Google AdWords Country-Restricted Content: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

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Want to use AdWords to advertise your services abroad? Use our country-by-country cheat sheet to check if you’re likely to face any restrictions, as laid out in Google’s advertising policies.

The easiest way to use this cheat sheet is to use the ‘find’ command in your browser to search for the country you’re looking to target. (Ctrl + F on Windows, Cmd + F on Macs.)

This cheat sheet is intended as an overview. Be sure to follow the links through to Google’s guidelines for further details.

Alcoholic Beverages

As well as country-by-country restrictions on alcohol-related advertising, there are also restrictions on certain ad platforms, formats  and networks. For full details, see Google’s guidelines:  https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6012382

Promotions for alcoholic beverages are split into two types. This is reflected in the table below.

Promotions For the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages

“We consider ads to be promoting the sale of alcoholic beverages when one or more alcoholic beverages are featured in the ad, and alcohol can be purchased on the destination site.”

Branding or Informational Ads Promoting Alcoholic Beverages

“Branding and informational ads include promotions which focus on alcoholic beverages, or spread awareness of alcoholic beverages, but which do not offer them for online sale.”

Promotions for Sale of Alcoholic Beverages Allowed Branding or Informational Ads Promoting Alcoholic Beverages Allowed All Alcohol-Related Advertising Forbidden
Albania

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Bulgaria

Cambodia

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Estonia

France

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Kenya

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Mexico

Montenegro

Netherlands

New Zealand

Nigeria

Panama

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Puerto Rico

Romania

Senegal

Singapore

Slovakia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Uganda

Ukraine

United Kingdom

United States

Uruguay

Albania

Argentina

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brazil

Bulgaria

Cambodia

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Estonia

France

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Kenya

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Mexico

Montenegro

Netherlands

New Zealand

Nigeria

Panama

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Puerto Rico

Romania

Senegal

Singapore

Slovakia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Uganda

Ukraine

United Kingdom

United States

Uruguay

All other countries

Gambling-Related Content

The legislation governing gambling can get complicated. If the country you’re targeting is listed under the ‘allowed with restrictions column’, be sure to check Google’s guidelines for more details: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6018017?hl=en

As well as country-by-country restrictions on gambling-related advertising, there are also restrictions on certain ad platforms, formats and networks.

In most cases, business will have to be certified by Google in order to advertise.

Offline Gambling

For example: Physical ‘bricks and mortar’ gambling locations where games are played for money.

Explicitly Forbidden Allowed
China

Egypt

Estonia

India

Indonesia

Korea

Malaysia

Morocco

Northern Ireland

Philippines

Russia

Singapore

Taiwan

Thailand

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

Vietnam

Check local legislation

Online Gambling

For example: Online casinos, online lotteries, scratch cards and bingo sites where players bet real money.

Explicitly Forbidden Allowed with Restrictions Allowed
China

Indonesia

Malaysia

Vietnam

Australia

Austria

Belgium

Brazil (lotteries only)

Canada

Czech Republic

Denmark

Finland

France

Germany

Greece

Hong Kong (lotteries only)

Hungary

India (rummy only)

Republic of Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Korea

Latvia (lotteries only)

Mexico

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Romania

Russia

Serbia

Slovenia (lotteries only)

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

Thailand

Turkey

Ukraine (lotteries only)

United Kingdom

United States (lotteries only)

Check local legislation

Online Gambling-Related Content

For example: Educational materials pertaining to gambling (like eBooks), gambling ‘tips’, poker odds calculators, bonus codes and vouchers.

Allowed with Restrictions Allowed
Australia

Austria

Belgium

Canada

Czech Republic

Denmark

Finland

France

Greece

Hungary

Republic of Ireland

Israel

Italy

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Peru

Portugal

Romania

Serbia

Spain

Sweden

Turkey

United Kingdom

Check local legislation

Non-Casino-Based Games Played for Real Money or Prizes

For example: Fantasy sports, online chess tournaments.

Explicitly Forbidden Allowed with Restrictions Allowed
China

Germany

Hong Kong

Malaysia

Philippines

Russia

Thailand

United States

Vietnam

Denmark Check local legislation

Healthcare and Medicines

The following healthcare and medical content cannot be promoted anywhere:

  • Unapproved pharmaceuticals
  • Unapproved supplements
  • HIV home tests (except United States)

Visit http://www.legitscript.com/ for more information on Google’s definition of ‘unapproved’ products.

Some countries also restrict the promotion of certain pharmaceutical products. Check Google’s guidelines for details: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/176031

Prescription Drug Terms in Ad Text

Note: Where this is allowed, it is only permissible by online pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers that are certified by Google.

Allowed Forbidden
Canada

New Zealand

United States

All other countries

Online Pharmacies

Note: Google says it “[errs] on the side of caution” when categorising online pharmacies.

