13 Common Reasons Your Google Ads Are Disapproved & How to Fix Each Error

by Stephanie Mialki in Advertising, Google Ads This image shows how to resolve Google Ads disapproved issue.

Have you ever launched a Google Ads PPC campaign only to find out shortly after it was rejected?

Having your Google ads disapproved is frustrating and unfortunately, not uncommon. With an entire library of ad policies, it can be difficult to keep up with what you can and can’t do in Google Ads. So much that even the best advertisers find themselves dealing with ad disapprovals:

Google Ads disapproved status indicator

Even if your ad gets disapproved, it doesn’t mean your ad can never run. The vast majority of disapprovals are easy fixes and come down to a small list of common mistakes. Today’s article discusses 13 common reasons and steps to fix a rejected ad.

13 Reasons Your Google Ads are disapproved

1. Spelling or grammar errors

Since search ads are a reflection of Google’s professionalism and standards to provide quality user experience, the platform enforces strict spelling and grammar policies on its advertisers. So, if an ad contains any typos or misspellings, it will get rejected.

Google is more lenient with grammar and allows sentence fragments in ad copy to make the most of the 35 allotted description characters.

Check out how Monday uses the fragment “That’s actually easy to use” as their second headline (a continuation of the first headline) to take advantage of the limited characters:

Google Ads disapproved how to fix Grammar errors

You probably won’t be penalized for small grammar mistakes either, such as using a comma where a semi-colon belongs. Yet, grammatical errors remain a common disapproval reason, so double-check your ad headline, description, and extensions to ensure they all meet Google’s standards before pushing the ad through for approval.

How to fix it

Aside from correcting basic spelling or grammatical errors, there are other approaches you may have to take to get your ad approved.

For example, your ad may be rejected for an intentional misspelling consistent with your marketing efforts (like DiGornio’s “Wyngz”). In this case, you can contact the Google Ads support team and request a human review to get a special exemption.

2. Capitalization issues

One of the most common reasons for having Google ads disapproved is capitalization used incorrectly or not for its intended purpose. It may feel natural or tempting to highlight certain elements of your ad with all-caps because that’s how many people type daily (think social media posts, SMS, instant messaging, etc.). But this is a violation of Google’s ad policy that will likely get your ad rejected.

Other capitalization issues include:

  • Not capitalizing the first letter of proper nouns (e.g.: “Annual conference in dallas, texas”)
  • Capitalizing non-proper nouns (e.g.: “Annual conference In Dallas, Texas”)
  • “Random” capitalization (e.g.: “aNnuAL ConFeREnce iN DaLLas, TeXaS”)

Google Ads disapproved capitalization issues

How to fix it

The obvious solution is only to capitalize where it’s necessary — the beginning of sentences or to start proper nouns.

Note: Non-standard capitalization is allowed in some circumstances including coupon codes, common abbreviations (such as “ASAP”), trademarks, brand names, and product names:

Google Ads disapproved how to fix capitalization example

To use any of these, request a review for approval.

3. Punctuation and symbols

Incorrect punctuation and symbol usage will get your Google Ads disapproved. Examples include:

  • Exclamation points in the ad headline
  • More than one exclamation point in the description copy
  • Other repeated punctuation or symbols
  • Non-standard symbols or characters, such as asterisks; bullet points and ellipses
  • Non-standard use of superscripts
  • Symbols, numbers, and letters that don’t adhere to their true meaning or purpose (e.g.: “@ home” to mean “at home”)
  • Excessive or gimmicky use of numbers, symbols, or punctuation (e.g.: f1owers, fl@wers, Flowers!!!, f*l*o*w*e*r*s, F.L.O.W.E.R.S)
  • Invalid or unsupported characters, such as emojis

How to fix it

To avoid being flagged for misuse of punctuation or symbols, leave them out whenever possible. For example, instead of using an exclamation point in your headline, use strong verbs and dictions like ShareFile does:

Google Ads disapproved how to fix punctuation error example

If your trademark, brand name, or product name includes non-standard punctuation or symbols, it might be approved as long as the same punctuation/symbols are consistently used in the ad’s destination.

