The word “download” in ads triggers manual approval?

I had noticed some weird “no impressions” effect a couple of weeks ago, but at the time I couldn’t pin it down to a specific word yet.

However, now I am pretty sure that using the word “download” in your Google ad can trigger their “manual approval” process. Here’s what happened:

This Saturday I added new ads to a series of ad groups, for testing new ad copy. When I checked the ads a couple of hours later, I noticed that some of the new ones hadn’t received any impressions yet (these are high volume ad groups, so that was weird).

On Sunday, I checked again, still no impressions.

Now, on Monday morning they show some impressions, not many yet, so it looks like the ads just went live. That’s almost two days without impressions.

What’s happening here? It looks like the word “download” triggers Google’s manual ad approval now, or at least in some cases. Maybe it depends on a combination with other words?
Investigating a bit further I noticed that my new Book Collector ads (including the line “Download Book Details & Cover Art”) went live right away. But for both my Movie Collector and Music Collector campaigns all new ads had been on hold for two days.

Could it be that any combination of the word “download” with words like “movies” or “music” now gets flagged as possible illegal activities?

Has anyone seen the same effect? I am assuming that many software vendors use the word “download” in their ads, simply because it is an effective call-to-action.

Anyway, I am glad that I had added new ads, insteads of editing my existing ones. Otherwise my ad groups could have gone without any impressions for two whole days. Ouch…

So, here’s my tip for today: Never edit your existing ads, always add new ones. Then when the new one is doing better, delete the old one.

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