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Google Says “3 Strikes and You’re Out!”

baseball player with Google shirt

Most digital advertisers have noticed an uptick in Google updates during June and July. Google has been busy making the internet safer, improving search results, and cleaning up the Google Ads ecosystem. Come this September, Google will be testing something new.

You may have already received the email. Google is introducing a new strike-based policy to combat against repeat offenders that continue to disregard Google Ads policies. This new system will begin to be implemented by September 21, 2021 with a gradual increase over a 3-month period. Coverage will expand as Google adds new policies to this strike-based system over time. Google will send out emails whenever a new policy is added. This system will begin with the familiar ones listed here:

  1. Enabling dishonest behavior policy
  2. Unapproved pharmaceuticals or supplements
  3. Dangerous products or services

Appeal or resolve any warnings

Upon disapproval of an ad for violating any of the above policies, Google will issue a warning and turn off the offending ad. It will remain turned off until it is edited and changed to conform with policy. You will initiate the strike system if your ad continues to violate policy, which will then affect your whole account.

For both first and second strikes, Google will require submission of an acknowledgement form and expect offending ad/s to be corrected.

Strike one

Within 90 days of a warning from Google for a policy violation that you haven’t corrected, you will receive strike one. Google will give you a time out period of three days where none of your ads will run. After this time, your ads will start running again, except for the ad that violates policy.

Strike two

You will receive strike two if you haven’t corrected the first strike ad or if you violate the same policy within 90 days of strike one. Upon receipt of strike two, your account will go into another time out, this time for seven days.

Strike three – You’re out!

If you repeatedly violate the same policy within the next 90-day period, your account will be suspended for an indefinite period of time.

So, get started with those campaigns early. Each time you edit an ad, it goes through an approval process. Editing and activating your ads, even for a short time, will give you insight into what will or not be approved. It will then give you enough time to correct your ad.

​​My experience with Google ads tells me that the average account shouldn’t be affected by this rollout. However, I’m sure more ads than expected will get incorrectly targeted. As advertisers, we know that Google needs to improve their auto-disapproval system to better understand the context of the copy. We’ve had clients’ accounts suspended incorrectly for other violations, i.e., an open house ad for a school suspended for violating Google’s housing policy. This will get even more complicated as more policies are added in the future.

You will be allowed to appeal any strike or warning you receive, so if you haven’t already, get familiar with the appeals process. Working with a digital marketing company that understands Google’s policies will save you from having to worry about fixing any strikes. Remember, Google ads should only be part of your larger digital marketing efforts; don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you need help coming up with a search strategy, give On Target a call at 407-830-4550 ext. 100 or contact us here

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