What are Google Ads? And What is With Google Ads Approval?

Google Ads is a powerful tool to increase your business through targeted leads, hyper-focused conversions, and getting traffic on your website that you can nurture and enrich through various marketing strategies.

Over the years, Google has garnered over 4 million advertisers in 2015 and the number is expected to be much higher in 2020.

With the massive increase in advertiser base, it is important to note that certain bad actors can leverage the platform to their unfair advantage and mess up things for the people for which the platform was built for – you guessed it! Real People!

This is essentially the reason why people struggle a lot with Google Ads Approval.

How Does Google Ads Approval Process Work & What Should You Know?

With so many advertisers now advertising on Google, it is virtually impossible for Google to check each ad and keyword individually (although in certain cases, they do actually check those), and therefore they have automated systems that are designed to automatically check your content and decide whether or not to approve your ad.

What usually happens with a new advertiser! 🙂

Since we are dealing with algorithms and robots here, the process sure gets very frustrating if you are not sure about the rules and editorial guidelines that are designed by Google for all advertiser.

Please Note: Failure to comply with Google Ad Policies repeatedly can lead to account suspension and in few cases permanent bans (including a ban on your payment method)

In this article, I will be showing you some of my top tips and tricks that you can use to ensure that your Google Ad is reviewed and approved in less than 2 working days.

When does the Google Ad Review Process Begin?

Quite simply, the moment you create your first ad, your ad goes into a review and you will find your ad status as “Under Review

The review process is re-initiated each time you make changes to any existing elements of your ad such as:

  • Headline 1,2, or 3
  • Description Text
  • Display URL
  • Extensions
  • Path
  • Final URL

What are some super important and most essential factors to consider that will speed up the Google Ads Approval process?

The mission of Google is to organize every piece of information that is available on the planet and make that information accessible to everyone.

Google also wants their users to trust their search engine, and therefore Google needs not just the best quality of information, but also look out for websites that can solve their user’s problems in the shortest amount of time.

It is therefore critical for its advertisers to follow certain guidelines and policies which will help their customers as well as users to take the best advantage of the platform and stay safe on the web.

Here are some of the policies and guidelines laid down by Google which have been updated in 2020.

These rules and policies are applicable to all the businesses around the world (with the exception of certain products and services that are governed internationally by their respective governments)

What is Google Ads Prohibited Content and Why Should I Care?

Well! Simply said – You don’t essentially have much of a choice. Google is very strict about the kind of ads that it allows on its Search and Display Networks

Many people might confuse Google Ads as a platform to reach out to naive customers who might be easy targets when it comes to services such as:

Don’t even try bro!

Counterfeit Goods – Goods that are poor quality and often misrepresented as original products of top tier brands such as Nike, Reebok, etc. Replicas and clones are prime examples of such products. Google has a strict no-promotion policy for these products and even a single flag on your ad can lead to a tight ban on both your account as well as payment method.

Dangerous Products and Services – There are plenty of dangerous products and services out there that cannot make their way into Google’s advertising platform. Some of these products and services include:
Tobacco Products – Popular tobacco products such as beedi, cigarettes, other forms of chewing tobacco, rolling tobacco, pipe tobacco, hookah, all forms of cigars, herbal cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other smoking alternatives such as Juul are not allowed to be advertised on the platform.
Recreational Drugs – Any kind of drug whether for recreational use or medicinal use are not allowed to be advertised on Google’s Advertising Platforms. You may not be able to find opioids
Guns and Ammunition – Any kind of ads related to guns or ammunition is strictly prohibited except for those kinds of materials and accessories that increase the safety of your existing weapons. An interesting glitch happened back in August 2019 when Google inadvertently started displaying ads for Drum Magazines. These ads were taken down shortly.
Please note that you CANNOT show ads for functional devices such as muzzles, flash suppressors, gun optics, grip tapes, weapon charms, sprites, or bipods/tripods or even 3D Printing of guns.
Instruction Manuals On How To Make Explosives Any kind of guides, videos, or media set available online that promotes making explosives including molotov, soda bomb, or other explosives that put the lives of other people in jeopardy are strictly prohibited. Any attempt to create such an ad will lead to a permanent ban on both the Google Ad Account as well as the Payment Method (Debit/Credit Card or Paypal).

Other Weapons – Do you plan to sell swiss knives on Google Ads? It’s best to drop the idea as any kind of knives that may be classified as a weapon is NOT ALLOWED on Google Ads including (but not restricted to) – switchblades, fighting knives, brass knuckles, throwing Knives, throwing Stars, daggers, swords, katanas, tasers, pepper spray, military knives, any kind of axe, or any kind of nunchucks.