Symbols used in commonly acceptable ways are also often allowed, such as using an asterisk as a star (e.g.: for star ratings).

4. Gimmicky copy

It’s common among digital device users to resort to shortcuts when typing (e.g., substituting “u” for “you”, or using an emoji to express emotion):

Google Ads disapproved gimmicky copy example

Google considers this to be gimmicky, and it will cause your ad to be rejected.

How to fix it

It’s best to leave these shortcuts out of your ad copy altogether, as they’re better suited for SMS and social media messaging.

5. “Click Here”

Google rejects any ad or ad extension that is inconsistent with the clear and informational style of the Google Search results. So, ads containing a generic call-to-action that could apply to any ad, such as “click here,” is considered “trick-to-click” text and will be immediately flagged:

How to fix it

Ads cannot contain a generic CTA like “click here.” Try using a more specific CTA, like “Shop Now,” “Sign Up Today,” or “Subscribe:”

Google Ads disapproved how to fix click here example

6. Destination mismatch

Ads that inaccurately reflect where the user is being directed post-click will be declined by Google. Examples include:

  • Using the display URL “www.example.com” but leading to a post-click landing page with the URL “www.example2.com”
  • Using the keyword insertion feature in the top-level or second-level domain of your display URL, such as “www.{keyword}.com”
  • Failing to use a subdomain to clearly identify a site from all other sites hosted on the same domain or from the parent domain (e.g.: display URL “example.com” and final URL “mycompany.example.com”)
  • Redirects from the final URL that take the user to a different domain (e.g.: final URL http://example.com redirects to http://example2.com)
  • Tracking templates that don’t lead to the same content as the final URL (e.g.: final URL leads to a product category page, but the tracking template directs the user to a specific product page)

How to fix it

Review your URLs. Your disapproval email shows you the domain your ad pointed to at the time of review. You can also use Google Search Console to check your destination URL to ensure the resulting domain matches your display URL domain.

Then, edit all of your page URLs, so they comply with Google’s ad policy.

7. Non-standard spacing

Omitting spaces and adding extra spaces may trigger an ad rejection. Referring back to the first disapproval reason, Google requires proper grammar, which includes spacing.

The following types of non-standard spacing will be rejected:

  • Omission (“nonstandardspacingexample”)
  • Excessive (“non . standard . spacing . example”)
  • Gimmicky (“nonstandard s p a c i n g example”)
  • Bullet points and numbered lists (all text should be read as a single line)

Google Ads disapproved non-standard spacing example

How to fix it

Some trademarked terms, brand names, or product names use non-standard spacing. If this applies to you, request a review and show evidence that the non-standard spaced terms appear consistently throughout your website or app — not just in your ad copy.

8. Copyright or trademark infringement

This occurs when someone infringes on someone else’s legal right to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution and is one of the most common reasons your Google Ads are disapproved. Only the copyright owner or an authorized representative can file an official infringement notice. Still, when they do, it’s Google’s policy to respond to the allegations and reject or remove the ad as necessary.

Google Ads disapproved trademark violation

You should also avoid potentially trademarked names or products of competitors (although you can bid on them as keywords). Even though Google’s algorithm can only recognize bigger brands’ names and products, ads can still be reported by viewers and competitors for trademark infringements that initially passed undetected.

How to fix it

You can resubmit your ads for approval by filing a counter-notification. Still, you could be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you’re wrong about not infringing on the copyrights of others.

Also, if you resubmit your ads without filing a valid counter-notification, your Google Ads account may be terminated due to violation of the platform’s repeat infringement policy.

9. Alternate CTAs that discourage a click

With a primarily CPC-based model, Google earns money when users click ads. That’s why they prioritize the click as the sole ad CTA and rejects any alternate CTAs that may discourage the click.

For example, ad copy cannot include:

  • A phone number
  • An email or website address

Google Ads disapproved alternate CTA example

How to fix it

Leave your business phone number, email address, and websites out of your ad copy, and set up ad extensions instead. To encourage more calls, use call-only ads or call extensions — and to direct users to other areas of your website, use site link extensions.

