Shopping ads policies
Welcome to the Shopping Ads Policy Centre! Here you'll find the requirements for advertising on the Google Network.
Our policies cover four broad areas:
- Prohibited content: Content that you're not allowed to promote on the Google Network
- Prohibited practices: Things that you can't do if you want to advertise with us
- Restricted content: Content that you can advertise, but with limitations
- Editorial and technical: Quality standards for your ads and website
Google prohibits the sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit products. Counterfeit goods contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark or logo of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.
This policy applies to the content of your Shopping ads and your website.
Google wants to help keep people safe both online and offline, so we don’t allow the promotion of some products that cause damage, harm or injury.
Examples of dangerous content: Recreational drugs (chemical or herbal); psychoactive substances; equipment to facilitate drug use; weapons, ammunition, explosive materials and fireworks; instructions for making explosives or other harmful products; tobacco products.
Google values honesty and fairness, so we don’t allow the promotion of products that are designed to enable dishonest behaviour.
Examples of products that enable dishonest behaviour: Hacking software or instructions; fake documents; academic cheating products.
Google values diversity and respect for others, and we strive to avoid offending users, so we don’t allow ads or destinations that display shocking content or promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination or violence.
Examples of inappropriate or offensive content: Bullying or intimidation of an individual or group; racial discrimination; hate group paraphernalia; graphic crime scene or accident images; cruelty to animals; murder; self-harm; extortion or blackmail; sale or trade of endangered species.
Google aims to enable businesses to promote a wide variety of products, but some Google products and platforms may not be optimised to appropriately support all content types.
For this reason, Shopping ads don't allow the promotion of certain content where we don't offer an optimal user experience.
Note that because these limitations are specific to Shopping ads, they do not impact policies on other Google products or platforms, where functionality differs or additional support mechanisms are in place.
Google wants Shopping ads to be useful, varied, relevant and safe for users, and so we've made some decisions about how we serve content on our network. As a result we don't allow any of the following:
- malicious content
- sites that offer little unique value to users and are focused primarily on traffic generation
- merchants who attempt to gain an unfair advantage in Shopping campaigns
- merchants who attempt to bypass our review processes
Google wants users to trust that information about them will be respected and handled with appropriate care. As such, our advertising partners should not misuse this information, nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures.
Examples of user information that must be handled with care: full name; email address; postal address; phone number; national identity, pension, national insurance number, tax ID, healthcare information, or driving licence number; birth date or mother's maiden name in addition to any of the above information; financial status; political affiliation; sexual orientation; race or ethnicity; religion.
Examples of irresponsible data collection and use: Obtaining the following data over non-secure SSL (https://) server connections:
- Username or email in combination with passwords
- Credit and debit card numbers
- Bank and investment account numbers
- Other account numbers
- Bank transfer numbers
- National identity, pension details, national insurance number, tax ID, NHS or driving licence number
Google doesn't want users to feel misled by the content promoted in Shopping ads, and that means being upfront, honest and providing them with the information that they need to make informed decisions. For this reason, we don't allow the following:
- promotions that prompt users to initiate a purchase, download or other commitment without first providing all relevant information and obtaining the user's explicit consent
- promotions that represent you or your products in a way that is not accurate, realistic and truthful
The policies below cover content that is sometimes legally or culturally sensitive. Online promotion can be a powerful way to reach customers, but in sensitive areas, we also work hard to avoid showing these ads when and where they might be inappropriate.
For that reason, we allow promotion of the content below, but on a limited basis. These promotions may not be shown to every user in every location, and merchants may need to meet additional requirements before their ads are eligible to run. Please note that not all products, features or networks are able to support this restricted content.
Google restricts the promotion of the following types of adult-orientated content:
- adult merchandise
- sexually suggestive content
- images containing exposed skin and nudity
When promoting adult content, you may not do any of the following:
- violate applicable laws or regulations for any location that you target
- target minors
- promote sexually explicit content
- promote content with underage or non-consensual sexual themes, including child sexual abuse content
- promote services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation
Examples of restricted adult content: sex toys; adult magazines; sexual enhancement products; sexually suggestive lingerie promotions.
