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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hello,

 

We are suddenly having a problem with our ads being disapproved due to unapproved substances, I assume because we are a biotech company that manufactures test kits that identify certain molecules in the body (such as melatonin, cortisol, testosterone) using saliva - also known as assay kits or elisa kits. Our previous ads that have been running fine for years, but now, I am unable to alter or create any new ads without having them disapproved.

 

I have read the through the google policy on unapproved substances, but none of these apply;

 

  • All items on this non-exhaustive list of prohibited pharmaceuticals and supplements (the kits contain no prohibited pharmaceuticals or supplements)
  • Products that contain ephedra (there is no mention of ephedra on our site)
  • Products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in relation to weight loss or weight control, or when promoted in conjunction with anabolic steroids (we do not sell steroids or growth hormones, nor do our products contain any)
  • Herbal and dietary supplements with active pharmaceutical or dangerous ingredients (the kits contain no prohibited pharmaceuticals or supplements)
  • False or misleading health claims, including claims implying that a product is as effective as prescription drugs or controlled substances (we make no such claims)
  • Non-government approved products that are marketed in a way that implies that they're safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment (everything requiring government approval has been registered and approved by the appropriate government agency)
  • Products that have been subject to any government or regulatory action or warning (does not apply)
  • Products with names that are confusingly similar to an unapproved pharmaceutical or supplement or controlled substance (All products and ads are clearly labeled as "Assay Kits or ELISA Kits" with images that would be very hard to confuse with such substances

 

Because adwords is hanging on the keyword itself, such as melatonin, uric acid, cotinine, or testosterone, we now having issues even if we submit the site for review - I have been through the help line with multiple reviews of our site and content. However, the only solution provided is to remove these terms from the ads - but again, these kits do not contain any such substances; they simply test for these substances. It is like a pregnancy test, but the test itself can not cause conception. Or similar to the NicAlert Nicotine test, which has adwords displaying on google searches, without being able to use "nicotine" in the ad context, it defeats the whole purpose of running ads. If that is indeed the case, then our competitors should be under the same restrictions and they are not. When doing a search, I see our competitors are running similar ads using the SAME keywords.

 

This process so far has taken over a month and it is very frustrating when we are rolling out new products and I need to show up next to the competition. Is there any insight that you can provide?

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

@Chris S

Well... A deeper investigation into the specific products is required here, which is beyond our scope.

However the general guidelines are  as follows:

  1.  If the product is prohibited, then it cannot be advertised regardless of the intended use.
  2. If the product is allowed under restrictions: In this case you should appeal for a status of  a pharma company, and if approved you will be allowed under the restrictions applied for a pharmaceutical company.

Make sure that the application is submitted as required. This is more a regulatory issue than an advertising issue, so you need some help  You need some help from the company's  regulatory team  / pharmacist in charge.

 

 

ttps://support.google.com/adwsord/rtoubleshooter6/909276?hl=en

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

We'd be fine to distribute ads under restrictions, even though there are no restrictions for purchasing our research kits and there is no pharma here. Anyone can walk off the street and buy one, we are not under any FDA or other regulatory regulations to sell them, and you cannot misuse the kits in an illegal or recreational way, so I do not know why they would be prohibited? It is no different than a water test for hazardous chemicals. I have already appealed for a pharma review years ago and it was accepted, and now I've done so again when this problem started, but I can try again and again. I feel like we exist in a gray area and I would like to understand the cause, so that I can understand what the actual issue is and fix it. It is very hard to remedy an issue that has no defined cause and no resources to talk to a specialist who can provide a very specific review.

Re: Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Well... Some products, even those which can be bought "over the counter" or in any kiosk are restricted by Google. (E.g alcohol, tobacco, any medication... etc....) 

Even if the  product  could assist in prohibited practice - it's not allowed. (E.g a magazine for a gun. Though not a weapon "per se" -  is not allowed.

Now, your case seems to require deeper investigation, which is beyond the scope of a public forum. I re-iterate  my  recommendation  that you seek advice from the scientific team at your comapy. The Policy team at Google does not communicate  with advertises nor provide specifics. The advertise has to verify that the site complies.

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I totally understand that - but prohibited is prohibited. Why are we being targeted and our competition is able to post ads, selling the same products through the same channels. This is very hurtful to our marketing operations and unfair to our company.

 

That was the first place I checked and the scientific team here does not understand what the issue is either.  I have verified that we do comply with the policies as listed above. If Google says we do not, how do we rectify that if we cannot talk to anyone or find the results from this deeper investigation?

 

If I have checked with Google, have checked with our regulatory/scientific team, and have checked with the policies available to me online - I was told by the helpline to come here, and now you seem to be saying you cannot assist, which is fine, but if this were your company, what would you do next in order to rectify this issue?

 

Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Pls share the URL in question . I  will take a quick look.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thank you. I hope you can easily spot what I am missing, even if it's just a theory; https://www.salimetrics.com/assay-kit/uric-acid-assay-kit-saliva

Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

The issue here is not with uric acid, but with other substances that you promote detection in humans (e.g. Testosterone  or melatonin or other substances in human...). Regardless of the intended use - these are not allowed - and the Google rep was correct. (This is clearly stated  in the Policy).

My opinion: In its current format - Google will not  re-enable  the site. The site should be restructured and content should be revised.

(A side note: I am also a bit surprised  by your claim that these products  do not require approval by the FDA because  the intended use is for humans)

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the information - So Google will also not allow the promotion of drug tests that identify if marijuana has been used, the promotion of breathalyzers that identify if alcohol has been consumed, or pool water tests that identify regulated chemicals in pool or well-water, such as mercury if these terms exist on their website? 

 

Also I need to understand why our competitors are ad-enabled using the same keywords and terminology and we are not, because my boss will not accept me saying that Google simply does not allow you to market these terms regardless of use, as he can just as easily do a search and prove me wrong. I can look up testosterone elisa and their ads will show on Google. If this is Google policy, everyone should be treated equally, right?

 

(Side note; Because these kits test only for the presence of certain compounds in saliva, they can not make medical determinations and therefore are FDA exempt. Just like a drug test, you can only identify the amount of the drug in the system, but you cannot determine any medical causality based on this data.)

Fixing disapproved ads due to unapproved substances

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 10
Rising Star

Hi Chris,

 

You said that this is a new problem. I would suggest that your competitors, if they were to create new ads, would also have them disapproved. 

 

If your old ads have all been disapproved as well, and you are wondering why your competitor's ads are still running - we get that question a lot. My best guess is that Google throttles its disapprovals (they clearly have no limits on computing power) so that their human support services can cope.

 

And while you are correct that your products are legal, and pass Google policy, and don't work as well without those words in the ads - if Google has hard-wired the system not to allow those words, there's nothing you can do.

 

Have you tried ads without mentioning the substances? Perhaps they can perform quite well after all??