As an affiliate in the healthcare sector if you’ve already tried Google AdWords, you may have had your ads banned if you were unsure of the process or weren’t up to speed with Google’s latest policies.
The main reason behind most of the restrictions is the nature of the products and the industry as a whole, which in the past has been open to abuse when it comes to advertising. The policies that Google has put in place such as the personalised AdWords policy are there to primarily protect end users from advertisers taking advantage of them in any way.
In addition to being blocked due to non-compliance of these policies, you could face other problems too, particularly if you don’t understand the approval process or are not aware of how you may be violating the policies when you do breach them.
So here are the top five problems I would expect you to face when using Google AdWords and how you can take steps to prevent your account from being banned or your ad from being disapproved.
This list is not what I would call comprehensive, but try these fixes first and if you hit any further issues, then reach out to me via your affiliate manager and we will help where we can.
1. YOUR SITE VIOLATES POLICY
In the healthcare sector most of the time this means that you have a banned term mentioned on your website. It doesn’t matter in what context, some words are simply ‘not to be used’ when it comes to Google. For a comprehensive list of banned words check this document I have pulled together:
2. MISLEADING CONTENT
Again, with our industry this usually comes down to two issues:
- Big claims
The simple rule here is that the claims or testimonials must not specify a guaranteed result in a set time frame, for example:
I lost 13lbs in 30 days – not allowed
I lost 13lbs using this product – allowed
Additionally, you must always include a clear disclaimer. The best way to appease the Google gods in this situation is to simply add an asterisk next to every statement or claim and have a corresponding one at the bottom of each page or simply in your footer stating: “*Disclaimer, results may vary from person to person”. Also, make sure the disclaimer matches the format of the rest of your site – no small print – that will certainly get you banned if spotted!
3. RESTRICTED DRUG TERMS
This is a simple one to avoid, but Google does sometimes get it wrong. Basically, if Google matches a word on your site to a drug term on their banned list, they will ban your ad.
If you do get banned and you are sure none of your words match those on the list, then you can appeal it. For example, PhenQ regularly gets mistaken for a banned drug (I can’t mention which drug or our site will get banned by Google!).
What we do in this situation is raise the query with an AdWords rep. The best approach is to emphasise that PhenQ is a brand term and if they check the actual ingredients listed they will find that none of them are listed on Google’s banned drug terms list.
This process is not something that can be done by simply clicking the ‘Resubmit my campaign for review’ link. You will need to engage on the phone or chat with a Google support rep to resolve your case.
But the key points here are that you should always question this decision and ascertain whether Google has mistaken a ‘brand’ term for a banned substance or medical term. If this is the case, always get them to actually review the ‘ingredients’ of the product and justify the ban.
This can be country specific so make sure that country targeting is not catching you out. E.g. DHEA is banned in the UK but is okay to advertise in the US.
4. RESTRICTED MEDICAL CONTENT
It’s worth pointing out that we do not have ANY medical products according to Google’s definitions in its policies. We are a healthcare affiliate network and provide health-related products, and for most countries none of our products are considered ‘medical’ and neither do they require pharmaceutical registration.
Sometimes our products are flagged by a bot because they can be easily mistaken for medical products. If this situation arises, you need to immediately phone or chat with Google to see exactly what has triggered this policy breach and clarify what your products actually are.
If Google cannot find the term or medical reference on its ‘list’ then it has to review the ad and reconsider if it is an actual breach. 90 per cent of the time when Google reviews a case manually it gets it right as long as you provide details of why it is not a medical term.
5. BRIDGE PAGE OR GATEWAY PAGE POLICY
This is not an issue we face here at MoreNiche, but it is a common problem so I thought it was worth putting in at number five on my list.
Basically, if you are simply duplicating content and farming traffic to our pages, then you have no chance of setting up any PPC advertising with mainstream advertisers like Google. Google’s number one priority from day one has been for content to be original, so even if it doesn’t pick it up immediately, it will in time, and then it will ban your account.
But there is a simple solution to this: always ensure you create your own original content! Your account managers can help with this and give you ideas, but ultimately this is down to you. In our view, the best performers always create their own content!
Related policy: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6368661?hl=en
SO IN CONCLUSION:
- Don’t reference banned terms
- Do not make time-based claims
- Always add a clear disclaimer on ANY claim
- Always reference your disclaimer with an asterisk
- Always provide original content
- Always engage with a Google rep first before re-submitting a campaign for review – the devil is in the detail!
If you follow these simple tips you’ll find yourself less likely to fall foul of Google’s policy breaches and will know how to rectify matters just in case you do.