Google Ads Disapprovals: What They Are and How to Fix Them

Macy is a Content Writer at WebFX. With a Content Marketing Certification, she's an expert in crafting pieces filled with the facts about all things digital marketing. You'll find many of her pieces featured on UpCity's Top Digital Marketing Articles of the Week. When she isn't clacking her keys, she's wondering why her dog is so cute. Follow her on Twitter @iinfinitestorm.

You’ve launched the perfect ad campaign this week ­­–– the ad text was compelling, your landing page was informative, and you targeted the right keywords. You go to check on your prized ad campaign and see red text bearing words you don’t want to see.

Disapproved.

Your mind starts racing. Disapproved? What does that mean? What did I do wrong?

Before you start panicking, take a deep breath. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about Google Ads disapprovals. We’ll answer questions like:

  • What are Google Ads disapprovals?
  • What types of Google Ads disapprovals are there, and how do you fix them?
  • How do you appeal Google Ads disapprovals?

Keep reading to learn more!

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What are Google Ads disapprovals?

Google Ads disapprovals occur when your ad goes against Google’s advertising policies. Ads go through an automated review process, and if your ad violates one of Google’s advertising policies, Google marks it as disapproved.

14 Google Ads disapprovals you need to know (and how to fix them)

If your Google Ads get disapproved, there are numerous reasons why it happened.

In this section, we’ll breakdown the disapprovals into three common categories:

Keep reading to learn more about the reasons for Google Ads disapprovals and how you can fix them!

Disapproval name What it means How to fix it
Destination mismatch When your final URL doesn’t match among all ads in an ad group Set all ads in an ad group to go to the same destination
Destination not working Google can’t crawl or reach your website Adjust website coding to allow crawlers and check the URL is correct
Repetition Ad copy and landing page are poor quality and appear to stuff keywords Refine your ad copy to target search better and force in fewer keywords
Capitalization Your ad copy uses excessive capitalization Only capitalize the first letter of every word in your title tag. You can file an appeal if full capitalization is part of your brand name or a coupon code
Punctuation and symbols Ad is not grammatically correct or contains excessive symbols Check that punctuation is accurate and ad doesn’t use any symbols
Trademarks in ad text Another business’s name is in your ad copy without authorization Remove the name or adjust to meet Google’s reseller and informational site policy requirements. You can appeal if it’s your brand name, if you have authorization, or you aren’t referencing the trademark.
Copyrighted content Your ad text contains material that’s been copyrighted Remove the content or provide documentation to prove you have a right to use it
Image quality Your display ad image has the wrong dimensions, is blurry, or the orientation is wrong Swap out the image or check Google’s image guidelines for display ads
Dishonest behavior Your ad or landing page encourages people to mislead others Completely change your ad content and contact Google support for help
Sensitive events Your ad copy exploits or profits from impactful society events, like natural disasters or world conflicts Rework your ad copy and consider how what you’re saying could be insensitive
Malicious software Crawlers see suspicious activity on your website Contact Google to help pinpoint the specific problem area
Inappropriate content Google determines your ad content is violent, explicit, or otherwise inappropriate Tweak your ad copy to make sure it’s appropriate ­­–– keep it G-rated
Misrepresentation Your ad copy and landing page create a bait-and-switch scenario Make sure your ad copy and landing page align
Dangerous products or services Your ad promotes items like explosives, knives, guns, etc. Tweak your ad copy to focus on the safety of these items, rather than the items themselves

Destination disapprovals

If you’re having Google Ads issues, it may be because your destination for your ad isn’t working.

Here are two destination-focused disapprovals you may see:

  1. Destination mismatch

If your Google ads get disapproved, it may be because your destination for each ad isn’t the same. When you have multiple ads within an ad group, they must all go to the same final URL –– even your paused campaigns.

If one or more of your ads goes to a different URL, you may receive this Google ads disapproval.

How to fix it

If your Google ads are disapproved because of this reason, make sure all your ads go to the same URL within your ad group. You’ll want to make certain paused campaigns go to the same place, too.

There may be ads that you want to go to a different URL, and that’s fine! You’ll need to put them in a separate ad group so you can send users to a different URL for those ads.

  1. Destination not working

Having Google Ads issues? It may be because your destination isn’t working. When your run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, Google crawls your ads to understand the context of your landing page. If it can’t crawl them, it can’t understand what’s on the page to determine relevancy.

