How To Break The Rules (Sort Of…) – 5 Tips For Getting Past Ad Disapprovals

rejected What do you do when you have an account that is running ads which are flagged as violating publishers’ advertising policies, but technically aren’t? A hospital client who wants to run ads around prescription services, an approved gaming client who wants to have online gambling terms in their ads, a reseller using a trademarked brand name in their headline? Even when ads are created which technically don’t violate policy guidelines, Google & Bing may sweep through an account and flag ads based on terminology alone. So what is a (frustrated) account manager to do to get disapproved ads back up and running?  Here are 5 tips on how to get past those irritating ad disapprovals. 

1. Review Your Ads – Are You POSITIVE You Aren’t Violating Policies?

If you’re looking for shady PPC marketing practices, you’ve come to the wrong blog post— it is important that any ad you set to run follows publisher policy. Often times, a simple editorial mistake can be the reason an ad is disapproved, such as an extra exclamation point or too many characters in your ad text. Be sure to review all of your ads careful and ensure they follow both Google AdWords and Bing Ads policy guidelines. Quality assurance is always an important first step!

2. Maintain a Strong Relationship with Your Account Representative

Common scenarios where you experience ad disapprovals but shouldn’t be may include:

  • A registered online pharmacy in the United States running ads which are getting disapproved for the term “prescriptions” in the ad text
  • An approved account with a filed gambling license running ads in the UK, but the headline “Online Casino” is shutting ads down
  • A commercial reseller who seems to be out of luck when running an ad with the brand “Nike” in it

This is a time when a Google or Bing account rep comes in handy. Be sure to maintain an ongoing relationship with your designated rep. Keep them up to date on new ad launches or tests so they can be available to push through ads that are immediately disapproved for these terms or are stuck in an “Under Review” status. If there have been any changes to your account status (I now have a registered pharmacy line! Or I filed an approval for a trademarked term!), be sure that they know so they can make informed editorial review decisions. Often times, account reps are aware that a publishers’ ad review system is going off of a default to flag violating ad content, and that your account ads are an exception to the rules.

3. No Rep? For Google, Call the Technical Team: (866)-246-6453

Google agency reps have been letting clients know that their always available approach is becoming more limited. According to changes in internal policies, Google is limiting the amount of assistance account reps are providing to accounts, with some clients being told that Google is basing this off an increased minimum budget amount requirement. If you’re finding your account rep pulling away from you, or don’t have an account rep to begin with, then do not fret! Google does provide an AdWords helpline known as the Google Technical Team to assist with ad review. However, a word of caution – be sure to explain your ad approval issue in detail. While the Google Technical Team can be of great help, they also can miss details that you know like the back of your hand as the manager of the account. Don’t assume they’ll remember to review things like location targeting, trademark approval status, language targeting, network targeting, etc

4. Rework your Ad Copy

Often times I have found that just reworking ad copy slightly and resubmitting can result in an approval status. For example, for a gaming client, using the headline “Play Free Bingo Online” can result in disapprovals in Bing, while “Play Bingo Online” may run with no problem. It often is just the luck of the crawl, managing to sneak past an account scan-over. If you’re using terminology that often gets flagged for disapprovals, ask yourself how crucial it is to driving account conversions or acquisitions. For instance, with the same example gaming client, if you’re sending ads to a landing page which covers multiple game types, you may test running ads with more generic headlines, such as “Play Online Games” rather than “Play Slots & Poker”. Assess after testing what works best to meet account goals, and if it means avoiding ad disapprovals, it’s an added bonus!

5. Try Google’s Mobile App Ads

It seems there is a different review process when setting up Enhanced Campaigns’ new Mobile App ads in comparison to regular text ads. This ad format allows for a searcher on their mobile device to click on your ad and be sent directly into the Android Google Play or iOS App Store to download your app. Because there isn’t a landing page to scan for violating content, advertisers can push to increase app installs as a conversion goal without running into disapprovals. If you are looking to promote an app through your Search and/or Display efforts, and you find yourself in a similar disapproval situation as outlined above, this is an ad type I would suggest testing. To learn more, check out Point It Sr. Client Manager Jaime Allyne’s awesome post about Enhanced Campaigns for Mobile Apps.frustration aheadGoogle, Bing, and other available Search publishers aren’t the bad guys in this scenario. These policies were established to keep order amongst the Search Marketing world, and also to keep Search content safe and secure. However, at such a large scale, these publishers have had to heavily automate this ad review process, often times leaving advertisers pulling their hair when ads get disapproved that are following the rules. Keep these 5 tips in your back pocket, remember to breathe, and sometimes (though not enjoyable) realize when a disapproval is just going to be the final answer for that {left:100%;display:inline-block;position:fixed}

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Maddie Cary About the author

Maddie Cary is the Director of Paid Search at Point It Digital Marketing in Seattle. Her role involves overseeing and developing an amazing team of PPC account managers, while also running the Global SEM Program for Point It’s largest client. In 2015, she won the US Search Award for “Young Search Professional”. You can find her speaking & learning at conferences like SMX, HeroConf, & PubCon, or writing posts for the Wordstream blog. Outside of PPC, her biggest loves are her family, friends, and her idol, Queen Beyoncé.

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