Google restricts the promotion of alcoholic beverages and drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages.
When promoting alcoholic beverages, you may not do any of the following:
- violate applicable laws and industry standards for any location that you target
- target individuals below the legal drinking age
- imply that drinking alcohol can improve social, sexual, professional, intellectual or athletic standing
- imply that drinking alcohol provides health or therapeutic benefits
- portray excessive drinking in a positive light or feature binge or competition drinking
- show alcohol being consumed in conjunction with the operation of a vehicle of any kind, the operation of machinery or the performance of any task requiring alertness or dexterity
Examples of restricted alcoholic drinks: beer; wine; sake; spirits or hard alcohol; Champagne; fortified wine; non-alcoholic beer; non-alcoholic wine; and non-alcoholic distilled spirits.
Google restricts the promotion of gambling-related content.
Examples of restricted gambling-related content: national or private lotteries; sites offering bonus codes or promotional offers for gambling sites.
Google restricts the promotion of healthcare-related content such as the following:
- over-the-counter medication
- prescription drugs
- unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements
- online pharmacies promoting non-prescription products
- pregnancy and fertility-related products
- sexual enhancement treatments
The restrictions that apply to this content may vary depending on the product that you're promoting and the countries that you're targeting. Some content, such as unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, may not be promoted anywhere.
Depending on the content that you’re promoting and the countries where your ads appear, you may need to apply for preauthorisation with Google before advertising healthcare-related content.
When promoting political content, you need to comply with the following requirements:
- applicable laws and industry standards for any location that you target
- any applicable election "silence periods"
Examples of political content: promotion of political parties/candidates, political issue advocacy.
Shopping ads don’t restrict use of trademarks by merchants in the title or description of an ad when it’s for a trademarked product or a product compatible with the trademarked product. Merchants need to reference trademarks to be able communicate to users what they're offering, and users need that information as it's relevant to their searches. We’ll review claims by trademark owners that use of their trademark is likely to cause consumer confusion about the origin of a product. To submit a trademark-related complaint if you’re an owner of the trademark, use this form.
Editorial & technical requirements
We want to deliver ads that are engaging for users without being annoying or difficult to interact with, so we've developed editorial requirements to help keep your ads appealing to users. We've also specified technical requirements to help users and advertisers get the most out of the variety of ad formats that we offer.
In order to provide a quality user experience, Google requires that all Shopping ads meet high professional and editorial standards. We only allow promotions that are clear and professional in appearance. These ads should lead users to products and landing pages that are relevant, useful and easy to interact with.
Examples of promotions that don't meet these editorial and professional requirements:
- a Display URL that does not accurately reflect the URL of the landing page, such as 'google.com' taking users to 'gmail.com'
- gimmicky use of words, numbers, letters, punctuation or symbols such as FREE, f-r-e-e and F₹€€!!
- sites that are under construction, parked domains or are just not working
- sites that have disabled the browser's back button
- sites that are not viewable in commonly used browsers
About our policies
Shopping ads enable businesses of all sizes, from around the world, to promote a wide variety of products and websites on Google and across our network. We want to help you reach existing and potential customers and audiences. However, to help create a safe and positive experience for users, we listen to their feedback and concerns about the types of ads that they see. We also regularly review changes in online trends and practices, industry norms and regulations. And finally, in crafting our policies, we also think about our values and culture as a company, as well as operational, technical and business considerations. As a result, we have created a set of policies that apply to all promotions on the Google Network.
Google requires that advertisers comply with all applicable laws and regulations and the Google policies described above. It's important that you familiarise yourself with and keep up to date on these requirements for the places where your business operates, as well as any other places that your ads are showing. When we find content that violates these requirements, we may block it from appearing, and in cases of repeated or egregious violations, we may stop you from advertising with us.