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Google: Three Strikes and You’re Out!

Advertisers Strike Out with Google?

Google starts calling balls and strikes in September 2021. Any advertisers who run afoul of Google’s published advertising standards will receive strikes against their ad account. If they get enough strikes, they get called out of the game. These punitive measures are aimed toward advertisers who repeatedly violate their Google Ads policies. Starting in September Google will begin a three-month ramp-up of policies covering issues like enabling dishonest behavior, unapproved substances, gun-related products, explosives, other weapons, and tobacco, to name most of them. 

Google’s enforcement will include strikes that are issued to advertisers, accompanied by an email and in-account notifications to enforce compliance. While the first offense comes with a warning, any additional violations will take effect after the first strike. Punitive measures increase with each additional violation. The first and second strikes are three days and seven days account suspension respectively. A third strike means the advertiser’s account is fully suspended and requires formal petitioning to get it reinstated.  Strikes can be appealed if advertisers do not think they committed any violations. Suspended advertisers can choose to do nothing and serve 90 days before being able to advertise again. 

Read more about Google’s three-strike policy here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10957124 

Some Marketing Professionals are Concerned

For many PPC practitioners, Google’s new three-strike policy has their support, but with one caveat: they want assurances that enforcement is evenhanded and the appeals process is efficient. According to Amalia Fowler, director of marketing at Snaptech Marketing, “I want to be clear that the policies aren’t the issue, it’s the unequal and sometimes plain incorrect application of the policy,” she said. “It’s the fact that an account where I have previously appealed multiple times still gets flagged for the same reason . . . If I trusted the appeal process to be smooth or that repeat flags wouldn’t occur, I would not be as worried as I am.” 

Fowler is not alone in this concern, as Cultivative owner, Amy Bishop pointed out, “Two of my clients were disapproved for unapproved substances and dangerous products earlier this year… [We] got a good chuckle out of it, considering one of them is in the event management SaaS space and the other was in the CPG space.” “She did note that both cases were eventually cleared up.”

While many PPC professionals encountered frustration with Google’s new policy, many were still able to find humor and entertainment out of the ordeal: 

Google teams seem undeterred by the negative chatter from advertisers and agencies. Ginny Marvin, ads product liaison at Google, tweeted “I assure you, there’s no drinking during ad reviews :), in response to a comment jesting the Google Ad team’s sobriety during their screening process. This can be troubling as advertisers are what make up a large portion of Google’s revenue. 

Images from searchengineland.com

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