If you absolutely need to include such content in your ad, you can still run the ad (it will say “approved: limited” meaning you’ll have targeting restrictions), but you’ll need to follow our steps below to dispute your incorrect disapproval first.
1. Destination not working
What it means: Your ad copy or landing page content is looking to profit from or exploit an impactful social, cultural, or political event. Examples of this could be discussing a public health crisis, civil emergencies, natural disasters, conflicts, or victims of those involved with such events.
The first step is to go through your ad text, extensions, and landing page with a scrutinous fine-tooth comb and identify any areas that might make you stop and think. Even if you’re unsure how to fix or change the possible culprit, it’s helpful to have a few account locations in mind for when you’re working with Google support next.
2. Destination mismatch
What it means: This is similar to the disapproval above, where your ad text contains content that’s been copyrighted.
What it means: While I can’t address every single policy Google has in place that could trigger a disapproval, I did want to give an honorable mention to all the industry-specific Google Ads policies out there.
If you want to have multiple ads that go to different places, then you can absolutely do that. However, they will need to be in different ad groups (or campaigns).
What it means: This may go without saying, but this of course means Google deemed your ad or landing page to be containing wording, phrases, or images that show explicit, violent, or otherwise generally inappropriate content.
4. Punctuation and symbols
How to fix it: The unsupported language disapproval falls under the “technical requirements” policy umbrella which allows your content to be as user-friendly as possible. Note that your ad or landing page doesn’t need to be in English, but it will have to be in a language Google supports via language targeting. So, ensure your campaign language targeting is set to the language you’d like and adjust your content accordingly.
Pro tip: Even if you’re thinking “Impossible! How could I have (insert wacky policy disapproval here) in my ad or landing page?!”— don’t underestimate the thoroughness of Google’s policies.
5. Malicious software
How to fix it: Google’s doing you a favor on the phone number in ad text disapproval because you don’t need to put your phone number there, anyhow! Instead, leverage call extensions or call ads to encourage phone calls.
What it means: Your ad, ad extension, or landing page is deemed too poor of quality due to repetitive words.
Google wants to see you succeed (they wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t!) and the support team will be there to help you through it. The key to navigating a disapproval is to remain calm, identify the culprit if any, and then follow troubleshooting steps from there.
6. Sensitive events
So, the solution here is to reevaluate your content. Or, if you know you’re playing by the rules here, then cross-check for any mistaken or outdated information you have out there that may have been taken into consideration for this policy.
7. Trademarks in ad text
As with any form of marketing, always have a backup account, campaign, or ad ready to run in your back pocket in case of emergency. That way, you’ll always be showing to viewers no matter what!
How to fix it: When you opt in to have special approval for “made for kids content,” you can’t apply any personalized advertising tactics like certain demographic exclusions. On top of this, all of your content must be appropriate for a young audience.
8. Copyrighted content
Ugh, we hate when this happens. Either your new campaign is ready to roll or you’ve been cruising with it for a while now. Then, out of nowhere, that ugly red text is glaring at you from the status column. You. Want. It. Gone. ASAP! But how?
Otherwise, you may just want to reevaluate your ad or ad extension text to remove any possible copyrighted content.
9. Image quality
What it means: Either your ad or ad extension has incorrect capitalization via excessive or “gimmicky” use.
Like I mentioned, in most cases your disapproval is just a mistake by Google’s automated review process. So, regardless of whether you try the tricks mentioned by policy above, here are the three must do steps for your disapprovals—especially if you feel you shouldn’t be getting the disapproval you now have:
What it means: You’ve included another business’s brand name in your ad copy, unauthorized.
There is a support form where you can dispute your use of the “trademarked” term. On the opposite end, if you feel this is happening to your own brand name then you can use that same form.
How to fix it: You might want to leave this one be as there’s nothing wrong with your ad. But, this is Google’s way of reminding you that you do fall under a specific category that may have restrictions.
11. Inappropriate content
In the meantime, we suggest having your webmaster check your site code for any suspicious activity.
What it means: Google has categorized your ad, ad extension, or landing page to fall under a policy, but you are abiding by the guidelines. Therefore, your ad is running as normal but it may have some targeting restrictions.
How to fix it: Think of the Google Ads space as G-rated. I’ve even seen certain types of doctors, like plastic surgeons, get the inappropriate content flag. While it may be necessary for those types of businesses to include such content, Google’s review process is automated and may not necessarily screen for context.
One takeaway from all of the issues above is that a bulk of common disapprovals happen outside of your ad account. So, check your website just as much as you check your ads. You’ll want to keep an eye for any changes in content or the final URL.
12. Unsupported language
For example, if you go ahead and exclude by a demographic in the future on an ad that has this flag, then you’ll end up getting disapproved. This is common for those within the vicinity of the new housing, employment, and credit policies implemented by Google back in 2019.
