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Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
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Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi,

 

Our company's AdWords account was previously suspended because of violations of the Pharmacy Policy. Those violations were cleared up and the account unsuspended, but I am very wary any time I see even a hint of a problem related to this policy.

 

Yesterday when submitting 4 new campaigns using AdWords Editor one of the campaigns' ads were disapproved with the Pharmacy Policy given as the reason.

 

I reviewed the ads and landing pages and couldn't find any obvious reason for them to be flagged, so I clicked on the "Request An Exception" tickbox and resubmitted the ads.

 

I am confident that there is no policy violataion in the ad or on the landing page in question, but without more detail about the specific reason the ad was disapproved it is impossible for me to be sure, and impossible for me to fix the problem if in fact there is one.

 

For an ad to be disapproved Google must know what the reason was. Sharing this reason seems like a sensible thing to do.

 

For anyone with better eyes than me, the landing page that was flagged was:

http://www.whatclinic.com/cosmetic-plastic-surgery/uk/lancashire/manchester/eyelid-surgery

 

Here is one of the ads that was disapproved:

Eyelid Surgery Manchester

Check The Cost Of Eyelid Surgery In

Manchester Clinics & Get Quotes Now

WhatClinic.com/UK/Eyelid-Surgery

 

For comparison's sake this landing page had no problem:

http://www.whatclinic.com/cosmetic-plastic-surgery/uk/eyelid-surgery

 

And here's an example ad text:

UK Eyelid Surgery Clinics

Choose From Over 100 Eyelid Surgery

Clinics In The UK & Get A Quote Now

WhatClinic.com/UK/Eyelid-Surgery

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
Hi Philip,
Welcome to the community. I've spoken with Caelen before and I've worked with Alan in the past. We're just around the corner from you actually.

I can't see any problems relating to the policy violation. Maybe @MosheTLV can chime in on this as he'd be the resident specialist in policy. To be honest, I'd be more concerned about skirting the bridge page policy.

Google doesn't give a reason for specific disapprovals. It's annoying I know but it's to protect the integrity of the program. I hate to sound like a mouthpiece for Google but it really is for the best considering all the messing that goes on.

Seeing your account is established and you've been approved before, do you have a Google rep? Is this a frequent occurrence? After you submit an exception, does it then get approved?

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi Philip;

I agree with Dave (@Dave_Davis); Your sites violates the bridge section of the Policy. It does not seem to violate the "online pharmacy" clause. (If it were to violate another section, it would probably be the "advertiser claims")

 

As for disclosing the reason: Google is firm on not revealing the reason. There are many reasons for that. You could agree, or argue, but the bottom line is that advertisers have to (sometimes - not always) work hard to figure the reason....

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
Philip,
I'd also caution you, if this IS INDEED a bridge page violation, there's a STRONG chance that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that more pages and in fact the whole site may get disapproved in future.

Don't mean to worry you unnecessarily but it's something to keep in mind.

Thanks @MosheTLV for having a look.

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for the replies Dave and Moshe and I appreciate you both taking the time to look at the site and share your feedback. The bridge policy definitely isn't the problem here though.

Our site doesn't send people to other domains. The clinics listed all have brochure pages on our site, equivalent to product pages on an e-commerce site. Once you're on WhatClinic.com you don't go anywhere else unless you type in a new URL or close the tab.

Our site doesn't send people on to non-compliant content after the landing page. We are incredibly careful about this especially after the last pharmacy policy problem, which was to do with using treatment names on the site where the treatment is also the name of a prescription drug, e.g. Botox, Restylane.

Our site does has significant amounts of user generated content which is unique to us and other features that add value for our users.

We have used AdWords for close to seven years and never had a warning in relation to this bridge policy.

I understand why Google take a "don't explain" stance for ad disapprovals. However, I've seen first hand the effect of being caught in an information vacuum in relation to serious AdWords problems and there has to be a better middle ground.

