There is no doubt. Google is very committed to delivering the best user experience. So, it comes as no surprise that it tends to be very strict with product listings. Any failed attempt to comply with the applicable laws and regulations may as well result in ad disapprovals or even worse an account suspension (yes, Google is entitled to suspend your AdWords account). Undeniably, this is a nightmare for every company. Having your account suspended or dealing with ad turn downs means that your ads won't be able to run anymore, which will affect your traffic, and consequently decrease your conversion rate.
Besides making mistakes when creating the feed, there are other reasons that may get you into trouble, especially when you are selling products that are heavily regulated or strictly prohibited. Below, is a comprehensive list of the main reasons behind disapproved products on Google Shopping, as well as common mistakes to avoid, and, of course, tips on how to fix them.
Healthcare & Medicines
Google is very strict when it comes to the promotion of healthcare-related content. This varies from one country to another but in the majority of cases, Google doesn’t allow the promotion of prescription drugs, supplements, abortion and fertility drugs, and more. Even mentioning any of these medical terms on your landing page can lead into your ad disapproval. You don't necessarily need to sell these products; just using the terms that are in Google's "blacklist" is enough to get your ad disapproved. This is mainly because Google uses a computer ‘crawler’ that scans landing pages for related terms.
"In case you fall in this situation and you’re not selling any of the above-mentioned products, apply for a "manual actions report" where a human reviewer determines whether or not you have really violated Google’s guidelines."
Just like the medical terms, alcohol-related content is highly monitored. In most countries, alcohol promotion is permitted. However, if you target a country where alcohol promotion is banned, you instantly violate the laws and industry standards for that specific location, which will result in your ad being disapproved.
"Always check the specific requirements of the country you’re targeting."
Adult Oriented Content
The promotion of adult-oriented content is under strict supervision too. In most countries, adult content is prohibited. Only a few countries, though, do allow it under certain limitations (i.e. Germany). So, always go through the restrictions applied to your target country and keep an eye on any future changes to the pertaining laws and regulations.
"Make sure you mention whether the product you are advertising for is adult-oriented or not. If you fail to submit the corresponding attribute, Google will assume (by default) that you don’t sell such items. This is not a problem if you don't promote adult-oriented products. But, if you do, it will count as a violation and your ad will get disapproved."
Trademarks & Copyright
Google restricts the promotion of copyrighted content. When you use the copyright owned by another company, that company can file a complaint. As a result, your item will be disapproved.
"Use synonyms of certain copyrighted words. If you believe you are legally authorized to promote a copyrighted content then get in touch with a member of the Google team or fill out a copyright documentation form and send it for review."
Google considers it misleading for a domain name to be different from the display URL. For instance, if your website is SEOgurus.com, your display URL can’t be SEMninjas.com. The roots need to be matching!
"Watch out for broken pages [404 Error]. This will give Google a valid reason to disapprove your ads automatically.
Below are some commonly made mistakes when writing an ad copy:
- Words in the ad are in all caps: LIMITED OFFER, SHOP NOW
- Using a bait or trick to get clicks: Using terms like "just click here” can flag your ad. Instead, use words like “shop now”.
- Excessive use of exclamation points: Adwords only allows the use of one exclamation point so keep it simple.
- Phone numbers in the ad text: Your phone number needs to be added as an extension.
- False claim: Unless a third party supports your claim, you can’t go on using an unsupported statement like “ The US Number One Student Advice Services”. Stick with a more general tagline like “ Trusted US students advice center”."
"Be clear and concise when writing your ad copy and always check Google's requirements to be sure of what not to include."
Ad disapprovals can get very tricky. Given that Google takes the pertaining policies strictly, it will not hesitate to disapprove your ad right on the spot if it doesn't meet the requirements. Hopefully, with the tips mentioned above, you will avoid pitfalls. And, if things go south, don't lose it. Just make sure you deal with the disapprovals as soon as they get flagged.