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Understanding Google AdWords Ad Statuses

Ever wondered what the difference is between "Eligible" and "Approved" ads in Google AdWords? (Hint: they’re not the same!) Eligible ads are actually only serving on Google.com, not any of Google’s search partners across the network. So, be careful your ads are "Eligible" – you are not getting as much traffic as you could!

Checking Ad Status in the AdWords UI

Several months ago, Google started to give more insight into ad statuses beyond a simple “Active” or “Disapproved” flag.  What was previously denoted as “Active” can now be marked with up to six different statuses, with only one status actually meaning that your ad is fully active and approved. Below is a breakdown of the most common ad approval statuses, taken from the AdWords help page: Under review - Ads with this status are still under review and can't show anywhere yet. When you save your ad, it'll get either an "under review" status or an "eligible" status. "Under review" ads can't run anywhere until they're approved because they need a closer look. Below are some examples of ads that will initially get an "under review" status:

  • Ads targeting our partner sites (websites such as AOL.com that partner with Google to show ads)
  • Text ads that mention products with certain advertising restrictions, like gambling or alcohol
  • Image and video ads

Eligible - Ads with this status are still being reviewed, but can show on Google search pages. "Eligible" ads are allowed to run on Google search pages before they're approved because we think the ads are probably acceptable. Here are the restrictions for eligible ads:

  • Eligible ads can only run on Google search pages until they're approved.
  • Eligible ads can only show for users who've turned off SafeSearch filtering.
  • Eligible ads can't run on the Search Network and Display Network until they're approved.

Approved (limited) - Ads with this status are allowed to show with certain limitations. For example, these ads might only be allowed to show in certain countries, on certain devices, or on certain search terms, based on the content of your ad text and website.

  • Limitations for ads using trademarked terms – a common reason that we see
  • Limitations for ads affected by consumer advisories
  • Ad policies for gambling and related content
  • Ad policies for prescription drugs and related content – another common disapproval
  • Ad policies for alcohol
  • Mobile ads requirements

If you have a lot of ads in the ‘Eligible’ or ‘Approved (limited)’ status – and definitely if they are just simply ‘Disapproved’ – seek to resolve this and get them ‘Approved’ because your ad serving is being restricted. Google should review ads within three business days but we’ve seen cases where it takes longer, so, if it is past that time, contact your Google representative to see if they can have the account checked again. If the ads are being limited due to trademark or pharmaceutical policies, work with Google to address the issues and get any necessary trademark approval from the trademark owner, if possible.

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