Google Ad Approvals Can Get Tricky in Healthcare

Aug. 25, 2021

5 Tips for Navigating through the process  


Google Ad Blog-LHM

By Carla Lee, Digital Marketing Strategist Legato Healthcare Marketing

In recent years, digital advertising has become one of the most influential forms of advertising. This is due to the ever-increasing popularity of digital platforms that marketers can use to promote the goods or services they offer. Not to mention, there are countless options out there to choose from.

There are common social media advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram, more obscure ones such as Quora the “Question and Answer” platform, and trendier options like TikTok. Out of many digital advertising platforms available, the most popular and widely used is Google Ads.

Display vs. Search Advertising

The most common methods of advertising on Google Ads includes display and search ads. When running a Google Ad campaign, display ads can appear anywhere on the Google Display Network, a group of more than two million websites, videos, and apps. Whereas search ads will only appear in Google search engine results. Learn more about each method below: 

  • Search Advertising: This method of advertising is also known as search engine marketing (SEM), paid search advertising, or Google advertising. Using this method, marketers place online advertisements on search engines that come up with specific results based on keyword research. The goal is to appear at the top of the search results. Here is an example that we did for our recent campaign: 


  • Display Advertising: This type of advertisings shows up on third-party websites and can use images, text, or a combination of both to promote products or services, along with building brand awareness. Banner, desktop, and mobile leaderboard ads are examples with most being rectangular or square in shape as shown here for a campaign we created for Valor Health located in Emmett, ID:

VHH_OrthoFlight4_930x180 2
Another way to advertise using Google Ads is through video advertising. While video advertising is an effective method, it’s not as common as search and display advertising as it requires more resources to execute—like video production—and has its own set of approval hoops to jump through. So this blog post is focused solely on search and display advertising.

Tips for Getting Ads Approved

If you’ve ever advertised using Google Ads, you’ve probably learned that sometimes the ad approval process can be an arduous task, especially when it comes to promoting healthcare organizations—rural or otherwise—and the various health-related services they offer. And with then new Google 3-Strikes policy that starts in early September, accounts will be flagged or even shut down for repeated violations to policies.  

Since ad approvals can occasionally be difficult, we recommend the following tips and tricks to better navigate the ad approval process:

  1. Make sure your ads follow Google’s long list of advertising policies. Examples that don’t follow their policies include advertising:
    • Prohibited or controversial content
    • Prescription drugs and addiction services (unless you have a specific Google Certificate)
    • Medical services that include certain terms or images, or ads that focus on sensitive events

You might be thinking, well how can I advertise my healthcare organization’s medical services without using medical terms or images? Short answer, be mindful of the terms and images Google flags and doesn’t flag, something learned through research and experience using the platform. Some terms and images to avoid consist of “total knee replacement surgery”, “birth control”, a syringe graphic to promote vaccination, or images that are too detailed and graphic.

  1. Offer users a landing page experience that is top notch once they click on the ads. This means making sure the destination landing page:
    • Features high quality written and visual content that’s related what’s being advertised
    • Is easy to navigate
    • Is free from loading and privacy errors
    • Adheres to Google’s advertising policies, just like the ads themselves
  2. When creating ads and ad content, avoid misleading claims, guarantees, anything gimmicky—like excessive capitalization or overuse of punctuation—and ad personalization, such as referencing the words “you” or “your”.

  3. Make sure the ads used in Google Ad campaigns are high quality. For search ads, this means using well-researched, relevant keywords, and phrases. For display ads, incorporate images that are crisp, eye-catching, and paired with relevant messaging. Google scores the quality of all ads, and if they don’t score high enough, they won’t be eligible to run on their ad networks.

  4. Stay on top of the latest Google advertising trends, changes, and algorithm updates that take place. These have a huge effect on the ad approval process.

Reach Out to Our Team

By incorporating the above tips when setting up your Google Ad campaigns, you should have a better chance at getting your ads approved. If you’re still running into problems, please reach out to us via the contact form on the Legato Digital page for help. There, you will also find information on the full slate of the healthcare digital services we provide.