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Forbidden adverts in Google Ads

What mustn’t you advertise in Google Ads?

Do you want your advertisement to be visible in Google Display Network? You have to remember that some products and services must not be advertised in Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords). Some businesses are limited by Google. Adwords divides products and services into totally legal, limited and forbidden. Some restrictions arise from local law. Google places much emphasis on local legislature, for example in Poland you cannot advertise some products which are legal in Germany, and vice versa. In our country it is forbidden to advertise equipment detecting police radars, so you cannot launch such a campaign. The guidelines encompassing legal requirements of Google Ads campaign are accessible here. Therefore, we should start advertising activities in the Google system by familiarizing ourselves with the Adwords rules. Forbidden advertisements in Google Ads and reading guidelines will let you save time on potential rejections.

Forbidden content – what kind of content you will not see in Google Display Network?

In Google Ads it is strictly forbidden to promote product fakes. Fakes are considered as all items with a trademark or logo, which fully or partially corresponds to the trademark of another product. This is how Google makes sure Internet users who use adverts are not misinformed by dishonest sellers.

Google Adwords prohibits advertising any dangerous products and services, so you can forget about promoting weapons, psychoactive drugs and fireworks. Interestingly, in Google advertising system it is also disallowed to advertise shisha lounges and e-cigarettes. All services and products that facilitate smoking are prohibited by Google Ads. You can forget about promotion if you sell self-defense items, such as pepper spray and stun gun.

In its advertising system, Google opposes companies which allow dishonest business. Any services related to intentional misinformation of other people through e.g. forgery are completely excluded from Adwords. If you write diploma papers for students, you can also expect sanctions from Google in the form of blocking the campaign, although the reality shows that some advertisements promoting such services are displayed.

Google takes care of all Internet users, so it is forbidden to promote any content inciting hatred or discriminating against a social group.

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Prohibited practices – what does Google not allow and what does it pay attention to?

In Google Display Network you will never find adverts pointing to the website on which malware has been detected. Google Ads will not let you mask a proper target website address.

Landing pages which encourage the user to act in a specific way, collect its personal data but misinform and fail to present information about the offer should expect exclusion.

With Internet users’ comfort in mind, Google may block advertisements of websites which contain a lot of popups, GIFs and music tracks affecting the site functionality.

By clicking the Display Network banner, you can be sure you will not be redirected into the file download page. Adwords does not accept advertisements of any websites which redirect you to other pages instantly and the ones which contain more advertising space than content valuable to users.

Restricted contents – what adverts are inappropriate to Google?

Google has been limiting promotion of erotic content in Google Ads for some time now, but certain erotic products and services can be found in Search Network and Google Shopping. The advertisements of dating sites and erotic items show up in Adwords but but we must bear in mind that there are no pictures of sexual activity on the site. Photos of naked models can also cause Google to block your ad inGoogle Ads.

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The aforesaid limitations related to local law are very conspicuous in the case of restricting the promotion of alcohol in Google Ads. In Poland you cannot find any alcohol ads in the search network, Display Network and Google Shopping.

You cannot advertise in Google if you are not authorized to use a specific product protected by copyrights.

Some countries’ law also prohibits advertising gambling businesses. In our country, you will never see advertisements of casinos and online gambling games, e.g. online poker. Google also blocks advertisements of games which promise easy and fast gains.

Also drugs and health care are subject to substantial restrictions. In Poland it is possible to advertise drugs if you hold a suitable certificate issued by Google, but you cannot launch an online pharmacy campaign in Google Ads. Google does it best to ban any unapproved substances in Adwords. Also services related to cosmetic surgery have difficulties. If you find such words as “botox” or “hyaluronic acid” on the website, the advertisement (especially in Display Network) can be blocked by Google.


Google advertising system is a powerful and highly effective promotion channel but if you plan advertising in Google Ads, you have to remember that not all products and services can be advertised in Google Ads. If your business is subject to limitations in Google advertising system, there are ways you can avoid ad blocking. This being the case, think of website positioning in organic search results. Verseo will design a digital marketing strategy for your business!

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Author of the article

It’s been 8 years since Maciej took his first steps in the world of marketing - especially the one related to content. So far, he has worked for politicians and the b2b and b2c industries. A fan of content marketing in the digital strategy and its influence on customer navigation and brand reputation. He is also interested in the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility and sees this topic as a springboard for the communication development of many businesses. Responsible for marketing in Verseo. In his free time Maciej reads reports from the world and scientific + sci-fi literature. :)