September 14, 2023 by Natalie

Quick Links to Getting Google Ad Policy Violations Resolved

New Why has managed Google Ads for a wide variety of businesses and nonprofits, and we’ve faced our share of policy violations. We’ve never consciously or intentionally violated a policy; rather, the policies are often unclear or inaccurately enforced.

99% of the time it’s because Google is enforcing their policy incorrectly, and I usually end up chatting with support to resolve the issue.

Here are some links on how to get Google to approve your content, especially if it doesn’t actually violate a policy.

Woman who is so frustrated with Google Ads Policy violations punches her computer.

Dramatic reenactment of how I feel when I’m incorrectly flagged for a violation on Google Ads.


Incorrect Trademark Violation Disapprovals in Google Ads

I recently created an ad to sell tickets to a dance performance that included performers from India, so the word “Indian” was used as a descriptor for the music and dance style. Google flagged the word “Indian” as a trademarked term. Yes, there is a motorcycle brand called Indian, but the word itself is used to describe nearly 18% of the world’s population, and as far as I know the motorcycle brand’s usage of that word pales in comparison.

Another time, I created an ad for an organization that has the word Center in their name, promoting their guitar classes. Even though the words “Guitar Center” never appeared together, Google flagged it saying I was violating Guitar Center’s trademark.

Google has flagged me for using the word LEGO before, and that I get. LEGO is a trademarked brand, and even though several of my clients have hosted LEGO camps, they don’t have an official certificate from Google that they can advertise LEGO.

If you are not using an actual trademark, you can request that Google manually approves your ads by filling out the form here:

Get Approved for Ticket Sales on Google Ads

Many of our clients are arts and culture organizations that sell tickets to events. We advertise concerts, lectures, dances, plays, and other types of cultural and artistic events.

Recently Google has gotten weird about ticket sales, and they now require a certificate to show that you’re authorized to sell tickets. Designed to discourage scalpers from reselling tickets or selling fake tickets and scamming people, this policy inadvertently causes quite a few headaches for nonprofits that host events.

If you sell event tickets for your concerts, talks, etc. that you yourself are hosting, you can request approval from Google here:

Inappropriate Content that Isn’t – Appealing Google Ads Decision

I advertise for a Jewish women’s organization and for years was able to run successful ads promoting their community events and fundraising activities. One time, however, Google disapproved my ads, saying that the word “Jewish” was dangerous or derogatory.

The only way I got this fixed was by chatting with a Google Ads rep, who ended up being incredibly apologetic for their error. As far as I know there is no appeal form for content that Google considers derogatory. Instead, try making an edit to the ad, then click on the “Appeal” link when you hover over the Disapproved / Not Eligible alert next to the ad in the Google Ads interface.

Appeal ad disapprovalAnother option is to fill out this form here, which is for general help and support with your Google Ads, then cross your fingers and hope it re-emerges from the black hole that is online digital ads support:


Other Policy Violations

What other policy violations have you encountered? Reach out and let us know, and we’re happy to help and update this blog post!

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