How to fix it

If your Google Ads get disapproved for this reason, there are two solutions. First, check to make sure your URL is correct. It may be a simple spelling error causing Google to try and crawl a page that doesn’t exist.

If your URL is correct, you’ll need to check your website coding. You may need to adjust your robots.txt file to allow Google to discover and crawl your URL.

Visual disapprovals

If you’re looking for reasons for Google Ads disapprovals, it may be tied to the visual aspects of your ad. If something isn’t right with what your audience sees, like your ad copy or visuals (for display ads), you can get a disapproved status.

Here are some visual disapprovals that explain why your Google Ads aren’t running:

  1. Repetition

If you see your Google Ads disapproved, it may be because your ad copy and landing page come off as repetitious. The repetition disapproval means your ad copy and landing page are poor quality, often due to keyword stuffing within the text.

How to fix it

Of all the Google Ads issues, this one is one of the easiest to fix. If you see the repetition error, tweak your ad copy.

First, make sure your ad copy is reflective of the keywords you’re targeting. If you’re targeting a keyword like “men’s basketball shoes,” your ad copy should focus on men’s basketball shoes.

Second, remove repetition of keywords.

You don’t need to stuff your ad copy full of your target keyword to get your ad to rank in search results. Having relevant ad copy and delivering an engaging landing page will help your ad perform better.

 

Ad for Under Armour basketball shoes

 

  1. Capitalization

One of the most common reasons for Google Ads disapprovals is capitalization. Companies try to use capitalization to catch their audience’s attention and get them to check out their ad. The only problem is, Google sees the capitalization as excessive and disapproves your ad.

How to fix it

If your Google Ads are disapproved for this reason, you’ll want to remove all instances of capitalization except for the first letter in each word of your ad copy.

 

Ad for women's slippers that shows proper captilization

 

Additionally, this is one of the Google Ads disapprovals you can appeal if you have a good case. For instance, if your coupon code requires all caps and you use it in your ad title, you can appeal to Google.

If your brand name is all caps, you can appeal for that reason too.

 

AT&T Google ad

 

  1. Punctuation and symbols

If you’re having Google Ads issues, it may be because of your punctuation or symbols. Google expects advertisers will use grammatically correct ads and refrain from excessive use of punctuation or symbols. Essentially, Google wants clean, easy-to-read copy.

How to fix it

If this option is one of your Google Ads disapprovals, the fix is simple: Use proper punctuation and eliminate symbols. Also, make sure you use punctuation like commas and apostrophes correctly.

 

Google ad for L.L. Bean

 

  1. Trademarks in ad text

One of the reasons for Google Ads disapprovals is trademarks in the ad text. This disapproval means you included another business’s name in your ad copy and didn’t have permission to do so.

With this disapproval, your ads won’t necessarily stop running, but Google limits your ad exposure.

How to fix it

If trademarks in ad text are the reason your Google ads aren’t running, there’s a simple fix: Remove it. Removing the trademark is the fastest way to fix the issue.

Another option is to make sure your ad aligns with Google’s reseller and informational site policy. If you’re an authorized reseller and have permission to use the trademark, it may be an issue of your ad text and landing page not complying with Google’s rules.

You can adjust your page to meet the requirements of the policy and appeal.

Additionally, if you don’t think you used a trademark in your ad, you can appeal.

  1. Copyrighted content

If you find your Google Ads disapproved, it may be due to copyrighted content. Copyrighted content, as the name implies, means you have copyrighted ad content, and you don’t have the authorization to use it.

How to fix it

There are two options for fixing this Google Ads disapproval.

If you have the authorization to use the copyrighted content, you can submit copyright approval documentation from the original owner that proves you have permission to use it.

Without documentation, you must tweak your ad copy to avoid copyrighted material.

  1. Image quality

The last of the visual Google Ads issues we’ll mention is image quality.

If you’re running display ads, you may find your ad receives the disapproval stamp if your image quality is below Google’s standards. Your image can be the wrong size, low quality, or have the wrong orientation.

How to fix it

The fix for this Google Ads disapproval is simple: Change the image! If your image isn’t up to Google’s standards, you can swap it out for another one. Make sure the new image fits the guidelines, so you don’t receive another disapproval.

If you want to keep your image, check Google’s image quality guidelines to see where you need to adjust.

