Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been slaving away, trying to create an AdWords advert that displays your product or service in an enticing, alluring way. You’ve done a lot of research into the keywords you’ve chosen to use, painstakingly picked the right images and spent hours honing the ad text until it’s just right. And then, just as you press submit, you’re hit with it. The disapproval notice. Sorry, Google says now. They have denied your ad, and callously told you to try again. But why? What is it that makes Google disapprove some ads, but approve others? And more importantly, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

While this list is by no means exhaustive, we’ve pulled together 5 reasons your ads are being disapproved, and what you can do about it.


Your Ad Mentions Copyrighted Content

Copyright is something Google takes very, very seriously, and it doesn’t tolerate violations. As general practice, you should never use anyone else’s copyrighted material. But sometimes you might not know that something is copyrighted, for example, a word or a phrase that you weren’t aware was copyrighted. It can happen. If another company has copyright over certain words or phrases you’ve used in your ad, then it could end up being disapproved.

What to do: Check your ad for copyrighted material before you publish it. If you’re not sure, look for other ways to say things, and use synonyms where you can to avoid problems.


Your Ad Theme Is Inappropriate

Despite being a search engine and therefore supposedly impartial, Google does try to be family friendly when it comes to the ads it displays. So if your ad mentions any themes deemed inappropriate by Google, it will shut them down right away. This includes things like adult-oriented content, gambling, counterfeit goods, dangerous products (like fireworks) or other offensive content.

What to do: Steer clear of inappropriate themes for your ads. We know they say sex sells, but not here!


You Included Your Business Phone Number

Using phone numbers in is a tricky thing in Google Ads. You aren’t allowed to put your business phone number, or anything that looks like one, in the actual text of the ad, as this will be  instant disapproval. However, there are some ways around that one.

What to do: Instead of using your phone number in the ad text, go and enable the phone number extension instead. Extensions allow you to add things like phone numbers outside the ad text. This saves you characters for your ad, gets your phone number included and makes sure your ad doesn’t get disapproved. It kills 3 birds with one stone!


Your Ad Claims You’re ‘Number 1’

There is nothing wrong with thinking you’re the best in the business. Odds are you’re great at what you do, and you want to shout about it to the world. But Google is all about facts, so that’s what you need to stick to here. If you’re a claims your company is ‘number 1’ or ‘the best in the business’, then it could lead to your ad being taken offline.

What to do: Try using different language to say the same thing. You could use your company tagline, or switch to phrasing like ‘our customers love us!’.


Your Ad Is Too Long

There are very strict rules around how long your ads can be, and going over the word and character count is a quick and easy way to get disapproved. Remember, the headline can be 25 characters long, and each description line and display URL can be 35 characters. The only exception to this rule is if your target country’s national language uses very long words – like Kazakhstan or Germany, in which case the character count is extended.

What to do: Keep your ads short, simple and to the point. Don’t use overly flowery language, and make sure you double check your word and character counts before you hit publish.


That’s an awful lot to remember, and that’s only 5 of the reasons your ad might be disapproved! Don’t worry if you think it’s a bit of a minefield – it is – but luckily, it’s not one you have to try and navigate alone. At Ad-Extra, we work with Google Ads every day, so we know exactly what will get you disapproved, and what will give your ad the green light. If you would like some help and support getting your Google Ads approved and performing, all you need to do is get in touch with us today.