HomeAdviser users both types of ad extensions:

Google Ads disapproved how to fix CTA example

10. Repetition

Google encourages advertisers to make the most of their character limit, so they’ll reject your ad if it contains duplicate content. This includes unnecessary repetition of names, words, phrases, and even punctuation (e.g.: “Want more customers????”) across the headline, description, and extensions.

How to fix it

Avoid sharing the same wording across your ad headline, description, and any extensions.

11. Unsuitable content

If your ad contains content or mentions topics deemed inappropriate by Google, it will be disapproved. Prohibited content in Google Ads includes:

  • Counterfeit goods — Knock off or imitation products that attempt to pass as the genuine product
  • Dangerous products or services — Explosives, instructions for making explosives, guns, gun parts (unless it’s for safety), other weapons, recreational drugs, drug paraphernalia, tobacco, products that promote tobacco consumption, etc.
  • Products that enable dishonest behavior — Products or services that help users mislead others or enable others to gain unauthorized access to systems, devices, or property
  • Inappropriate content — Dangerous, derogatory or shocking content, sensitive events, animal cruelty, etc.

How to fix it

Although the content above will have to be completely avoided, Google does allow the following content on a limited basis:

  • Adult content
  • Alcohol
  • Gambling and games
  • Healthcare and medicines
  • Political content
  • Financial services

These content types may not be restricted from every user in every location, but advertisers must meet additional requirements before their ads are eligible to run (more details in the Policy Center).

12. Issues with your post-click landing page

Google will deny your ad if your post-click landing page isn’t functioning properly or hasn’t been set up correctly. Reasons include:

  • Returns an HTTP error code
  • Doesn’t load in all locations or on common browsers and devices
  • Shows DNS lookup errors, internal server errors, or site under construction errors
  • Isn’t live yet
  • Isn’t crawlable

Google Ads disapproved how to fix landing page

Your ad will also be rejected if your post-click landing page is overly difficult or frustrating to navigate:

  • Includes pop-ups or interstitials that interfere with the user’s ability to see the content
  • Disables or interferes with the browser’s back button
  • Doesn’t load quickly on most popular browsers and devices
  • Requires the download of an additional application (aside from common browser plug-ins)

If there is insufficient original content on your post-click page, your ad could be disapproved as well:

  • Destination content designed for the primary purpose of showing ads
  • Destination content replicated from another source without adding value through original content or additional functionality
  • Destinations solely designed to send users elsewhere
  • Using a parked domain as an ad destination
  • Incomprehensible or nonsensical destinations

Lastly, if your post-click page contains content that Google prohibits, the ad that leads to it will be rejected.

How to fix it

There are two options for resolving this type of violation:

1. Fix the ad’s destination — Check all URLs to make sure they’re correct, and then focus on providing the user with useful, unique, and original content free of irritating pop-ups, ads, slow-loading visuals, etc.

2. Choose a different destination — If you can’t or don’t want to make changes to the destination, edit the ad’s final URL to direct users to a different post-click page that does comply with the policy.

13. Misrepresentation of the expected content

Google wants users to trust the ads that appear on the search engine, so they require them to be clear, honest, and provide helpful and valuable information. They don’t allow ads or destinations that deceive users by excluding relevant product information or providing misleading information about products, services, or businesses.

Some things to avoid:

  • Missing information
  • Unavailable offers
  • Misleading content
  • Unclear relevance
  • Unidentified business

How to fix it

Check the ad and its destination to see where either one might be missing important information or includes misleading or irrelevant content — and then add any required information or remove any content that doesn’t comply with the policy.

Take the necessary steps to get your ads approved

With such an extensive list of ad policies, it can be overwhelming to create an ad in line with Google’s standards, resulting in the occasional ad disapproval. Refer back to this article to ensure your ads comply with Google’s standards, and know exactly how to resolve any issues quickly and easily when your Google Ads are disapproved.

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Stephanie Mialki

by Stephanie Mialki

Stephanie Mialki is a digital marketing professional with expertise in ecommerce trends, landing pages, journalism, and mass communication.

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