Understanding the PPC Advertising Editorial Guidelines

Posted by Mark Thompson - September 17, 2010 - SEM - 3 Comments

If you are just starting out with doing some paid search campaigns, it can be very frustrating when you keep seeing your ads get disapproved.  That is why it is important to learn each of the advertising editorial guidelines, so you reduce the chance of getting your ads rejected.  I thought I would try and summarize the key points that each of the main PPC ad networks explain in their guidelines.

Why You Should Care About the Editorial Guidelines

It is important before you start creating PPC campaigns, to understand the guidelines.  Each ad network has a set of rules and guidelines that you must adhere to or you will just be spinning your wheels.  If your ad doesn’t meet their editorial guidelines your ad will be declined.  I thought it would be important to highlight some of the more relevant rules that each ad platform has, so you don’t scratch your head wondering why your ads are not showing up.

Google Adwords


Definitely the most comprehensive guidelines, are the Google Adwords editorial guidelines.  The first thing is your ad must comply with the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google also takes copyright infringement very seriously, so it is important to understand what you can and cannot put in your ad..  Here is what Google says:

Google takes allegations of trademark infringement very seriously and, as a courtesy, we investigate matters raised by trademark owners. Trademarks are territorial and apply only to certain goods or services. Therefore, different parties can own the same mark in different countries or different industries. Accordingly, in processing complaints, Google will ask the trademark owner for information regarding where the mark is valid and for what goods or services.

One of the great things about Google is there real-time monitoring of ads.  If for whatever reason your ad does not meet their guidelines, you will be notified immediately.

Google prohibits the promotion of:

  • Abortion
  • Sale of Free Items
  • Alcohol
  • Copy written Content
  • Acts of Violence
  • Hacking
  • Proper Names
  • Fireworks
  • Tobacco Products
  • Weapons
  • Spam
  • Unethical Business Practices

In terms of your destination URL is must be working and not under construction.  It must be relevant to the what they ad describes.  It must not have an error code like 404 or 403.

For more information check out:

Facebook Ads


Facebook is by far the most strict when it comes to getting your ads approved. One thing that Facebook states is that they reserve the right to change their policies at any time.  This means that one ad could be approved one day, and disapproved the next day.  Obviously you can see how frustrating this could be for an advertiser.

  • Don’t position your ad copy to say that Facebook is your “Partner”.  You have to also limited the number of mentionings of Facebook in your ad copy.
  • You cannot create multiple Facebook Advertising accounts, without permission from Facebook.
  • Cannot automatically/programmatically create ads (speaking to spammers)
  • If you mention a URL in your ad copy, it HAS to link to that domain.
  • User must go to the landing page that the user clicked (no-redirects)
  • You cannot send a user to a site with pop ups and pop unders.
  • You cannot trap users on a landing page or mouse trapping.
  • Ads cannot tell users to submit personal information in the ad or landing page, until they are purchase a product.
  • You cannot ask for users information that could be sold.
  • Your images and ad copy MUST be directly related to the landing page or product you are selling.
  • No automatic audio when a user hits a landing page.
  • Your ads can’t be misleading, deceptive, offensive, defamatory, or promote gambling, tobacco, ammunition or weapons.
  • No scams or contests unless you get permission from Facebook
  • No get rich schemes, uncertified pharmaceutical products, inflammatory religious content, hate speech, content that speaks against organizations or businesses.
  • Ads must not contain, reference, advocate, promote or link to any of the following: nudity, gambling, false health claims, spamming, hate speech, solicitation of personal information, promotion of competitors of MyAds, contest or sweepstakes.

Read the Entire Facebook Ads Guilelines

Myspace Ads (MyAds)


  • Must comply with the FTP guidelines
  • If containing free offers and discounts, ads must disclose within the ad all material terms and conditions relating to the free offer or special discount and provide within the ad simple access to all the detailed information pertaining to the method of qualifying for the free offer.
  • If referring to local services or products, ads must clearly disclose the advertiser’s location BY CITY AND STATE.
  • If “Free” is used in the ad, but the product requires Shipping & Handling fees, the ad must state it.
  • Ads must not make any claim about a product or service unless it has been substantiated through research or surveys, and that support is made publicly available by you online
  • Ads must not use superlatives relating to products or services that may be misleading, confusing or unsubstantiated
  • Ads must not include animation, video, flash, rich media or audio content.
  • Ads must not block or impede browser functionality from working as intended
  • Ads must not use the copyrighted materials of, or otherwise mimic or be similar to the look and feel, content, navigation, service messaging or functionality of any FAN Site.
  • Ads must be related to the content, purpose and theme of the landing page of the ad; and the landing page must match the offer being made in the ad.
  • Any advertiser page containing a transactional interface for the purpose of selling a good or service to the user must contain the full terms and conditions of the offer in an easily accessible manner.

Read the Entire MyAds Guidelines

About the Author

Mark Thompson

Mark is the creator of StayOnSearch and president of Search Creatively, a full-service Internet Marketing Company located in Raleigh, North Carolina. He also contributes to many industry related blogs including Search Engine Journal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Mark on Twitter