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Blog | Got Problems With AdWords Product Listing Ads?



Got Problems With AdWords Product Listing Ads?

I’ve noticed with a few clients recently that there are more and more products in their Google Merchant Center accounts that are being disapproved for ‘Product Search’.

These products are *not* guns or drugs or fake goods and they do use upper case excessively.

Naturally, I asked (on a number of occasions) AdWords and Merchant Center support to please tell me why these items had been disapproved.

Here is one email I got from the ‘Google Product Search Team’ –

Hello Jordan,

Thank you for your patience!

Our Technical Team has reviewed your Product Listing ads and can confirm that your ads have been correctly disapproved, the reason for this is because we have recently implemented some changes on Google Shopping designed to ensure that all products displayed in results adhere to our program policies ( These changes have resulted in the removal of certain products from Google Shopping results; some products that were previously displayed in results no longer appear or may be disapproved and some queries in Google Shopping may show less results.

Because we share proprietary technology with other Google products, we are unable to comment on specific aspects of the Google Shopping algorithm that may affect your products. However, please know that we’re continuously reviewing our policy enforcement processes and we look forward to improving the way we evaluate products for inclusion over the coming months.

Our content providers are extremely important to us and we understand that some changes made to the product may affect a merchant’s products and traffic. We share similar goals with our content providers and our hope is that the changes we make to the product will provide an increasingly useful shopping experience for shoppers and advertisers.

I apologize for the inconvenience caused and thank you for understanding!

Have a great day! :)


But, funnily enough, I did still have concerns, so I replied with the following :-

Is there any way we can tell *why* the item has been disapproved? i.e. is it because of the text in the description or because of the EAN or product category?

Here is the reply I got :-

Hello Jordan,

Thank you for writing back!

I understand your concern and I know you would like to know about the reason for the disapproval of your Product Listing Ads.

To be frank even I’m not privy to the reason why your ads were disapproved. As I had stated in my previous email due to the nature of the product and the fact that it shares proprietary technology with other Google products, I am unable to shed more light on specific aspects of the Google Shopping algorithm that may affect your products.

I am sorry that I could not be of more help in this matter, I tried to do the best I could but as I’m not the one who frames the rules or the policies the final decision was not with me.

Please do let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with!

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and I thank you for your understanding.

So there you go – if you have any difficulty getting products approved for Product Listing Ads – remember – Google do not give a shit! (Though I have no doubt that support do their best).

Here is the link to the Google Shopping policies for info.:-

  1. Hi Jordan,
    We ran into similar problems some time ago; maybe it’s the same issue. Our products were disapproved for product ads, but searchable for everything else.

    It turned out that those products’s titles contained brand names that were restricted for trademark reasons. Google treats PLAs like any other AdWords ad, which means that terms that are blocked for use in normal ads are restricted for product ads as well. For example, an iPod cannot be advertised as PLA if the title contains the term “iPod”, because it’s restricted. We’ve also seen some very annoying trademark restrictions such as “orange”.

    The remedy would be to get permission from the trademark owner, just like you would for normal AdWords ads. You could also remove the restricted terms from the product titles, but that would compromise the same products in Google’s product search. A separate feed just for PLAs can be a solution.


  2. Thanks Martin.

    I have seen the trademark problems on a number of items – but the annoying thing is that in Merchant Center – it doesn’t say ‘trademark problem’ it only says ‘Disapproved or invalid’. Same for other problems like ‘Free Delivery!’

    Do Google allow you to have 2 separate feeds? If they do – then it looks like this is going to be pretty much essential…

  3. Yes, you can have separate feeds (including test feeds) and you can specify whether it’s for search or for ads.

    One potential pitfall here is that those feeds need different ID’s for the items included. Otherwise Google will consolidate the data for each product from both fees and the feed with the lastest upload determines which title, etc. is used for both search and ads.

    So far I can’t say that we’ve never completely gone with this approach, so there might still be some problems that I’m not yet aware of…

  4. Thanks Martin – I’ll have to look into it…

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