How to Solve Rejected Ad Campaigns and Illegal Custom Text Characters

Ad Campaign Illegal charactersers
Received Amazon AMS Ad Campaign rejections?
Or Custom Text error messages?

You’ve come to the perfect place! 🙂

1) If your ad campaign for Amazon (AMS) Advertising was rejected. And with no clear reason to exactly pinpoint the problem, other than something along these lines:
– Your ad contains inappropriate punctuation or spacing. Please correct any errors such as improper spacing between words (such as “s u m m e r s a l e”), punctuation errors (such as “summer. sale.”), or excessive punctuation marks (such as “!!!”).

– The ad contains special characters that are not alpha-numeric.

– The ad copy contains improper spacing between the words, incorrect punctuation or repetitive punctuation marks (for example, “!!!”).


2) You receive an error message when trying to add keywords to your ad campaign. For example:
– your keyword contains some illegal characters, such as <>()#@^!*.

Illegal Characters for Ad Campaign Custom Text
You might be wondering what on earth these inappropriate/special/improper and illegal characters are!
Hopefully, this brief post will make things a bit clearer. 🙂

Explanation and Solution
On a standard PS/2 101/102-key computer keyboard, there are about 68 characters (from 47 keys) for writing. This number includes the SHIFT key modifications; counting 1/!, 2/£ and 3/ and so on as two characters on the same key.
That’s, 21 of these keys write double-characters with the SHIFT key. So, 47+21 = 68.

Keyboard Keys and Characters for Custom Text

Now, wouldn’t it be more helpful and clearer if someone at Amazon simply listed these 68 typing characters into two camps: appropriate/proper/legal and inappropriate/special/improper/illegal or whatever terminology they prefer.
So that everybody knows precisely which characters are acceptable and which are not when typing their ad copy or Custom Text. Instead of numerous rejection replies that amount to millions of characters.

I say this because, in a single rejection response there were about 196 words and ~ 1,162/1,369 characters (depending on how one counts; no spaces or with space)!
In fact, the rejection ‘reason’ or hint sentence alone contained 44 words (almost the number of typing keys on the keyboard) and circa 210/254 characters.

All this solely to address the problem of just 68 characters?

More Stats
Now multiply those number of words/characters in rejection emails by ~ 2 millions self-published authors/sellers with each author/seller receiving only 10 rejections (I’ve already accumulated half of that in 1-2 years) … and it all adds up to tens of millions, if not more!

I decided to type in all those 68 characters to quickly list them into two groups – acceptable or unacceptable according Amazon AMS’ ad guideline policy.

No more ad rejections, errors or inconvenience to anyone.

a) Letters (27 alphabets): abc-xyz plus & ampersand (as in Baker & Taylor, AT&T, Barnes & Noble …).

b) Punctuation marks (from left to right, then top-down):
Quotation mark , ampersand &, hyphen (joining two words as in three-quarters, seventy-five or self-published), plus sign +, apostrophe (as in McDonald’s etc), full-stop/dot . and question mark ?

2. UNACCEPTABLE (from left to right, then top-down):
Punctuation marks: Exclamation mark !, currency symbols £/$/etc, per cent sign %, caret/cursor ^, asterisk/star *, open parenthesis or round bracket (, close parenthesis or round bracket ), underscore/underbar _, plus sign +, equal sign =, braces or curly brackets { }, square brackets [ ], colon :, semi-colon ;, at sign @, swung dash ~, hash sign #, pipe/vertical bar |, back slash \, smaller-than <, comma (,), greater-than >, forward slash / and extra space/spaces before text, between letters/words or after a word/sentence.

Note: keyword+ will pass, while keyword + will not! Hence, + is listed twice (acceptable and unacceptable).
Quotation marks: acceptable as “keyword” in Custom Text, but not for an ad copy?

Other characters that will cause your ad copy to be rejected by Amazon AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) Advertising include emojis text characters and all sorts of mathematical symbols.

In short, as can be seen from the images, ‘legal’ characters are limited to 26 or 27 alphabet letters, 10 numbers and a few punctuation marks (ampersand, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark and full-stop. Quotation mark/s and plus sign are in the grey area).

47 Keyboard Keys and 68 Characters for Custom Text
Other Custom Text error messages that you’re likely to see when adding your ad campaign keywords include, – Exceeded maximum keyword length of 80 characters which is self-explanatory.

Maximum Keyword Length for Ad Campaign Custom Text

Any feedback, comments or corrections (I’m sure there are some)? Please, share by commenting!

Thanks for reading and sharing.

About the Author

Eng S Jama is an experienced electronics engineer turned an educational tutor and author of Visual Maths Fractions For Visual Learner Folks™, Who Find Text-based Fractions No Fun.

FRACTIONS VISUALLY™ is a VISUAL MATHS FRACTIONS resource For Visual Learner Folks™, Who Find Text-based Fractions No Fun.

That's children who think fractions are no fun and grown-ups who have never found the best visual resources to master basic maths fractions.
Ages 5-11, Grades Kindergarten-5th grader or Year group 1-6 in primary education (infants, elementary and junior schools).

ADDING FRACTIONS STEP-BY-STEP is for students and older learners struggling with adding fractions.
Ages 11-16, Grades 6th-10th grade or Year group 7-11 in secondary education (middle, senior and high schools).

Understanding Fractions Visually
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