YouTube Ads Policiesa and Guidelines

YouTube Shopping Ads Policies: Top 4 Guidelines for Hassle-Free Campaigns


YouTube Shopping ads are social promotions that showcase your products at a glance. These ads allow marketers’ to stimulate consumers’ intent to purchase through static or digital video ads. YouTube ads policies are elevating the consumer journey and shielding brands from harm, all while delivering relevant and appropriate ads to viewers.

Getting started with Shopping ads is easy. Create a campaign, and submit your product data feed to the Merchant Center, and YouTube will review it. If guidelines are met based on their policies, your ads appear when users search for relevant keywords or consume content based on set audience targeting. These are called intent-driven ads, thus resulting in higher ROAS.

Related article: YouTube Product Feed On Video Action Campaign: A Step-by-step Guide

Quick Look: YouTube Shopping Ads Policies

Users are the foundation of Google’s business, so it has provided policies to ensure a positive advertising experience while delivering results. Google created these ad policies to ensure that advertisers meet their goals while complying with advertising standards. If a marketer violates those policies, Google may suspend its account until the issue is resolved.

To ensure an elevated advertising user experience, YouTube devised policies based on four categories: Prohibited Content, Prohibited Practices, Restricted Content, and Editorial & Technical.

Related article: YouTube Shorts Best Practices for Video Ads

Shopping Ads Content Policies:

Content policies ensure that any content is safe, trustworthy, and legal. Follow them to avoid issues with your campaigns.

YouTube Shopping Ads Policies - Prohibited Content and Practices

Main Policy #1: Prohibited Content

These are the types of content that Google cannot promote. Examples include, but are not limited to, counterfeit goods, products or services that enable fraud, dangerous products or services, offensive or inappropriate content, and sexually explicit content.

  • Counterfeit goods: Google doesn’t allow the promotion of counterfeit products in Shopping ads. Counterfeit goods mimic brands and trick people into buying them as genuine. Website and app content is subject to Google policies. Google has a zero-tolerance policy for counterfeit goods. So, if the site sells fraudulent items, take action immediately.
  • Dangerous products: Google does not allow the promotion of certain products that cause damage, loss, or injury. Examples of hazardous content: soft drugs (chemicals or herbs); psychoactive substances; drug-using devices; weapons, ammunition, explosives, and fireworks; instructions for the manufacture of explosive devices.
  • Products that enable dishonest behavior: Google takes integrity and fairness seriously, so they don’t promote products designed to allow fraudulent behavior. To comply with the requirements of an unguided shopping experience, Google ensures that products sold by advertisers meet specific standards. Examples of products that enable dishonest behavior: Hacking software or instructions, fake documents, and academic cheating products.
  • Inappropriate content: Google’s content policy specifies that advertisements and promotional material cannot promote hate, bigotry, violence, or discrimination.
  • Unsupported Shopping ads content: As much as Google wants to promote all types of products on the platform, there are still limitations. Not all Google solutions can appropriately optimize and support different content types. As a result, Shopping Ads and Free Product Listings hinder the promotions of content that don’t provide a great user experience. 

Main Policy #2: Prohibited Practices

  • Abuse of the ad network: To keep platform users the safest and to maintain the quality of paid and organic content delivery, they don’t allow the following:
  • malicious content
  • sites that offer little unique value to users and are focused primarily on traffic generation
  • retailers who attempt to gain an unfair advantage in Shopping campaigns
  • retailers who attempt to bypass YouTube’s review processes

    Irresponsible data collection & use: YouTube wants advertisers to treat customer information responsibly. They are expected not to misuse this information nor collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures.

User information that must be handled with care includes:

  • full name
  • email address
  • mailing address
  • phone number
  • national identity, pension, social security, tax ID, health care, or driver’s license 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 unethical data collection and use: (Securing the following data over SSL (HTTPS) server connections)

  • Username or email in combination with passwords
  • Credit and debit card numbers
  • Bank and investment account numbers
  • Checking account numbers
  • Wire transfer numbers

  • Misrepresentation: To help shoppers make informed choices, YouTube Shopping ads must communicate information about products and services.

Activities that are prohibited from doing:

  • Promotional content that withholds critical information or requires users to commit without first providing all relevant information
  • Promotions that give an inaccurate, unrealistic, or misleading portrayal of you, your products, and your services.
YouTube Shopping Ads Policies - Restricted Content and Poorly Executed Promotions

Main Policy #3: Restricted Content

Google may not display certain ads in sensitive areas, such as locations where they could be considered legally or culturally inappropriate or offensive.

Therefore, some sensitive content can be advertised with restrictions. To do so, you may need to meet additional requirements before promoting YouTube-restricted items. Not all products, features, or ad networks support this restricted content.

  • Adult-oriented content: Adult merchandise, sexually suggestive content, and images with exposed skin are restricted. Content that targets minors or promotes sexually explicit content or services is not allowed.
  • Alcoholic beverages: Alcohol ads are restricted. You can’t target people under the legal drinking age in the country you’re advertising, imply a claim that alcohol improves health, or show excessive drinking as part of a healthy lifestyle and drinking and driving.
  • Copyrighted content: You can promote only those copyrighted works for which you have acquired the appropriate usage rights. If you believe you are authorized to share copyrighted content, please click this link for the form.
  • Healthcare-related content: Healthcare-Restricted content includes: over-the-counter medication, prescription drugs, fertility-related products, and unapproved supplements. Click this link to learn more.
  • Political content: Promote political content responsibly. Be sure to follow applicable laws and industry standards for any location you target and any election “silence periods.”
  • Trademarks: When using a trademarked product as part of your ad, you can use it in either the title or description. Use this link if you are the trademark holder and have a complaint.
  • High Fat Sugar Salt Food and Beverage: Google’s policies on high-fat, sugar, and salt food and beverages (HFSS) are changing. Shopping ads that promote the sale of HFSS products are not allowed to target minors.

Main Policy #4: Editorial & Technical 

Different policies focusing on the quality of paid and organic content appearing on YouTube users’ feeds are essential in providing an elevated viewing experience. Included in YouTube’s advertising standards are Editorial and Technical requirements, bringing the best out of all content, regardless of ad format. 

  • Editorial & professional requirements: Google’s Shopping policy ensures high-quality ads and websites that are useful and professional.

Some examples of poorly executed promotions:

  • A misleading landing page URL
  • A highly stylized and playful use of words, numbers, and languages often intended to attract
  • Sites that are shut down, out of business, or have not been updated for a long time
  • Sites that disallow visitors from using the browser’s back button to navigate around a site
  • Sites that are inaccessible to some browsers

YouTube Policies Benefits Everyone

Advertisers must follow these policies set by YouTube to maximize advertising investment and protect the brand from legal action and reputational damage. Shopping Ads policies benefit everyone: advertisers, users, and the platform. Google enforces its shopping policies by suspending accounts and disapproving individual items. Make sure you don’t miss important notifications about violations of your account and resolve any issues on time.

Run Shopping Ads Campaigns And Win The Social Commerce Game

As social media platforms make digital shopping more accessible and convenient, social commerce will continue to expand. 

Use YouTube Video Action Campaign and Google Merchant Center product feed to scale your digital storefront. Consumers demand the most relevant video content, and YouTube will continue to grow and play a role in developing new shopping and viewing behavior.

Related article:YouTube Shorts Under YouTube: Platform for Social Commerce

Our team of experts will optimize your campaign and help you achieve the advertising goals at the lowest cost possible. Winning at YouTube Shopping has never been more critical. And with our help, it can be easy.


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