When I submitted these latest campaigns the warning text in AdWords editor was specifically for the pharmacy policy. Having satisfied myself that there wasn't any obvious violation of this policy I clicked the "Ask For An Exemption" button and resubmitted, and the ads are now approved.

The reason I posted here is that during the course of our previous problem a Google employee explained that resubmitting disapproved ads unchanged can be seen by Google as trying to game the system.

This obviously isn't what we're trying to do here, but without any feedback from Google about why the ads were disapproved the first time, and then approved the second time, I can't be sure that a) we are, as we believe, fully compliant and b) that they don't think we're trying to game the system.

There doesn't seem to be an explanation online of what the "Ask For An Exception" button is and when it's OK to use it. Even that would be good to know!

Anyway, we are proceeding with caution. We fall just short of the monthly spend needed to have a dedicated AdWords rep but the expansion we are currently undertaking should change that. I just don't want to inadvertently get caught out by a policy violation in the meantime as we build these new campaigns.

Thanks for your help.

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hello again Philip;

Thank you for the detailed reply; however, I disagree;

Quotes:

>>>Our site doesn't send people on to non-compliant content after the landing page

>>>Our site does have significant amounts of user generated content which is unique to us and other features that add value for our users.

 

My view: The landing pages you linked violate the bridge Policy. The issue is the  landing page,  Not with the pages coming after. The "pharmacy error message" - in my view -  is an error of the system.

 

 A bridge page, also known as a doorway page, is a webpage created for the main purpose of sending visitors to a different site....Bridge pages offer little or no unique content and are considered low value to users. To comply with this policy, your site must have substantial amount of valuable content.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Thanks for the update Philip,
I thought that you said you were continuing to get the pharma warning after you submitted your ads for exemption.

Glad it's all sorted. However, I would still be cautious of the bridge page policy. AdWords get more and more strict on what it constitutes every year. Trust me, I've seen it first hand as I've been working with AdWords a LONG time. Just be careful is all.

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hi Moshe, thanks again for taking the time to reply. I'm very interested in hearing the specific reason why you think that landing page violates the bridge policy. If you're interested in reading it I've laid out why I don't think it violates the policy below.

I have read the bridge page definition you've quoted a number of times over the last few days and like most Google policies it is vague enough to be open to interpretation and personal opinion, which is unfortunate really.

Line by line:
"A bridge page, also known as a doorway page, is a webpage created for the main purpose of sending visitors to a different site..."
The purpose of our landing page is not to send visitors to a different site. Specifically we don't link out to any of the businesses listed on our site. All user interaction happens on our site.

"Bridge pages offer little or no unique content"
All our AdWords landing pages all contain user generated content and content written by us about the clinics, not scraped content. For UX reasons a lot of the longer content is represented by a snippet with an expand / more link to see the full content, but it is there on the page, and this method is in common use on many other major websites, so we're confident that this method of displaying content is acceptable.

"... and are considered low value to users."
Take any key metric you like, bounce rate, conversion rate, time on site, pages visited, and I'm confident that our landing pages are in a different league to what would commonly be defined as a bridge page. Google have access to this data through various means and given the usage stats I would find it difficult to believe that they would consider these pages as being of low value to users.

"To comply with this policy, your site must have substantial amount of valuable content."
This is the line most open to debate I feel as it is more subjective. It might not look like it at first glance, but there is a significant amount of information, content, and data available on our landing pages that is either difficult or impossible to find elsewhere online and is demonstrably of value to our users.

Philip
WhatClinic.com

Re: Pharmacy Policy Ad Disapproval - More Detail Needed

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks Dave. I've long been aware of the danger of our sites' search results pages being deemed thin content / low value / etc, and have taken many steps to try and ensure that this isn't the case. I believe we're still well on the right side of the line at the moment but I appreciate that it is always a moving target.

I'll be bringing up this bridge page issue with our AdWords rep as soon as we get assigned one.