the so-called gray areas, the step of which is behind experimentation and failure. This blog looks at the most common reasons AdWords ads can be disapproved.

Editorial and technical reasons

Google strives to provide a quality experience for all its users. Advertising is your main source of income and, like organic search, it needs to be relevant and, as part of the Google experience, professional and clear.

There are well-defined technical criteria for all ad formats and components. In the AdWords Help Center. This is the first “limit” an AdWords ad must exceed, and it’s based on capitalization and punctuation, compatibility of the display URL with the destination site, and more.

In addition, the advertisement must be understandable, clear and useful. The landing page must exist and function properly. The use of superlatives is also restricted unless there is confirmation of the claim by a third party on their site. You may think you are the best, but that is not enough.

With these limitations, Google struggles to keep its search results pages clean, users get the right solutions to their problems, and “google” remains both a phenomenon and a verb.

Restricted Industries

These include, for example, adult entertainment and sexual health websites and stores. Ads will be labeled “Approved (Adults Only)”. Practices vary by country, but in this situation, your ads will only appear in “adult terms,” ​​which is sometimes a world apart. You can only enter this world by experimenting, as Google does not provide specific instructions. The rigor is understood, since everyone knows how to use Google, including minors.

Prohibited Industries

A few years ago, Google was fined $500 million by the US Department of Justice for selling advertising space to Canadian pharmacies that illegally market drugs to US consumers. The ministry said that Google was responsible for its advertisers.

It is much easier for the judiciary to attack a big player than it is to go after every advertiser who breaks the law one by one. In addition to adhering to generally accepted standards, this is why Google monitors advertising in strictly regulated areas. These include, for example, adult content, drugs, intoxicants, weapons, and other products and services classified as dangerous. Rules vary from country to country and more detailed instructions can be found. from here.

In the above industries, ad serving may be restricted by various criteria (not family-friendly, adult-only) or banned altogether. The reasons for this are:

  • the keywords you use
  • words in the ad text, and
  • landing place.

You can have some influence on the first two, but if Google’s algorithm ranks your site in a narrow category, even completely legitimate and benevolent advertising will be difficult.

An example is online pharmacies, which under Finnish law can advertise non-prescription products online, such as pharmacy cosmetics. However, if the site contains certain products that contain ingredients that are globally banned, the site will be defined as an online pharmacy and Google will need to seek pharmacy approval. However, Google does not accept them in Finland.

The only option is to change the site so that only approved products remain for sale and change the “spirit” of the site to less “pharmacy”. Some sites have been able to advertise despite this, but it is usually only a matter of time before the algorithm detects them.


In short, advertising is easy when you follow generally accepted practices for both ads and the site. Google goes to great lengths to serve both consumers and advertisers, so over the years it has also learned how to spot abusive attempts. Repeated serious mistakes, in addition to disapproving ads, will eventually result in the suspension of your entire AdWords account or site from Google listings. Nobody wants that.

If you operate in one of the limited areas, it takes a bit of entrepreneurship to figure out where the limits go and what Google considers really acceptable. Practices in some cases vary literally word for word. Also, the algorithm is alive and well, so campaigns need to be constantly monitored – long-running ads may get banned at some point. However, such things come up during regular optimization anyway.

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