Google Updates “Unavailable Video” Policy

In another step toward transparency for advertisers, Google quietly updated its “Unavailable Video” policy in Google Ads this week.

The update gives advertisers a clearer understanding of the reason for the disapproval and how to quickly rectify the issue.

Externalize your video ad disapproval reasons

If you are advertising in Google Ads, chances are that you have experienced your ad being disapproved for very vague reasons.

When Google Ads does not identify the problem at hand, it costs advertisers:

  • Lost revenue opportunities when ads are not shown
  • It’s time to dive into the possible reasons for ad disapproval
  • Efficiency when gears need to be shifted from account management to investigation mode

The latest update to help advertisers resolve video ad disapprovals is under “Video not availablepolicies. The update provides four examples of why a video ad might be marked as unavailable:

Image credit:, October 2022

What is not allowed in video ads

While the examples above give advertisers more clarity Reasons Why their video ads might be disapproved, it may not be clear. Let’s break down these four examples above.

  • Video status changed to Deleted after sending. Let’s say a video has been deleted from his YouTube channel, either on purpose or by accident. In this case, Google will not allow advertisers to use this video in any form of advertising – most likely because the original URL no longer works. If a video is deleted by mistake, it must be re-uploaded and the new URL associated with the disapproved video ad.
  • Video status changed to private after submission. While Google allows unlisted videos to be used in video ads, “private” video statuses are not allowed. Only invitees with a specific link to view the video can watch a private video. For this reason, Google will not allow this video to be placed in YouTube ads due to the nature of targeting a wide audience in that channel.
  • The video is tagged in the first live show. While this type of video is publicly available, Google Ads will likely not allow this due to the nature of the video type. With premieres, users can watch in real time and rewind but cannot fast-forward during a premiere. If you want to use a video marked as a live show, wait for the premiere to finish because the video becomes a regular upload on your YouTube channel. Regularly uploaded videos are allowed on YouTube ads.
  • Videos tag sponsors or members only. Similar to the “Private” status, this status type indicates that the video is not or should not be available to the general public. Any videos used in YouTube ads must be readily available to the public for display purposes. As mentioned above, Google does not allow private or highly targeted videos in video ads.

Summary: Why advertisers should care

The updated Google Ads video policy makes it clear that Google is moving towards transparency for advertisers.

Especially with video ads, it’s possible that advertisers may not be the ones to upload videos to the brand’s YouTube channel or they may not even have access to the channel. And if advertisers receive a vague “video unavailable” rejection, doing investigations can be overwhelming.

The latest policy update helps advertisers better understand why a particular video isn’t available for advertising. The above examples can guide marketers to go to the appropriate video implementation teams and quickly assemble a solution.

Featured image: metamorworks/Shutterstock

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