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    Advertising is a lever of commerce. Properly conducted marketing activities can translate into increased popularity, and consequently sales, of our products. One of the main platforms for placing ads on the Internet is Google Ads. With billions of users, the scale of reaching the public’s consciousness here is unimaginable. Not surprisingly, a significant number of advertisers have decided to advertise in Google’s environment. The idea is simple: I have a product, I have a website and a Google Ads account – I can start creating campaigns. That’s usually how it goes. However, there are restrictions that do not allow you to advertise certain product categories.

    What can't be advertised in Google Ads?

    Google Rules

    Before we create our first campaign, we must read (optional) and accept (mandatory) all Google Ads Rules They include information about restricted content, attitude to copyright or prohibited practices. Google also pays attention to the editorial and technical requirements of the material used in ads, making the user experience associated with ads more positive.

    Banned content

    The user experience of Google ads is also affected by the products advertised. Google does not agree to advertise items that:

    1. Are unoriginal This refers to counterfeit products of well-known brands that have identical or very similar logos belonging to another manufacturer. If there are such products on our site, we will not be able to advertise it either.
    2. May be dangerous or illegal This includes psychoactive substances, weapons, explosives or fireworks. We will also fail to promote instructions to produce explosives or tobacco products.
    3. Prevent fraudulent behavior Advertising fake documents, “writing a thesis for someone” services or selling “followers on Instagram” is prohibited.
    4. Contain inappropriate content, that is, content that is inconsistent with netiquette. Ads of a vulgar nature, promoting violence or intolerance will not be displayed. The same applies to products with slogans that discriminate against others for any reason. Content depicting drastic scenes, crime scenes or other types of cruelty are also not allowed.

    Disallowed practices

    In addition to content that is prohibited by law (or by other imposed rules), Google throws in its three cents when it comes to restrictions. Intentionally misleading users is undesirable. Google effectively deletes ads that direct users to a different destination than they would expect to reach. If an ad suggests that clicking on it will take you to an electronics store, but the landing page turns out to harbor malware or one big banner ad, Google will remove the ad. Any other type of deception of potential viewers is also penalized.

    It happens that through delays in generating the product file, the prices of products in the store (on the site) and in the ads will be different. Google will first reject such a product in Google Merchant Center, and if the situation persists, it may even suspend our Google Ads account!

    Pages that present false information, phishing or impersonating trusted companies will also not be advertised in the Google environment.

    These products can be advertised, but…

    Because of legal restrictions, some products require special treatment. As I mentioned at the beginning, Google’s user network is huge. It also includes minors. The age of users is just one factor that advertisers who promote restricted products must take into account. 

    Erotic content

    First of all, such ads will not be displayed by Google to minors (those who are not logged in or those the system marks as potentially minors). Only adults will see them, provided they have previously searched for similar content. The regulations of the country where the user is located must also allow such ads to be displayed. A fairly common opinion in the industry is that “sex sells.” Some advertisers thus try to circumvent Google’s rules by depicting ad characters in explicit situations without showing forbidden elements, such as:

    • sexual organs;
    • breasts;
    • erotic gadgets;
    • nightclubs;
    • models and models in erotic positions; 


    Percentage drinks are a touchy subject on the Internet. They usually cannot be promoted either on Google or any social media site. Manufacturers try to circumvent regulations by advertising non-alcoholic beers on Instagram, for example. In Google Ads, this will not go through. The restrictions include:

    • beer;
    • wine;
    • vodka and other spirits;
    • beer non-alcoholic beer;
    • other non-alcoholic beverages produced by distillation;
    • and almost everything associated with alcohol;

    In some countries, alcohol advertising is allowed, provided that the target group is not minors. In Poland, according to the Act on Upbringing in Sobriety and Counteracting Alcoholism, only beer advertising is allowed. However, restrictions apply here as well. Beer advertising must not:

    • suggest that beer consumption contributes to professional or social success;
    • be targeted at people under 18 (coincides with Google’s rules);
    • encourage excessive beer consumption;
    • suggest that beer has medicinal, nutritional or refreshing properties;


    As I mentioned above, Google takes a strict approach to the laws of the country in which we want to display ads. As advertising of dice, card and slot games is prohibited in Poland, according to the Gambling Act, we won’t see such ads on Google either. However, there are countries where we can advertise gambling games. In Poland, it is permitted to advertise pari-mutuel betting, provided that the organizer has received a special permit. 

    If the law in a country allows advertising (or we have received special permission), we still have to meet Google’s requirements. These mainly concern the age of the target audience or the type of ads. 

