Ad Disapproved? Call The Googlers

By Sarah Wyland | Sep 17, 2013
More Articles by Sarah


Our ads, both text and display, go through several rounds of creative approval before they are even loaded into Google. We review them internally until they meet our high standards. From there, we send them off to the client for feedback. Once approved by the client, we load our ads into Google and wait for the Google seal of approval. It’s a pretty standard practice.

When our ads are deemed ‘disapproved’ by Google, the reason is almost unanimously the same: Trademark. Resubmitting ads for review is a relatively simple process. But before we launch into discussing how it’s done, let’s brush up on what will get an ad disapproved in the first place.

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Why was my ad disapproved?

If your ad is showing up as ‘disapproved,’ you have violated Google’s advertising policy. A few things that will get your ad disapproved include:

-     Irrelevant ad content – your landing page does not reflect the subject matter of the ad or else the products or services offered in the ad are not reflected on the landing page

-     Phone numbers – Unless your company’s name is an actual phone number (think 1-800-Contacts), then phone numbers aren’t allowed in ad text or sitelink extensions

-     Inbox notification – Your ad simulates receiving some kind of notification in an inbox

-     Bad grammar – Grammar is important to Google as is spelling; Missing lines and/or excessive spacing will also get you disapproved

-     Calls to Action – CTAs like ‘click here’ or ‘Visit this site’ can apply to any ad, no matter the content

-     Trademark – if it’s not your trademark, don’t use it

-     Adult content – if you don’t want Grandma to see it, avoid using it

For a full look at dos and don’ts when it comes to AdWords, check out Google’s Advertising Policies.

There are a few additional ‘don’ts’ for display ads which can be viewed here.

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How do I get my disapproved  ad reviewed?

Good news! Getting your ad reviewed is actually pretty simple.

First, you have to find out why they were disapproved. Under the status column, hover over the bubble next to ‘disapproved’ and read Google’s description. From there, you’ll know what sorts of edits you’ll need to make.

With text ads, simply updating the ad will re-submit the ad for approval. You have to make some sort of change to the ad, however. If you simply click ‘edit’ followed by ‘save’ and your ad remains unchanged, you’re not going to be reviewed.  As long as you have corrected what Google deemed an issue, your ad will likely be golden.

But what if Google is wrong and there is nothing wrong with my ad?

It happens. Sometimes your ad doesn’t actually violate Google’s terms and conditions. Maybe you have a pet store selling flea and tick medication. Those ads may be disapproved under the notion that you’re selling a pharmaceutical without the proper licensing. The same could happen if you have a lawn care business, and you’re advertising on fertilizer. If you feel strongly that your ad shouldn’t be disapproved, call the Googlers. They will be happy to help.

Sometimes it’s your landing page that gets disapproved. In this instance, revise your page accordingly and fill out Google’s Site Policy form. Any questions or concerns, call the Googlers. (Sensing a theme, here?)

As for Display ads, it’s a similar process. Find out why Google disapproved your ad and then make the appropriate changes. Re-uploading will trigger the review process. In my experience, ads that are disapproved tend to be display ads – which many times are wrongly disapproved and require a phone call to Google to sort everything out. Talk it over with your Googler friend and they will help determine if your ad truly violates their policy, and will make the decision on whether to reconsider your ad or to request that you make changes before submitting.

Typically, display ads resubmitted after a call to Google are either approved or denied by the close of business, but can take up to three days.

But seriously, call those Googlers. They are a fantastic resource!

Thoughts on ad disapprovals? Tweet me at @Sarah_Wyland!

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