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Google’s new ad penalties: 3 Strikes you’re out!

Google clarifies ad disapprovals, amidst growing confusion

Various week-to-week challenges make online marketing a drag, but over the past 18 months, the tyranny of ad disapprovals has become numero uno for many.

And, for some, that pain is about to get a whole lot worse.

Google Ads will adapt a new ad policy that will have serial offenders quaking in their boots. From September 2021, a three-strike pilot program will punish accounts that frequently violate its policies.

According to a Google Ads Help announcement, ad policies prevent ‘unsafe or harmful ads from showing’ – and now the internet giant is cracking down.

The new update is also expected to be rolled out more broadly across other Google policies, impacting all advertisers in time.

Brett Kline, Google Product Manager

In the future, we plan to expand the strikes system in phases to scope more of our policies in. As we roll the program out globally, we hope to learn from early feedback to ensure we’re improving the process as we scale.”

A big policy crackdown

Ads that promote the initial behaviours and products are already banned – so nothing new there – but Google must be getting sick to the back teeth of repeat offenders so it decided enough is enough.

Basically, this is the digital equivalent of your Mum counting down from five to zero as she orders you to make your bed.

However, the news has been met with some concern among marketers who feel accounts incorrectly punished could be suspended. Luckily for them, Google has placed some checks and balances into the process, and there is an appeal system in place.

Google’s three-strike system is more of a four strike system in reality, as accounts will receive a warning at the first instance of ad content violating the mentioned policy. The penalty? A removal of relevant ads. After that, things begin to get a little more serious.

  • First strike. A first strike is triggered when an account violates the same policy for which a warning has been received in the last 90 days.
    • The punishment? A temporary hold on the account of three days, during which ads will not be eligible to run.
  • Second strike. A second strike is triggered when an account violates the same policy for which it received its first strike within 90 days of receiving the first strike.
    • The punishment? An account hold of seven days, during which ads will not be eligible to run.
  • Third strike. A third strike is triggered when an account violates the same policy for which it received a second strike within 90 days of the second strike.
    • The punishment? Account suspension!

The review system

Accounts punished by these new rules can seek solace in Google’s review system, which reviews adverts to make sure they comply with Google Ads policy. It works like this:

  1. The review process starts automatically after an ad is created, edited or extended.
  2. Ad content is reviewed; this includes headline, description, keywords, destination and images and video.
  3. Ads that pass the review will see its status changed to eligible. They will then start to run.
  4. Ads that don’t will see their status changed to disapproved, which means it can’t be shown anywhere.

Most ads are reviewed within one business day, but some may take longer. If an ad is under review for more than two business days, Google invites users to contact them for more information.

Users can also check the review status of their ads.

  1. Sign into your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Ads & extensions from the page menu.
  3. Look at the ‘status’ column to see your ad or extension status – hover over each one to find a more detailed explanation of what its status means.

To find more detailed policy information or check the status of a paused ad, enable the ‘policy details’ in the table.

  1. Visit the Ads & extensions page in your Google Ads account.
  2. Click on the column icon above the stats table, then click ‘modify columns.’
  3. In the attributes section, you’ll find policy details. Click the checkbox.
  4. Click apply.

Don’t worry; there is an appeals process

If you think Google has messed up and given you a strike for an advert that doesn’t go against policy, you can appeal that decision.

  1. From ads & extensions, select the ad you want to appeal.
  2. Go to the menu and select edit.
  3. Click ‘appeal.’
  4. Under ‘reasons for appealing’, click on ‘dispute decision’ or ‘make changes’ to comply with policy.
  5. Under ‘appeal the following’, select which ads you want to appeal.
  6. Click submit.

You can also appeal via an ads ‘status’ column. Go there, and follow the same steps.

Fix a rejected ad

If your advert is rejected, you can fix it.

  1. Go to the ads and extensions page.
  2. In the ‘status’ column you’ll see ‘disapproved or eligible (limited).’
  3. Hover over its status to see which policy it violates.
  4. Click read the policy to learn how to fix your ad.
  5. Click the pencil icon to edit your ad.
  6. Edit the ad or extension so it complies with policy.
  7. Click save.
  8. Your ad will be reviewed again.

So there we have it. Be good Google citizens, or you could find yourself in internet jail forever! However, should Google find your ads to violate policy, there are ways you can help yourself out of the mess.

Which is nice of them.

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