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Why Your Google Ads Are Being Disapproved (and How to Fix Them)

Why Your Google Ads are Being Disapproved (and How to Fix Them)


Having your Google Ads campaigns disapproved can be frustrating. If your ads aren’t running, you’re going to get fewer leads and conversions. Worst of all, you could end up having your Google Ads account suspended if you don’t fix your disapprovals.

While Google doesn’t tell you why your ads get disapproved, it can be quite easy to figure it out yourself. We’ve listed the ten most common reasons below and the quick fixes you can make to get your paid advertising campaigns back up and running.

Here are the common reasons why your google ads are getting disapproved

1. Different root domains

If your root domain in your display URL is rabbitsareawesome.com but your destination URL’s root domain is squirrelsareawesome.com, Google will disapprove your ad. Their policy states that the root domains must be the same.

How to fix it: Make sure your root domains are exactly the same in your display and destination URLs.

2. Using all caps

Say you own a fashion brand and open your ad with ‘HUGE SALE’, it might grab people’s attention, but it goes against Google’s guidelines. Using words in all caps will get your ad disapproved except when you’re using promotional codes, common abbreviations like ASAP, trademarks, and brand and product names.

How to fix it: Only use sentence or title case in your ad copy unless you have a promotional code or brand name that needs to be capitalised.

3. Mentioning copyrighted content

This sounds obvious, but it can catch people out. If another company has copyright over certain words and phrases, you will be penalised for using them.

How to fix it: Double-check your copy for copyright phrases. If you come across any, use synonyms.

4. Using exclamation marks

You might think you’re making your copy exciting and engaging, but using exclamation marks is just setting yourself up for disapproval. Only one exclamation mark is allowed per ad, and it can’t be in your headline. But Google’s rules on punctuation don’t stop there – symbols can’t be used for anything other than their original purpose. For instance, @ is fine in an email address, but not if you’re saying ‘@ home’ instead of ‘at home’.

How to fix it: Make sure you have a maximum of one exclamation mark in your ad copy, and remove any unnecessary symbols.

5. Low-quality images and videos

When trying to get users to click on your ad, you want to present your best self. While low-quality images and videos won’t achieve this, many still use them, and Google really doesn’t like them. Small, blurry media will get your ad disapproved, along with a video that has poor sound quality.

How to fix it: Upload media that is of the highest quality possible. Double-check to ensure nothing is blurry, and rewatch your videos to confirm the sound quality.

6. Non-existent landing pages

If you’re building your campaign before your landing page goes live, make sure you don’t start your ads until everything is ready. Google will disapprove your ads if you link to a page that doesn’t exist.

How to fix it: Make sure your landing page is live before you run your campaign.

7. Inappropriate content

Whether it’s your ad copy or your landing page, Google has a very low tolerance for content it deems inappropriate. To be on the safe side, steer clear of anything that has to do with adult-oriented content, gambling and dangerous products like fireworks.

How to fix it: Use non-offensive copy and stay away from themes that Google will consider inappropriate.

8. Too much copy

Google Ads has a character limit – headlines can be up to 25 characters, while descriptions max out at 35. If you go over these, disapproval won’t be far away. There are exceptions to the rule, though – if your target country’s national language has lengthy words – like Russian and German – you’ll have a little more room.

How to fix it: Stick strictly to the character limits, and keep your ads simple and to the point.

9. Putting your phone number in the copy

Even if you want potential customers to give you a call, you can’t put your phone number in your ad copy. Google will automatically flag your ad for disapproval and you’ll see your leads plummet.

How to fix it: Don’t put your phone number in your ad copy – save it for your landing page.

10. Telling users to ‘click here’

Using a generic call to action such as ‘click here’ will see Google almost immediately disapprove your ad. The search engine giant instead encourages some creativity.

How to fix it: Use a call to action like ‘shop now’ to prevent a Google Ads disapproval.

11. Detecting Malicious Software

Google’s crawlers have detected potentially harmful activity on your website.