Promotion of Online Pharmacies Allowed Online Pharmacies May Bid on Prescription Drug Terms Forbidden
Australia

Brazil

Canada

China

Germany

Hong Kong

Japan

Mexico

Netherlands

New Zealand

Sweden

Taiwan

United Kingdom

United States

Australia

Canada

Germany

New Zealand

Netherlands

United Kingdom

United States

All other countries

DHEA and Melatonin Products

Allowed Forbidden
Australia

Canada

United Kingdom

United States

All other countries

Medical Devices

Allowed Forbidden
Canada

United States

All other countries

Medical Services

Forbidden Allowed with Restrictions Allowed
Russia China

Hong Kong

Korea

India

Pakistan

Sri Lanka

All other countries

Clinical Trial Recruitment

Allowed Forbidden
Australia

Belgium

Canada

France

Germany

Ireland

Italy

Netherlands

United Kingdom

United States

All other countries

Paternity Tests

Forbidden Secret Paternity Tests Forbidden Allowed
France Germany

United Kingdom

All other countries

Abortion

Forbidden Allowed With Restrictions Allowed
Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Aruba

Bahamas

Bahrain

Belgium

Belize

Bolivia

Brazil

Cayman Islands

Chile

Columbia

Costa Rica

Djibouti

Dominica

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

El Salvador

France

Germany

Grenada

Guadeloupe

Guatemala

Haiti

Honduras

Hong Kong

Hungary

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Italy

Jamaica

Jordan

Korea (South)

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Malaysia

Martinique

Mexico

Morocco

Nicaragua

Oman

Pakistan

Palestinian Territory

Panama

Paraguay

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Qatar

Russia

Saint Barthelemy

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

Spain

Sri Lanka

St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Lucia

Suriname

Switzerland

Syria

Taiwan

Thailand

Tunisia

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

Uruguay

Venezuela

Yemen

Australia All other countries

Birth Control

Forbidden Allowed
Bahrain

China

Djibouti

Egypt

Hong Kong

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Malaysia

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestinian Territory

Qatar, Russia

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Thailand

Tunisia

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

All other countries

Political Content

Political content is allowed in most countries, but is restricted for certain ad extensions.

The countries listed as ‘restricted’ below limit political content in various ways, ranging from bans on promotion of political candidates and parties, to vetoes of content pertaining to politically sensitive events. For full details, see Google’s guidelines: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6014595

Restricted Allowed
Brazil

China

Indonesia

Japan

Korea

Vietnam

All other countries

Adult-Oriented Content

If the country you wish to target is listed as ‘allowed with restrictions’ below, be sure to check Google’s relevant help page for details: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6023699

Offline Adult Entertainment

For example: Strip clubs, adult movie festivals, adult parties

Forbidden Allowed With Restrictions Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

Japan All other countries

Adult Merchandise

For example: Adult toys, aphrodisiacs, lubricants

Forbidden Allowed With Restrictions Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

China

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

Indonesia

South Korea

Thailand

All other countries

Dating

Note: General online dating services are allowed and unrestricted in all countries except Japan. Japanese dating services must include an ’18+’ warning in the ad, and include an age verification landing page.

Adult dating content includes ‘fling’ dating, and ‘swinger’ sites. Promotion of ‘affair’ dating – when dating is motivated by infidelity – is categorised differently. This is reflected in the table below.

Adult and ‘Affair’ Dating Forbidden ‘Affair’ Dating Allowed, Adult Dating Forbidden Adult and ‘Affair’ Dating Allowed
>Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Iran

Iraq

Japan

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

South Korea

Syria

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

China

Germany

Hong Kong

Indonesia

Malaysia

Peru

Philippines

Russia

Singapore

South Korea

Ukraine

Vietnam

Thailand

All other countries, except Japan (see note above).

International Marriage Services

I.e. International bride services

Forbidden Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Malaysia

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Philippines

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Taiwan

Thailand

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Vietnam

Yemen

All other countries

Sexually Suggestive Content

For example: Lewd or sexual language, non-explicit sexual imagery.

Forbidden Allowed With Restrictions Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

Japan All other countries

Nudity

“People or representations of people that display sexual body parts”

Forbidden Allowed With Restrictions Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

China

Djibouti

Egypt

Germany

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Malaysia

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Peru

Philippines

Qatar

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

South Korea

Syria

Thailand

Tunisia

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

Vietnam

Yemen

Japan All other countries

Plastic Surgery

Note: Promotions for plastic surgery are divided into two types – those that promote “general cosmetic and reconstructive [surgery]” and those that focus on” genitalia or breast augmentation”.

General cosmetic surgery is allowed in all countries. The table below refers to the latter type.

Forbidden Allowed
Algeria

Bahrain

Djibouti

Egypt

India

Iran

Iraq

Jordan

Kuwait

Lebanon

Libya

Morocco

Oman

Palestine

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Syria

Tunisia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen

All other countries

Disclaimer: This information is believed to be accurate at the time of publication (May 2015). However, we take no responsibility for mistakes – always refer to Google’s advertising policies for the most up-to-date and correct information!

Paid search news from BidCops – the Google PPC tool.

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