Google Introduces A Three Strike System For Breaches Of Ad Policy

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Google has announced that from September 2021 onwards, it will be introducing a new strike-based system to enforce action against advertisers who repeatedly violate their ad policies.

Google stated: “We will begin implementing the strike-based system on September 21, 2021, with a gradual ramp up over a period of three months, for the following policies: Enabling dishonest behaviour, unapproved substances, guns, gun parts and related products, explosives, other weapons and tobacco.”

The company also plans to gradually expand its three-strike program after the initial pilot to broaden the scope of policy types.

What Are The Possible Impacts On Advertisers?

Grofuse digital director, Denis Finnegan, said: “The new policy to prevent unsafe or harmful ads from showing on our platforms is welcome. However, advertisers must be extra cautious that their ad campaigns do not reflect any breach, or falsely misinterpreted breach, which could be flagged as inappropriate.

“Google often inappropriately flags ads, and with the introduction of heightened restrictions, this is likely to increase. Falsely flagged advertisements are a significant inconvenience for businesses. This can directly affect e-commerce sales and, in turn, their revenue – particularly if the breach of regulations results in a temporary hold of the account or suspension.

“This could consume additional time spent haggling with Google support to prove that false flags don’t count when the time could be better invested in other advertising activities.”

Google ads policy

How Advertisers Can Mitigate The Impacts Of The Three Strike Policy

Mr Finnegan continued: “I would advise those that are structuring PPC campaigns to be extra mindful of display ad imagery and text that could potentially be misconstrued as inappropriate content under the new policies.

“I also suggest creating future ads now, to get them approved in advance and pause the campaigns so that they are accepted before the stricter policies are implemented.

“Fortunately for advertisers, strikes they believe were inappropriately applied can be appealed – successful appeals do not count towards the three-strike limit.”

Breakdown of Google’s Three Strike System

Type Trigger Penalty
Warning The first instance of ad content violating our enabling dishonest behaviour, unapproved substances and dangerous products or services policies No penalties beyond the removal of the relevant ads
First Strike Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a warning within 90 days The account will be placed on a temporary hold for three days, during which ads will not be eligible to run
Second Strike Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a first strike within 90 days of the first strike The account will be placed on a temporary hold for seven days, during which ads will not be eligible to run. This will serve as the last and final notice for the advertiser to avoid account suspension
Third Strike Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a second strike within 90 days of the second strike Account suspension for repeat violation of our policies

Source: Google

Strikes will expire after 90 days and Google has systems in place to prevent advertisers from outsmarting its policies, for example, creating new accounts to avoid a suspension.

Do you need expert assistance with your Google ads and navigating the ever-changing policies? Contact Grofuse for a free consultation today: NI/GB +44 2871 228820 or ROI +353 1 247 5294. Alternatively, email: hello@grofuse.com

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