Can you promote Diet and Fitness products in AdWords?

Weight Loss
Weight Loss

Some of the most profitable affiliate products come from the Diet & Fitness niche, also known as the Health & Fitness niche. While few affiliates create a small fortune from promoting Diet products, Health supplement, Fake Viagra etc. most marketers who tried promoting these products in AdWords, found themselves getting slapped and banned for life. Why? How did the Health & Fitness products gain such a bad reputation, so AdWords has decided to ban the whole niche?

Let’s start with the basics and try to understand what are the main problems in the Health & Fitness niche. This is actually based on hard data I received from one of my Google reps.

It is important to know that  ”officially” Google has no issue with promoting Health & Fitness products. The famous Google slaps came from the behavior of the marketers themselves, the false claims on the websites and from the low quality of the products. While is was safe to do it in the first years, along the way, the number of websites, products, and affiliates violating AdWords terms create such a situation that Google has decided to question the Health and Fitness industry and slap almost all of them. Until recently, the situation was quite different, and websites were getting slapped only on an individual basis. However, the situation has changed and now it is harder and harder to generate AdWords traffic to any diet related website, unless you work hand-by-hand with your Google Rep, pre-approve your products and fully comply with AdWords terms and conditions.

That is, unless you make a great effort to fully comply with AdWords terms and prevent affiliates from sending traffic to your website, you will most likely find yourself getting the finger from AdWords, sooner or later. However, the ones who pay for AdWords protection can still benefit from a great source of PPC traffic, while many other products are no longer able to advertise in Google and benefit from amazing ROI.

So check your product to see if you are violating one or more of the known issues below:

The main issues Google has with the Diet and Fitness niches are coming from Landing Page Quality / Site Quality (on the website/product side) and Marketing Misbehavior (on the affiliates side).

Landing Page Quality / Site Quality violation usually comes from: Misleading text, Unrealistic promises, Unverifiable and inaccurate claims, Unclear billing, Lack of contact information or fake identity of the product owner, Poor support, Bridge pages / mirroring / framing – in affiliate sites, Information harvesting etc…

To the list i would like to add a known problem with the video on the LP. Google tend to believe that any long video should come with internal navigation, an option to pause, stop, restart etc. Since this cuts conversion rate, many websites prefer not to allow it, but then again, it might as well raise a ‘red flag’, so you better adapt to it now

Affiliate misbehavior, usually refer to activities that create a false picture of reality, similar to the landing page quality issues mention above. Affiliate misbehavior is a wide-spread problem that it common in all sorts of ads: BannersText Adspop-up/underexit pages etc. Any violation in a single ad can trigger a process which might result in a slap and a life-time ban from AdWords. Not only the text can put you in trouble, but the images and the over whole message.  For example, a banner that shows a women losing more than a third of her weight (as the picture above), is triggering the same reaction as a written promise to lose that weight, so AdWords can see it as a violation of their terms.

Read more in AdWords policy explained.

On the bright side, Google claims that as long as the product is good, the website is not misleading, the information is verified, the site is a not an affiliate site, full of added value to the users, there’s no reason it wouldn’t be allowed to advertise in AdWords. However, based on my own and my partner’s experience, you can expect to be double-checked for violations, more than websites in other niches.

The bottom-line is very simple. True, it might be very hard to approve health and fitness products, however, if a Google Rep has pre-approved you, there is temporary green light to generate huge income, due to lack of competition. Your best practice is to create a real value to the visitor, build a very good website with a proven program and then work with Google to approve it, even before you publish it. Never the less, since the people who pre-approve websites (Google Reps) and the ones that check for violations work in different teams, problems might come along the way. Never the less, a friendly Google Rep will then try to help you, so make friend with your Rep!

Another important point is to avoid from working with many affiliates, since you must supervise each one and one of them, to prevent misbehavior such as inaccurate text ads, misleading banners, false statements on the LP’s etc. Your best practice might be working with few super affiliates that run their own websites and a white-label copy of your product. Read more about White label and White lists.

But then again, if you are in the Health and Fitness niche, you should always keep developing your media buying skills, just in case…

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