What it means: Your search ETA or RSA has a phone number in the headline or description.
13. Dishonest behavior
Let’s finish off with the full list of disapprovals covered in this post:
What it means: Your ad or landing page is in a language that isn’t supported by Google Ad’s language targeting.
15. Phone number in ad text
What it means: Your site can’t be reached by Google’s crawlers.
What it means: In simple terms, it means Google is considering your ad or landing page to be behaving similar to a “bait and switch.”
How to fix it: You might call this keyword stuffing if you’re trying to use the same keyword over and over in attempt to boost your impression share. Just like how you wouldn’t want to read the same word multiple times in this article, your ad viewers feel the same way about your ad copy. (Check out some more readability tips here.)
Most certified, authorized, and legally approved arms dealers can still run ads, but only those promoting safety parts. They can then continue the conversation with the customers on their other products once they are in the store. This is another disapproval that’s a bit more rigorous, so not abiding or contacting Google after your first warning will result in total account suspension.
If there’s one thing we’ve gathered from this Google Ad disapproval jungle is that most advertisers on Google will encounter at least one ad disapproval at some point in their career. And that is okay!
If you feel as though you’re fighting an uphill battle with Google Ads disapprovals, this is a good way of ensuring you’re still getting brand exposure via other avenues. A great alternative while you’re sorting out any Google Ads disapprovals is to run ads on Microsoft Ads or Facebook (but avoid these Facebook ad mistakes!).
What it means: Google Ads has values in fairness and honesty put in place to keep a level playing field. Therefore if your ad or landing page is encouraging customers to mislead others or gather unauthorized data, then you may see the Dishonest Behavior disapproval.
This generally doesn’t apply to display ads, but it’s not unheard of to get the disapproval on those image ads—in which case a manual review does the trick. The same goes for when your business name has a number in it.
18. Approved (limited)
What it means: Google’s crawlers identified suspicious activity on your website.
You also can’t throw in symbols to try to amplify your ad copy or apply extra periods for a longer pause between words. You’ll have to rely on the context of your ad to get your point across to the reader, and correct the punctuation in your ad copy to avoid this issue.
How to fix it: The misrepresentation Google Ads disapproval has a whole slew of reasons behind it. Your ad headlines may be containing clickbait, or you could be accidentally promoting a price that’s no longer accurate. If anything relating to your ads could be considered a scam of any form, it will get this disapproval.
19. Industry-specific disapprovals
Additionally, you’ll want to ensure your site is universally accessible, even if you’re only advertising to a specific area. If you’re unsure about the root of your “destination not working” disapproval, I’ll cover some tips later on how to get further clarification from Google.
How to appeal your Google Ads disapproval
How to fix it: We’ll admit this one can be tougher. It usually has to do with your website’s coding or links. It can feel like searching through a needle in the haystack, so you’ll most likely want to contact Google for this one to get clarification on, at minimum, a specific location within the site of where the issue is occurring.
1. Double check everything else first
What it means: This is that picky grammar portion of Google Ads where it requires advertisers to have ad text that’s grammatically correct and avoids any excessive symbols.
Likewise, campaigns can’t have final URLs leading to two different domains. In short, campaigns can have different final URLs within them, but ad groups can’t. Accounts can have ads pointing to more than one domain, but campaigns can’t.
However, if your heart is set on using a specific image, then cross-check it with Google’s image quality guidelines to look for any missing pieces you can change to get your display ad to run.
Check your landing pages regularly
What it means: Your final URL from one ad to another within the same ad group is not exactly the same.
Always have other channels running
If you don’t find anything outwardly disapproval-worthy, go ahead with the appeal. If you hover over your disapproval in the status column, you’ll usually get the option to appeal (though there are a few policies, like “dangerous products or service,” that won’t allow for an appeal). Click appeal and select which ads you’d like to appeal.
Don’t let Google Ads disapprovals get you down
So, Google put this repetition policy in place with that in mind. There’s plenty of tools out there that can help you brainstorm new ad copy so you don’t have to say the same word more than a few times.
Otherwise, if you are unsure what the culprit is, take a look back through all components of your Google advertising through a G-rated lens and remove any questionable content.
If your display or video ad, or ad text, is deemed not okay for someone under the age of 13 to see, then your ad will get disapproved. You could try re-strategizing to angle your products (whether it be toys, shows, books, etc.) to the parents, or adjust your copy to be more family-friendly.
What it means: Your display ad is disapproved due to wrong image specifics. For example, it could be blurry or upside down.
- Destination not working
- Destination mismatch
- Punctuation and symbols
- Malicious software
- Sensitive events
- Trademarks in ad text
- Copyrighted content
- Image quality
- Inappropriate content
- Unsupported language
- Dishonest behavior
- Dangerous products or services
- Phone number in ad text
- Made for kids content
- Approved (limited)
- Industry-specific disapprovals
- Category: eCommerce