1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. Video Advertising

Google Updates “Unavailable Video” Policy

Google Ads updated its "unavailable video" advertiser policy, arming marketers with more transparency to solve ad disapprovals faster.

In further moves towards transparency to advertisers, Google quietly updated its “Unavailable Video” policy in Google Ads this week.

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

Externalizing Video Ad Disapproval Reasons

If you advertise in Google Ads, chances are you’ve been met with ad disapprovals with extremely vague reasoning.

When Google Ads doesn’t lay out the issue at hand, it costs advertisers:

  • Lost revenue opportunities when ads aren’t running
  • Time to dig deeper into potential ad disapproval reasons
  • Efficiency when having to switch gears from account management to investigative mode

The most recent update to help advertisers solve video ad disapprovals is within its “Unavailable Video” policy. The update gives four examples of why a video ad may be marked as unavailable:

Google Ads updates its Unavailable Video policy for video ads.Image credit:, October 2022

What’s Not Allowed In Video Ads

While the examples above give advertisers more clear reasons why their video ads may be disapproved, they may not be obvious. Let’s break down these four examples above.

  • Video status changed to “deleted” after submission. Suppose a video has been deleted on its YouTube channel, whether on purpose or by accident. In that case, Google will not allow advertisers to use that particular video in any form of advertisement – likely because the original URL doesn’t work anymore. If a video was accidentally deleted, it should be re-uploaded, and link the new URL to 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 view a private video. Because of this, Google will not allow that video status in YouTube ads because of the nature of targeting a broad audience in that channel.
  • Video marked live premiere. While this video type is available to the public, this is likely not allowed by Google Ads because of the nature of the video type. With premiere videos, users can watch in real-time and rewind but cannot fast-forward during the premiere. If you want to use a video marked as a live premiere, wait until the premiere is over because the video becomes a regular upload on your YouTube channel. Regular uploaded videos are allowed on YouTube ads.
  • Videos marked 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 advertising must be readily available to the public for viewing purposes. As mentioned above, Google does not allow private or hyper-targeted videos in video ads.

Summary: Why Advertisers Should Care

The updated Google Ads video policy shows that Google is moving towards advertiser transparency.

Especially with video ads, advertisers likely are not the ones uploading videos to a brand’s YouTube channel or may not even have access to the channel. And if advertisers get a vague “Unavailable Video” disapproval, the undertaking of investigative work can be overwhelming.

The most recent policy update helps advertisers better understand why a specific video may not be available to advertise. The examples above can guide marketers to go to the proper teams responsible for video execution and come together quickly for a resolution.

Featured Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Brooke Osmundson Director of Growth Marketing at Smith Micro Software

Brooke serves as the Director of Growth Marketing at Smith Micro Software, with over 10 years of paid media experience. ...

Google Updates “Unavailable Video” Policy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.