What are the Prohibited Practices Defined by Google in 2020?

We have talked about some prohibited products and services on Google, but now it’s time to talk about some spooky stuff.

Not that kinda spooky!

The internet can be a great place for some people, whereas for others it can be a pretty horrible place.

Google does not like people who indulge in all sorts of practices that can be classified as illegal and unethical, and therefore, if your plan is to cheat people or misrepresent your company, you are in for a surprise 😉

Following are some of the prohibited practices that are neither endorsed or supported by Google in any way:

Abusing the Ad-Network for Phishing and Malicious Software

Employees are Cyber Secure in Theory, But Not in Practice [Infographic]
Source: Spanning

Google hates malicious websites that promote and misrepresent companies in order to extract money from users who may have unintentionally downloaded software or service.

Therefore, in order to secure its users from such incidents, Google has enforced a strict Unwanted Software Policy that is enforced for all the software companies that are advertising on Google Search as well as Display Networks (including YouTube, Play Store, and Shopping Network)

Some of the most important highlights from the Unwanted Software Policy includes:

A Privacy Policy to Satisfy Google's Unwanted Software Policy ...
Source: PrivacyPolicies
  1. The download of software may only begin when a user has consented by clicking on a clearly-labelled “Download” button
  2. As part of the install flow, any bundled software must be clearly disclosed.
  3. Before and during the installation process, the software provider must not engage in any “deceptive behaviours” such as – charging fees for a software that is freely available, collecting background information to which a user has not consented, and most importantly making false claims of a user’s system that is not validated or technically established.
  4. The software should be easily removed with clearly defined “uninstallation instructions”
  5. The programs that modify a user’s system settings should clearly and expressly state those updates in a well-defined format. A common example of this is when we try to install an application, but end up having our search engines and other important browser settings changed without our knowledge.
  6. The software should not inject ads or send spam to a user.
  7. The software cannot and must not transmit important and sensitive information of a user to its servers without the consent of the user.

Sharing Unsolicited Affiliate Marketing Ads

Google Ads is probably the most powerful way through which Affiliates make money.

Once you get the hang of the software, it is easy to launch and scale your affiliate marketing campaigns on Google and make money.

At-least that is exactly how it used to be.

Simply copy and paste an Affiliate Link, launch your campaign, and let the money flow in!

Affiliate Marketing 101

Well! Not anymore! Google has placed restrictions on the kind of content that can be promoted and sharing affiliate links directly over your ads is simply not allowed anymore.

Google has clearly specified that all affiliate ads are subject to manual review and need to comply with the affiliate company’s terms and conditions.

In simple terms – You cannot paste your affiliate links directly on Google Ads and you need to comply with your affiliate network’s policy and regulations that allow or disallow affiliates to advertise on Google.

Running Multiple Ads of the Same Business

Google does not allow a business to create multiple Google Accounts and create ads for the same business in order to get an unfair advantage over your competitors.

This is one of the most harshly enforced policy and you might get a harsh penalty if you fail to comply with this particular guideline.

You also need to ensure that all keywords that you target are relevant to your customer’s queries and that you are not reinstating the value proposition that is similar to your competitors.

You are dealing with the world’s most advanced search engine here.

Do not try to game the system.

Follow the rules!

Cloaking Links and Pretending Everyone is an Idiot

Cloaking is the process of hiding or masking your destination URL and sending your user to a website which is vastly different from what he/she had originally clicked.

Typically, this is done through a process known as DNS switching or dynamic DNS

This is very similar to what other people call as “Click Bait” on YouTube.

Hackers use this technique all the time and such a technique can be easily leveraged to send you to an unsolicited webpage and extort your sensitive and private information (such as credit card data, ATM pin, etc.)

DNS Switching
DNS Switching – PCMag

So if you do that, you are definitely in a lot of trouble 🙂

Restrictions on Personal Information Sharing on Unsecured Websites

If you’re an e-commerce store or a product company that promotes products and services and end up transmitting sensitive user data such as credit card information on your website then you need to ensure that your website is SSL Compliant

Google will not allow any website hosted over an unsecured network. You must ensure that your website has a valid security certificate

Many website hosting providers such as Siteground provide these certificates for free.

Ads That Creep The Hell Out Of Its Users Are Strictly Prohibited on Google

Any kind of ads that reveal too much information of the users is completely off limits on Google Search and Google Display Network

Talking about being creepy!

