If you’re already using Google Ads for a medical practice, then perhaps you’ve seen your ads disapproved before. Or worse, your Google Ads account has been banned entirely. This all too common scenario is typically due to a lack of awareness surrounding Google’s latest advertising policies, which can sometimes be confusing to fully grasp.
The nature of products and services in the medical industry has made such advertising restrictions increasingly tight. In simple terms, it’s all too easy to be misinformed or mislead with false expectations. In turn, the policies that Google has in place are designed to protect users and maintain optimal quality of its search engine. False or inflated claims, misleading content, and overly-definitive verbiage are just a few common reasons why medical practices encounter disapproved ads and account bans.
At Captivate, we’re certainly no stranger to Google Ads compliance issues. Having worked with medical professionals, clinical practices, and medi spas, we’ve witnessed the evolving standards of Google’s ad policies and the types of content advertisers need to avoid. This content can be more than just ad copy, too, as it can also pertain to a medical practice’s website content.
Beyond encountering noncompliance issues, your problems with Google Ads policies can be magnified if you’re unfamiliar with the appeal process or if you’re simply unaware of why your content is in violation in the first place. So below I outlined some of the most common issues that medical practices face in staying compliant with Google Ads, and how can prevent ad disapprovals, or your account from being banned.
Avoid Misleading Claims and Guarantees
Of the most common reasons for both Google ad disapproval and account bans are lofty claims and testimonials that imply a guaranteed result. Here’s a general example:
Disapproved statement: Patient lost 25lbs in 90 days
Approved statement: Patient lost 25lbs using this product
The simple rule here is that big claims or testimonials (either website copy or ad copy) must not specify a guaranteed outcome in a set time frame. Further, such claims need to always include a disclaimer on your website.
An easy way to achieve this is to add an asterisk next to each claim, indicating (at the bottom of the page) a disclaimer that results may vary from person to person. It’s also very important to ensure all disclaimers are not shrunk and fully match the format of the rest of a page’s content. Small print is also against Google’s advertising policies and can result in your site being banned.
A measure we like to take here at Captivate when working with WordPress sites is to integrate an Image CSS Class field for image properties. This requires some manual coding with a proficient developer to make happen, but once it’s integrated, it makes it easy to simply add the word “disclaimer” to the Image CSS Class field, found under the advanced options as shown in the figure above. This is especially important and convenient if you’re using a lot of banner graphics and images that indicate patient outcomes or results, such as before and after photos.
Minimize Violation-Prone Phrasing
Another highly-common scenario that results in non-compliance issues is using certain phrasing that are against Google’s violation policies. This is similar to the point above, as this pertains to making guarantees or using definitive words that indicate results are absolute.
This can span from certain drug and pharmaceuticals terms to simple words like “will make” (instead of “can make”) or “eliminates” (instead of “helps to reduce”). This is all of course a matter of context, but there are also certain topics that Google just won’t allow – which can automatically disclude certain companies and organizations from using Google Ads. You can learn more about these healthcare and medical related topics here.
Do Not Use Any Restricted Drug Terms or Medical Content
This is one should be a simple concept to avoid, yet many unaware advertisers can still find their ads banned from using drug terms or medical content that Google does not allow. Essentially, if Google matches certain terms on your site with that on their banned list, they can disapprove your ad.
These terms may be related to weight loss, anabolic steroids, ephedra, and specific pharmaceuticals and supplements that are not allowed in ads or website copy of advertisers. If you get an ad disapproved message, and yet you’re sure none of your copy contains the words on the list, then you should be able to successfully appeal it. In some rare cases, this doesn’t always work right away.
In the instance you do not get an appeal after your first attempt, we recommended mentioning the word or query to a Google Ads representative. Unfortunately, this process is not as simple as re-submitting your campaign for review. You will need to actively contact or chat with a Google Ads representative to resolve your case.
By specifically raising the content of question, the rep can reference the banned list with that of what’s questionable. Once they determine that your content is not that of what’s listed on Google’s banned drug and medical, the ban should be lifted.
The important takeaway here is that you should always remain humbly skeptical about any bans or disapprovals that you receive. Ascertain whether a mistake has been made around a branded query for a banned substance or medical term. The Google Ads platform is highly sensitive banned words. But if you take action to get disapprovals appeal, you can almost always get them reversed by using these steps.
Provide a Quality, Uninterrupted Destination Experience
If you’re syndicating content, duplicating copy, using opt-in pop-ups or interstitials on your site, then you’re crippling your Google Ads efforts. All of these UX no-no’s are common violations of any paid search platform, especially Google.
Since day one, Google’s top priority has been serving the most relevant, highest quality content and experience for its users. Even it doesn’t pick up on these issues immediately, it’s only a matter of time before they do and ban your account as a result. You can learn more about these destination experience variables here.
The solution to this is purely the due diligence to always produce original, evergreen content on your website. This is not only vital for medical practices to stay compliant with Google Ads, but it’s also critical to remain competitive with SEO and generating organic search traffic.