    Advertisers try to circumvent the law by offering, among other things, betting and games of chance, the subjects of which are virtual equivalents of money, rather than money itself. Google usually does not allow such ads, but other platforms are less restrictive…

    Medicines and medical devices

    The advertising of medicines is a rather sensitive issue. Some time ago, the Ministry of Health banned the use of actors who play the role of a doctor or specialist to promote medical devices. Advertisements also cannot be aimed directly at children. There are a whole host of government guidelines on the promotion of medicines As with alcohol or gambling, the law takes precedence over Google’s rules here. However, the platform requires that ads not include images or videos that show invasive procedures or open wounds.

    Additionally, in order to advertise drugs, the manufacturer of the products must be certified by Google. We also cannot include the names of prescription drugs in the content of the advertisement. In some countries, it is also forbidden to advertise addiction treatment services, contraception and drugs containing unapproved substances. The full list of restrictions Google provides in the Google Ads policy center.


    We can’t use copyrighted images or text in our ads. Google pays special attention to this especially when someone submits our ad. To claim copyright on some content, we should submit a form, which is available on Google’s support page

    Financial Services

    Google wants users to be able to make informed decisions, so intentionally misleading them is prohibited. This is especially true for financial services. These services are not only traditional banks, but also brokerage houses, stock market instruments or cryptocurrency-related activities. Google allows them to be advertised as long as it is legal in the country where the ads are displayed. In Polish law, this topic is difficult, but it is worth knowing that we should not refer to false data in ads. This applies, for example, to potential financial performance, the identity of the entity offering the service or the legal nature of the service. In Poland, the limits of advertising financial services are defined by a number of legal acts, such as the Banking Law, the Payment Services Act or the Consumer Credit Act. If you operate in such an industry, you should consult the content of advertisements with lawyers

    Political content

    Promoting political parties or advocating a particular position on political issues can be advertised in Google Ads. Here Google does not add anything of its own except that the ads must comply with the law in the country. This includes periods of electoral silence or special marking of ads.


    Google allows major companies to reserve their trademarks. We will then not be able to display ads that contain the logo or name of a particular company. This also applies to text ads: we cannot use, for example, the word Facebook in headlines and ad text.

    Our specialists are familiar with Google Ads campaigns. Even in the most demanding industries!

    Does your company have medical-related activities? Do you want to advertise a brokerage house or financial advisory services? Contact us and together we will find the best solutions!

    Ad quality requirements

    One of the goals of Google Ads is to provide users with quality ads. Therefore, we cannot use low-resolution images, use overly generic headlines, or write in a non-standard way (“BUY at Na$!!!”). This does not look aesthetically pleasing and builds brand image as frivolous. We also cannot use exclamation points or too many capital letters in headlines.

    When creating an ad, Google tells us its requirements next to each parameter. If the image size is too small, we simply won’t use it in the ad. If the graphic is blurry, the ad will not pass verification. There is no way around this mechanism. 

    Verify ad content

    Every ad we create in Google Ads has to go through a verification process. If everything is fine with it, it will start to show up in ad network or search results after some time. If there’s something wrong with it, we’ll see a notification of rejected ads in the campaign preview. When we look at the ad, there will be an element highlighted in red that needs to be corrected. At the ad creation stage, even before checking, the system will check some elements, such as the format of the photo or the length of the text. If the text is too long and the photo too small (or too heavy), the ad will not even make it to verification.

    Consequences of not following the rules

    The least painful consequence of creating an inappropriate ad will be its rejection. We can correct it and submit it for re-verification. It gets more difficult when Google deems that we are intentionally misleading users. Then our account may receive restrictions, warnings or a temporary block. When we receive three warnings, the account (and all other accounts that can be linked to us in some way) will be permanently blocked. We can, of course, appeal this decision, but the process is tedious and lengthy.

    It is also worth mentioning that the advertiser, not Google, is legally responsible for the ads. If we somehow manage to create an ad that breaks the law in a particular country, then the responsibility will be on the side of the person/organization paying for the ads.


    Thanks to Google Ads rules, ads are unobtrusive and usually don’t disrupt the user’s online experience. At least not to the extent that we would be “attacked” from all sides by ads for drugs, alcohol and airplane crash scenes. These restrictions also affect the image of the Google Ads network. Advertisers would be less likely to advertise their products or services when controversial content is displayed alongside their ads. Effectively enforcing the rules and aligning them with local laws is one of the reasons for the success of Google’s platform.

    Let's talk!

    Patryk Żakowicz
    Patryk Żakowicz

    Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.