Here are some kinds of ads that you should avoid if you want to get your ads approved in less than 24 hours on Google:

  1. Promotions that address people by name. Nuh uh! Not allowed. For example – An ad that greets people by saying: “Hello Mark! We noticed that you recently visited our website!” will most likely end up by placing a permanent ban on your account
  2. Promotions that reveal way too much information about a user and their financial, mental, physical history or status is also not allowed. For example – An ad that greets people by saying: “Looks like you just missed our last EMI” is kinda going too much into the user’s face and creeping them out.

Ads That Violate GDPR Guidelines Are Pretty Much Not Invited To Advertise on Google

If you are serving to customers in EU (European Union) region, then please ensure that you have properly read the guidelines properly before launching your first ad.

CPABC - GDPR: What European privacy regulations mean for Canadian ...
Source: BCCPA

Here are some friendly tips taken straight from the guide to serve as a quick guide:

  • You must obtain your end user’s consent to use of cookies on your website and clearly indicate that this information will not be shared with anyone.
How to add a cookie consent notification to Blogger? Cookie ...
Source: Techubber
  • You must provide your users with clear instructions on how they can revoke their access with you by giving the name and contact credentials of your assigned Data Protection Officer/Operator.

Ads That Misrepresent Company Credentials And Try To Fool Their Users

Because of the simplicity of the platform, some advertisers can change their credentials completely to reflect something or someone that they might not actually be.

This can lead to all sorts of bad stuff ranging from phishing to online frauds and Google wants to remain on top of such bad guys and protect their users.

Shooing the bad guys away – One fake advertiser at a time! 🙂

Some of the things that you should know about Google Ads Representational and Transparency Guidelines are pretty basic and include:

  • Be Transparent with your users and give all the basic details related to your product like you would when someone visits your store.

For e-commerce websites, this typically includes providing essential information related to manufacturing, shipping, promotions, discounts, EMI information, as well as complete and accurate contact information

  • Hiding any relevant or important information related to taxes, donations, or other legal entities that are required by law is also heavily penalized by Google.

Ads That Mislead Users On Special Offers and False Identities

This one is actually one of the most heavily enforced guidelines and is probably the biggest and most important guideline for all advertisers.

You can have a look at the detailed guidelines on Google’s official website.

Some of the most basic and unique highlights from these guidelines include:

  • Making false statements about your identity or qualifications – Google will conduct background checks and will use all the information provided to verify your identity before you can advertise.
The UN-professional

Using false and bogus claims to fool the person sitting in front of your ad – Not a good idea! Google’s moderating systems are pretty well equipped to spot such ads and you need to ensure that whatever goes in your ad copy is 100% real and authentic.

Here is an example of an ad that is almost immediately rejected coupled with an account ban (for a repeat offender)

Oh really?

In order to avoid getting disapproved, here are some words that you should completely ignore in your ads

“miracle cure”, “get rich quick”, “melt away fat”, “you’ve been waiting for” and refrain from using sensationalized customer testimonials like the one given below.

Secure Job Position Fake Testimonials 6 | Work Anywhere Now
Sure, Mate! Source: Workanywherenow

Using images of celebrities, recognized personalities, or well-known organizations without permission can also land you up in trouble.

You need to be very careful on the kind of images that you are using on the website especially if you belong to healthcare, tourism, and financial services industries as Google keeps a very heavy watch on what you have posted on your website and landing pages.

Strict penalties are also enforceable by Google

Fake celebrity stories are still hijacking Facebook search results ...
Souce: Poynter

Ads that impersonate Government agencies are also liable to face strict penalties, so be careful and don’t do anything stupid!

Ads That Mimic Functions That They Cannot Service AKA The Famous Spammy Download Button CTA Ads

Lastly, Google hates ads that provoke people to download their application or click on their ads by displaying annoying warning messages and download buttons.

We have all seen that kind of ads and more often than not, end up installing softwares and applications that creep up on our systems and mess with your daily life.

Be smart and don’t fall for this trap or create ads that eventually land you up with a permanent ban from advertising on Google 🙂

Chrome to Alert Users on Fake Play, Close, Download Buttons and ...
The infamous spammy ads!

So Is That It? Are We Done?

While we have tried to cover the most basic and essential tips that every advertiser needs to focus, there are certain other factors that you need to keep in mind including the editorial guidelines, and industry specific guidelines that are given below.

Remember to follow the rules and stay safe on Google Ads! Cheers! 🙂

GuideLink
Google Editorial Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6021546
Ad Format Requirementshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/topic/6021648
Financial Services Requirementshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/2464998
Trademarks Requirementshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6118
Legal Requirements Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6023676
Restricted Businesses Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6368711
Kids Content Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/youtube/answer/9528076
Alcohol Ads Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6012382
Adult Content Guidelineshttps://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6023699

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