Misconduct disapprovals

Next on this list of Google Ads disapprovals is the significant ones to know: The ones that lead to trouble. Misconduct disapprovals involve acts of dishonesty, exploitation, or deception. These disapprovals can land you in hot water, so you must fix these fast.

  1. Dishonest behavior

One of the reasons for Google Ads disapprovals on your campaigns is dishonest behavior.

If your landing page encourages people to mislead others, you’ll be in trouble with Google. Google will disapprove your ad and serve a warning that your account will get suspended in seven days.

How to fix it

Dishonest behavior is one of the Google Ads issues that requires revamping your entire ad. You need to change the entirety of your ad and contact Google support for assistance in the matter.

  1. Sensitive events

One of the reasons for Google Ads disapprovals you may see is sensitive events. With sensitive events, Google flags your ad because it appears to exploit an impactful societal event, like a natural disaster or a global conflict.

How to fix it

You need to tweak your ad copy and be more sensitive to your audience to fix this problem. You’ll want to take a neutral position with your ads so you don’t come off as insensitive to your audience.

  1. Malicious software

If your Google ads aren’t running, it may be because of malicious software. This disapproval occurs when crawlers see suspicious activity on your website.

How to fix it

This disapproval can happen because of website errors. There may be a problem with your website’s coding or the links on your site causing the problem. To fix the issue, you may need to contact Google support to pinpoint an area of focus.

  1. Inappropriate content

If your Google ads are disapproved, check to make sure your content is appropriate. Inappropriate content can mean your ad copy or landing page is explicit, violent, or inappropriate for a general audience.

How to fix it

When you create ad copy, make sure it’s appropriate for all ages. Think about whether your ad would be appropriate to show to a child or a teenager. If it’s not appropriate, then tweak it to make it G-rated.

  1. Misrepresentation

If you find your Google ads aren’t running, you need to check your ad copy and landing page to ensure they align.

Misrepresentation occurs when your ad copy and landing page create a bait-and-switch situation –– people click on your ad copy only to arrive at a landing page that has nothing to do with it.

How to fix it

Make sure your ad copy and landing page align. If you’re advertising women’s fuzzy slippers, make sure your landing page focuses on your fuzzy slippers for women. Custom landing pages can help ensure you create a focused and relevant ad experience.

Additionally, make sure your ad headline doesn’t come off as clickbait. It should accurately represent your ad and what users can expect when they click.

  1. Dangerous products or services

Last on our list of Google Ads disapprovals is dangerous products or services. You might get this disapproval notice if you tried creating an ad for something like explosives, firearms, knives, or tobacco.

Google doesn’t allow businesses to promote the sale of these items, only safety items surrounding them. So, for example, you can advertise locked cases for guns or knife sheaths.

How to fix it

The only real way to fix your ad is to focus on safety items. Don’t make mention of other products or try to bait-and-switch with your ads. If you don’t want to focus on the safety items, you’ll want to consider suspending your ad campaigns.

If you don’t make these necessary changes, Google will suspend your ad account.

How to appeal your disapproval

Some Google Ads disapprovals enable you to appeal Google’s decision. Since your ads go through an automated process, errors can happen, or human context may be missing from your ads. You can file an appeal to get your ads approved and running.

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Verify your ad doesn’t violate the rules: You’ll want to comb through your ad and analyze every aspect to ensure you haven’t earned the disapproval. Look at your ad copy, extensions, and landing page to ensure you haven’t committed the violation.
  2. Send your appeal: When you see the disapproval label in your account, you can click on it and see the option to appeal. You’ll click appeal and file your dispute.
  3. Contact Google: Contact Google to speak with a real person to help your ad earn approval. You can explain why your ad doesn’t deserve the disapproval and help clear up any confusion.

Get help with your Google Ads disapprovals

Don’t let Google Ads disapprovals deter your campaigns. By partnering with PPC experts, like the ones at WebFX, you can ensure you avoid Google Ads disapprovals and keep your ad campaigns up and running.

Our team of Google Ads certified experts know how to craft ads that drive results. In the past five years, we’ve driven over $2.4 billion in revenue and 6.3 million leads for our clients. You can feel confident we’ll help you drive results with your ads.

Ready to drive revenue with Google Ads? Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our PPC services!

Bonus Reading: 11 PPC FAQs That Every New Advertiser Should Ask