How to Fix it: Resolving this issue can be challenging, often involving your website’s coding or links. Seeking assistance from Google is advisable to obtain clarification, pinpointing the specific location on your site where the problem exists. As a proactive measure, it’s recommended to engage your webmaster in scrutinizing your site’s code for any signs of suspicious activity while waiting for further guidance from Google.

12. Using a Trademark in your ad text

Your ad copy includes another business’s brand name without proper authorization.

How to Fix it: Inadvertently using another company’s brand name can occur, especially when it coincides with common search terms. If your ad receives trademark disapproval, it may still run but with restrictions on when Google deems it eligible to appear. To address this issue, utilize the support form available for disputing the use of the “trademarked” term. Conversely, if you suspect this is happening with your own brand name, you can employ the same form for resolution.

13. Dishonest Behavior Disapproval

Google Ads upholds values of fairness and honesty to maintain an equitable advertising environment. If your ad or landing page promotes customer deception or the unauthorized collection of data, it may result in Dishonest Behavior disapproval.

How to Fix it: Caution is advised, as receiving a warning for this disapproval leads to an account suspension within seven days. Activities such as promoting spyware, hacking services, or illegal documentation services fall into this category.

Examples encompass offering exam answers, supplies to pass drug tests, selling sensitive information like banking details, and other activities considered “sketchy.” The only effective remedy for this stringent disapproval is a complete overhaul of your ad and landing page or immediate contact with Google support.

How do I appeal a Google Ads disapproval?

Thoroughly Review Everything First: Conduct a meticulous examination of your ad text, extensions, and landing page. Identify any elements that might raise concerns. Even if you’re uncertain about how to rectify or modify potential issues, having specific locations within your account in mind will be beneficial when engaging with Google support. If you think you’ve been flagged incorrectly, or that you qualify for an exception, make sure to request a review. You can also call Google to request reviews, and this can be a great way to get more information on why your ad was disapproved.

Submit an Appeal: If you don’t find anything outwardly objectionable, proceed with the appeal process. Hover over the disapproval in the status column and usually find the option to appeal (excluding certain policies like “dangerous products or services”). Click on appeal and select the ads you want to appeal. You can dispute the decision or mention the changes you’ve made for compliance. Appeals typically go through within a few business days, and you can monitor the status in your Policy Manager.

Important tip: Avoid overwhelming the system with multiple appeals. Submitting numerous appeals for the same ad in rapid succession can confuse the automated review and cause delays. The same applies to duplicate appeals without allowing a day or so in between.

Contact Google Support: In most cases, reaching out to Google Support becomes necessary. Utilize the support form, which usually provides a response within a week or two. Specify in your request that you seek a manual review. Provide detailed information about the disapproval, its location in the account, and the steps you’ve taken to address it. While it may be tempting to submit a brief request, providing extra information will save you time later.

Important tip: If you haven’t received a response after two weeks, submit another form to escalate the urgency.

How to prevent Google Ads disapprovals?

  1. Exercise Caution with Uncertain Content: If you have reservations about certain content getting disapproved, it’s likely best to avoid it. Embrace the challenge to be creative within the bounds of Google’s policies. This limitation can inspire innovative approaches to ad content and targeting.
  2. Regularly Monitor Landing Pages: Recognise that many common disapprovals originate outside your ad account, often on your website. Regularly inspect your landing pages for any alterations in content or the final URL to maintain alignment with Google’s policies.
  3. Diversify Marketing Channels: If you find yourself grappling with Google Ads disapprovals, ensure you maintain brand exposure through alternative channels. Running ads on platforms like Microsoft Ads or Facebook (while avoiding common Facebook ad mistakes) can provide a valuable supplement while resolving Google Ads issues.

By incorporating these practices, you not only reduce the risk of disapprovals but also enhance your overall advertising strategy. This proactive stance encourages creativity, ensures website compliance, and diversifies your marketing efforts for a well-rounded online presence.

Have you had any ads disapproved by Google? What was the cause? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @TeamTillison. In the meantime, contact our PPC specialists today to find out how they can help with your campaigns and check out our Google Ads training courses.

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