Google Introduces New Google Ads Strike Policy

Three strikes and you are out. This will be the norm for repeat violators of a new Google Ads policy. Google is instituting the new policy to ensure that its PPC marketing program continually supports safe, appropriate, and truthful adverts. In a statement released on July 28, 2021, the company said it will first pilot the novel policy program with three of its current policies. However, it plans to expand it to more policy types later on.

Google is tightening the noose around its naughty list

Starting September 2021, Google Ads will begin piloting a new 3-strikes policy, which will effectively suspend advertising accounts that continually receive violations. The three specific policies that Google targets for the new policy will not come as a surprise if you are already familiar with Google Ads disapprovals. They are:

  1. Enabling dishonest behavior policy. This includes products or services that assist other people to have unauthorized access to property, devices, or systems, help in misleading others, or monitor and track other people without their consent
  2. Unapproved pharmaceuticals or supplements. This includes unregulated weight-loss and ephedra drugs, as well as anabolic steroids
  3. Dangerous products or services. This includes products that can be used to cause grievous harm, damage, or injury to others, such as guns, and their accessories, or explosives and their manufacturing essentials or information, drugs, and tobacco

How will the Google Ads three-strikes system work?

While the limits on what you can advertise using Google Ads have been existent for a long period, the new policy to crack down on repeat offenders after three strikes will be a first.

Here is how the policy will work:

  1. Initial warning. Google will first issue a warning when an ad account violates any of its Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements, and Dangerous Products or Services policies.
  2. First strike. This will occur after an advertiser repeats an offense that Google Ads already warned them about within the last 90 days.
  3. Second strike. This will occur when an advertiser who already received a first strike repeats the violation that triggered the first strike before 90 days are over.
  4. Third strike. If, within 90 days of receiving their second strike, an advertiser repeats the violation that triggered that second strike, they will receive a third and final strike.

Google will use email and in-account notifications to notify advertisers of strikes against their accounts. The company also explained that it will notify advertisers of any new policies it introduces to the 3-strike program.

What are the penalties for violating Google Ads’ new 3-strike policy? 

Each of the three strikes comes with an increasingly stringent penalty to a point of account suspension.

When you first violate any of the policies stipulated by Google and get a warning, no penalty will follow. You will only have to remove the relevant ads. However, subsequent violations will attract the following consequences:

  • First strike. Google Ads will place your account on a temporary hold for up to three days. During that period, you will not be allowed to run any ads.
  • Second strike. Google Ads will place the account on temporary hold for a period of seven days, during which you will not be able to run any ads. You should note that this will act as your last and final notice before your account is suspended.
  • Third strike. Google Ads will suspend your account for repeated violations of its policies.

The only way to remove your account from the temporary hold is by fixing your violations and filling out an acknowledgment form. This will see your ads resume after the temporary period is over. Otherwise, your account will stay in the temporary hold status.

However, Google does offer ad account holders a chance to appeal its strike decisions. If the appeal goes through, the account will be released from temporary hold immediately and the ads will resume. That strike will also not count. During a successful appeal, you do not have to edit or remove your ad, since it truly did not violate Google Ads policies.

When will Google Ads implement the strikes system?

Google will start testing the new strikes policy on September 21, 2021. It will then ramp up the pilot program gradually for three months. Currently, at least until September 21, 2021, the process of ad approval will have zero changes.

Like with any other test program, unprecedented results could cause the new system to be rescinded. However, Google sounds optimistic that this program will become permanent:

How to prepare for Google Ads 3-strike policy program

If you are in the dark about how to start your September advertising efforts, worry no more. Here are some recommendations for how to prepare yourself for the three strike policy, whether your account is at risk or not:

Appeal or resolve any outstanding disapprovals

Use this time to review any disapprovals that your account still has. Take some time to also sweep through your past adverts and appeal or make appropriate changes to ensure you have no disapproved content when September arrives. This will especially be beneficial if Google applies the three-strike rule to other policies in the future.

Verify that your website or account does not have any potentially triggering content

Rather than having headaches, later on, you can double-check your digital assets right now for anything that could put you in trouble. While it may be easy to get an incorrect disapproval, your focus should be on what you can control. Remove or change any image or verbiage that is even remotely linked to the three policies.

If you have any doubts about it, it’s probably best to change or remove it.

If possible, roll out your new content before the 3-strike policy takes effect

This way, you have plenty of time to check whether those advertisements have content that violates the three policies without getting penalized. You can even test out your pending campaigns to save yourself the trouble when September comes. If there is anything that can be flagged wrongly, you will also have plenty of time to appeal it.

Set up advertising on other channels

With Google building a concrete policy framework, it is evident that relying on a single marketing channel can be catastrophic. An automated disapproval process can leave the bots misunderstanding your ad context.

When the temporary suspensions come – or worse, a suspension – you will sit tight as you resolve your Google issues, knowing that another channel is still pushing your brand awareness.

DON’T create a backup account now or after you are suspended

You could never be more wrong if you thought that creating a new account would help you work around a Google Ads suspension. Google, like the smart company it is, already thought of everything. The company has systems in place to detect egregious policy breaches, such as attempting to outmaneuver its penalties by creating new accounts.

The takeaway

Google has clearly outlined the actions and penalties associated with its upcoming 3-strike policy. Even though the program will be piloted on the Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements, and Dangerous Products or Services policies, it is likely to take effect on other policy types after some time. It might be impossible to stay up to date with such and other policies that could seriously affect your advertising efforts. This is why you need a dedicated and reliable IT partner like 4it.

We serve the entire South Florida area, offering strategic IT support to keep your business running efficiently. Contact our team today to know more about how our services integrate into your company’s unique industry.

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