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10 Mistakes That Will Disapprove Your AdWords Ads

White Shark Media

11 years ago



We are all familiar with the horrible feeling we get when we see the dreaded “error notification” upon opening our AdWords account and you can imagine how I felt when I got the above notification! Oh, if you’re wondering how I managed to get 95 ads disapproved, just skip down to #7 and you´ll understand.

But, I’m sure it could have been worse… The Ribbons could have been bright red, but that would have just been downright mean on Google´s behalf. After all, I´m sure we’ve all had our share of term papers, exams and essays marked with red ink; well, at least I have. So thank you Google for picking that “cautious yellow” Ribbon to alert us that our ads have been disapproved.

So, now that we´ve moved on and past our “oh crap” moment, real work begins. We will decipher exactly why our ad (perfectly planned, meticulously researched, worded in a way that a few can pull off within the 70 allowed characters) has been disapproved

Google's Ads disapproved Notification - White Shark Media

Thankfully Google is, for the most part, pretty good at letting us know which rule we are breaking and below you will find the most common and maybe not so common mistakes which will make us worthy winners of the Yellow Ribbons.

1. Avoid Unnecessary Punctuation

Try not to get too excited when writing your best ad copy ever!!! And definitely no (!) in the headline! Oh, and what about asking more than 1 question in an ad? Not allowed. So keep it down to one question.

Avoid Unnecessary Punctuation - White Shark Media

2. Use Correct Capitalization

No one likes a SCREAMER and SwiTcHinG BeTwEEn CaPiTAlIzaTiON is not allowed. The latter practice oftentimes makes words difficult to read. Besides abiding by Google Policy, we want to make sure our ads are always easy to read and comprehensible for everyone. We recommend you to use Title Capitalization: Capitalizing The First Letter In Each Word … looks nice and is easy to read.

Use Correct Capitalization - White Shark Media

3. Do Not Advertise Weapons

Although Google does allow stun guns and air rifles, you cannot advertise guns or knives. Holsters and swords yes… ammunitions and bombs NO. Replicas and antiques may be advertised on Google, but ninja stars and brass knuckles may not. For full details visit:

4. Making Superbulous Claims Is a No-No

If you want to know the meaning of superbulous click here. But, if you can back up your claim, normally with a credible third party on your site, then feel free to be as superfluous as you want! Personal customer testimonies do not count, sorry!

5. Non-Matching Destination and Display URLs Will Get You Disapproved

Display URLs must match the domain of the destination URL and only one domain can be advertised in an ad group.

Incorrect Display URL

Correct Display URL
In the above examples, we see that an “s” was added right before the “.com”, there is no “s” in While in the second example we forgot to add the “s” before “”. Small mistakes like the ones above are difficult to be spotted after hours of creating and editing ads, which can result in hours of unwanted stress.

6. Using Symbols or Numbers “In a Creative Way”

Using symbols for anything but their true meaning will get you a Yellow Ribbon. The number “4” cannot substitute “for” nor can the “$” substitute the word “price”. The ampersand is allowed since the “&” is a literal symbol for the word “and”. But you cannot use “” to represent the word “quote”, and most people will probably not understand that.

Using Symbols or Numbers “In a Creative Way” - White Shark Media

7. Phone Numbers in Ad Copy is Now A No-Go

Once upon a time… not too long ago, phone numbers were allowed in ad copy, but not any longer. So don´t include phone numbers anywhere in your ad. There are however other tools provided by Google that will allow your ad to appear with a phone number.

8. Repeating Words Might Sound Good on Radio, but Will Get Your Ads Disapproved

Word repetition is not allowed on AdWords. Although it may be an accepted marketing gimmick in other mediums, here it will only get your ads disapproved.

Repeating Words will get your adds disapproved - White Shark Media

Repeating Words will get your adds disapproved - White Shark Media

Repetition will only be allowed when it is part of your business name; and if you can think of a business name that uses repetition, please feel free to post it in the comments as I was unable to come up with an example!

9. Landing Pages That Don’t Work

Ads with destination URLs that are broken or lead to “Error” pages will be disapproved. Your landing page must load correctly for any ads using it to be approved.

This is very important but sometimes Google will miss some of these error pages, especially if the “error page” is a recent occurrence due to a change implemented on your site as an example. You do not want to be paying for clicks that result in error pages, so ALWAYS make sure any changes to your site are reported to the necessary parties; ie your Adwords management company.

10. Don’t Ask For Users to “Click Here”

Last, but certainly not least… especially for Adwords newcomers, a call to action of “Click Here” will get your ad disapproved.

This is a major no-no in Adwords. Your call to action should be more specific than the bland “click here”.

  • What happens after the customer “clicks here”?
  • What do you want them to do?
  • What action do you want them to take?
  • Do you want them to “Browse Your Huge Online Inventory”?
  • Do you want them to “Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter” so they receive your weekly specials?
  • Would you like them to “Call & Speak To A Specialist” who can answer any question they may have?

Your call to action is your chance to provide your customer with instructions on how you would like them to proceed or give them an expectation of what they can find once they have clicked on your ad. Make it count!

Now, this list is in no way all-inclusive. There are literally hundreds of ways to get your ads disapproved but most of them are easily fixable or won´t be an issue for most Adwords advertisers.

And other times an automatic message will prevent you from even uploading your ad when using Adwords Editor and you will be informed of the reason right away so you can take appropriate action.

Other times the reasons given by Google may not be so straight forward: for example “Editorial Policy” is not helpful at all and you might have to do a little digging. But when in doubt, don´t hesitate to contact Google customer service.

This is one area that Google excels in and I can honestly say that they are always helpful and easy-going. Just be sure to answer the customer satisfaction survey at the end of the call so the Google Rep helping you get their kudos!