The first and most important thing you need to realize is that Google only cares about your business if it helps its business. For them, it is very often easier, quicker, and safer to strike down an advertiser – they have millions of them and lose them for good in order to keep brands, product owners, policy makers and its users happy.
It’s never personal.
Now, once we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about Google’s strike system, ad policy, and the most recent changes.
A short overview of Google’s ad policy
To ensure a safe advertising space, Google prohibits or limits advertising certain categories of products and bans using some manipulative advertising techniques. It also wants their advertisers to maintain some technical standards in their ads.
What happens if you violate their policy?
There are two ways Google can handle this:
- Google strike policy
- Immediate account suspension for egregious violation.
The first course of action will be updated this June. The update won’t affect policies behind immediate account suspension.
How a strike-based system works
Google uses algorithms and people for evaluating your campaign’s content and its adherence to Google’s ad policy. If one of those systems detects that you have violated (not severely – this will result in an instant suspension) it, the compliance team will do the following things in order:
- Warning. A warning email will instruct you to adjust your campaign. It will not have other consequences.
- First strike. Your account will be temporarily suspended for 3 days if you violate the same policy after a warning. You will still have access to your account, reporting data but your ads will not run. The suspension will not be lifted automatically after these 3 days. You will have to acknowledge that you have committed a strike first, fill out a special form and fix your campaign.
- Second strike. Your account will be temporarily suspended for 7 days if you violate the same policy within 90 days of getting the first strike. Again, you will maintain access to your account but your campaigns will be paused. The suspension will not be lifted automatically after these 7 days. You will have to again acknowledge that you have violated their policy, fill up a special form and fix your campaign.
- Third strike. This results in a permanent account suspension for violations within 90 of getting a second strike.
You can appeal at any stage if you think that Google’s objections have no merit.
Update to Google strike policy
Google strike policy was introduced in September 2021, and it concerned the following policies:
- enabling dishonest behavior
- unapproved substances
- guns, gun parts and related products
- other weapons
The most recent update will gradually roll-out over 3 months starting June 2022. It will add the following policies:
- Compensated sexual acts
- Mail-order brides
- Misleading ad design
- Bail bond services
- Call directories, forwarding, and recording services
- Credit repair services
- Binary options
- Personal loans
Check your campaigns if they fall under any of these categories.
The first rule is: be compliant
We at Voluum always encourage users to read and understand ad platforms’ compliance policies. There are no winners in trying to beat the system and there’s plenty of money to be made in allowed categories.
Google has other policies that need to be followed. Apart from running compliant ads and using allowed policies, you also need to fulfill their policy on remarketing, and. If you are using this feature, on customer match.
Voluum and Google Ads
One of the policies that you have to meet is the one that prohibits changing where your ad leads visitors on the fly. This makes one of the common methods of tracking – a redirect one – non-compliant. Sending visitors through a tracking domain is often considered policy violation.
Luckily, Voluum has another method of tracking that is 100% compliant with Google. It is called ‘direct method of tracking’ and it works using scripts.
What is awesome about this is that you can use Voluum in all its glory: rotate offers (when you direct visitors to a landing page first), track third party offers with postbacks and then pass conversion information back to Google, use vast automation features and so on.
This is hitting a lot of birds with one precise stone.
Smart tracking and analytics
Circling back to the original point: Google needs to protect its business. If you care about yours, you should follow their policy to the letter and respond to any warnings or strikes they may have.
Slip-ups happen. The idea of a strike policy is to give you a chance to fix your advertising. Unless you commit a serious offense, you can test what will pass on Google and work on your audience.
Be mindful of all ad platforms’ policies and track smartly with Voluum.