Google introducing strike-based system

28 August 2021 - Hannah Dillon

Google introducing strike-based system

Ever heard of the term ‘three strikes and you’re out’? Of course, you have! But don’t be fooled this has nothing to do with baseball, but it has everything to do with Google Ads. As of September 2021, Google Ads will be adapting the very effective baseball penalising system, in which accounts will be penalised if they repeatedly violate Google ad’s policies. This ‘pilot program’ is marking the start of a change in Google’s tolerance for ad policy violations in regards to the violations of its ‘Enabling Dishonest Behaviour’, ‘Unapproved Substances’ and ‘Dangerous Products or Services’ policies. If an account is caught violating Google’s policies, they’ll receive a warning, but every offense after that the strike will become stricter:

Warning: This is issued at the first instance of ad content violating the ‘Enabling Dishonest Behaviour’, ‘Unapproved Substances’ and ‘Dangerous Products or Services policies.’ There are no penalties to the account other than the removal of the ad/s that are in violation.

First strike: A violation, within 90 days, of the same policy that the account was given a warming about. This will result in the account will be placed on a temporary hold for three days, and during this time no ads can run.

Second strike: Violation of the same policy, within 90 days of the first strike, will result in the account will be placed on a temporary hold for seven days. During which, once again no ads will be able to run.

Third strike: Finally, a violation of the same policy, within 90 days of the second strike will result in the account to be suspended for repeat violation of the policies.

So, what does this strike system mean for advertisers? The answer is not a great deal. Given that advertisers adhere to Google Ad’s policies, this system is mainly aimed at repeated offenders. However, with that being said, mistakes can happen both on the advertisers and/or on Google’s end. Therefore, advertisers should ensure they have custom alerts set up for any disapproved/flagged ads. If there is a mistake, there is the option to request an ad review. So, while your September ad copy, landing pages, images, ad extensions, etc are being reviewed by Google’s new policy there are a couple things to keep in mind, that might ease any stresses moving forward. If you ever receive a strike or warning, an email will be sent to you notifying you of the violation. So, don’t worry, there’s no chance of you waking up one morning and finding your account suspended, you’ll have plenty of notice. In saying that all warnings and strikes expire after 90 days, in this time you can appeal. But even if you decide against appealing, once 90 days have passed, given there are no new violations, your record is wiped clean. Additionally, strikes occur only when the same policy is violated more than once.

So how should you prepare for this new three-strike system? Firstly, as stated before, setting up a custom alert, if you haven’t already, it’s a great way to prepare. Secondly, if your account has any outstanding disapproved ads, best to get them resolved. Lastly, comb through your account for any content that could potentially be triggered, wouldn’t be too fun to start of your September with a warning! Although, this new policy may cause advertisers to be more cautious moving forward, it’s nothing to fear. Hopefully, this system will be a step in the right direction to preventing repeated offenders and may even work to minimise wrongfully flagged ads. It will be interesting to see this system is implemented and the effectiveness of it.

Photo by Arthur Osipyan on Unsplash

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