Google announced it would initiate a new strike-based policy to punish advertisers who continually violate its ads policies. According to an official statement from the tech giant, the new strike-based system would take effect on 21 September 2021. However, there will be a gradual ramp up over a period of three months for specific policies. They include policies on Tobacco, Explosives, Enabling dishonest behavior, Guns, Gun Parts, and related products, Unapproved substances, and Other Weapons.
According to Google officials, the organization plans to expand the policy scope of the strike-based system over the coming years to include additional policies in phases. Google will notify advertisers every time they incorporate new policies within the coverage of the strike-based system. Google further reiterated that the policy does not impact the account suspension protocols for gross Google Ads policy violations.
Google requires advertisers to comply with its Ads policies to help ensure a safe and positive user experience. So, as a part of the tech guru’s Ads enforcement system, Google plans to begin issuing strikes to advertisers who repeatedly violate those terms. The strikes will come alongside in-account warnings and email notifications to promote policy compliance and discourage repeat violations of Google Ad policies.
When an advertiser registers the first policy violation, they will only get a warning. But if the advertiser continues with the violation afterward, they’ll earn the first strike. According to Google, advertisers will get up to three strikes, with the penalties applied for each strike progressively increasing.
To be precise, the first and second strikes will attract temporary account holds for between 3 to 7 days, respectively. However, the third strike will attract an account suspension. Suppose an advertiser is placed on a temporary account hold. In that case, they will be required to rectify the violations in question and submit an acknowledgment form to Google to resume serving ads. After this acknowledgment, the advertiser’s account will be released from the temporary hold state within three days or seven days after the first strike or second strike was issued, respectively.
Additionally, advertisers can appeal a strike decision if they have reasons to believe it was issued in error. After successfully appealing the strike, ads will resume serving immediately. However, if the advertiser takes no action to acknowledge or appeal the labeled strike, the account will remain in a temporary hold status for up to 90 days in the Google Ads account. Furthermore, accounts suspended after a third strike will not be able to run ads or create new content unless the advertiser successfully appeals to the action.
Google will issue warnings and strikes for violations of its policies such as Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Dangerous Products or Services, and Unapproved Substances policies. This encompasses ads promoting deceptive products or behaviors, such as the creation of false documents, spyware and hacking services, as well as drugs, tobacco, and weapons, among other types of content.
According to Google, the primary goal of enacting these policies is to create a healthy digital advertising ecosystem that is transparent and trustworthy and works for advertisers, users, and publishers. The purpose of the Google Ad help center is to help advertisers build Ads campaigns that align with Google advertising policies. Some of the provisions of the Google ads policies include:
Some of the named prohibited content includes:
• Counterfeit goods: Google Ads prohibits the promotion or sale of goods containing a logo or trademark identical or indistinguishable from another.
• Dangerous products or services: Advertisers are not allowed to promote products or services that could cause damage, harm, or injury. They include recreational drugs, weapons, explosive materials, etc.
• Enabling dishonest behavior such as hacking software or instructions, fake documents, or academic cheating services.
• Inappropriate content such as shocking content or content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence, or discrimination.
One example of prohibited practices is abusing the ad network. Google expects its Ad Network to be useful, relevant, varied, and safe for users. Additionally, advertisers are prohibited from running content, ads, or destinations that attempt to circumvent or trick the Google ad review processes.
For example, you should never promote content that contains malware through cloaking or other techniques to hide the real destination that users are directed to or arbitrage (promoting destinations for the primary purpose of showing ads.
Additionally, advertisers are prohibited from the following practices:
• Non-transparent data collection and use
• Restricted content and features
• Promoting sexual content
• Promoting alcohol
• Copyright violation
• Promoting gambling and games
• Political content
Healthcare and Medicine
Google is dedicated to compliance with advertising regulations for healthcare and medicine. Such ads and destinations must follow prevailing laws and industry standards. Typically, some healthcare-related content cannot be advertised at all, while others may only be advertised by advertisers certified with Google and targeted only in approved countries.
Other than the Google advertising policies, advertisers are responsible for ensuring that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations for all of the locations where the ads are showing. In the future, Google Ads plans to extend the scope of the policy to include more policy types and eventually roll out the program globally.
Overall, the new ad policy pilot program gives clear actions and consequences for advertisers. As Google tests this program for the Unapproved Substances, Enabling Dishonest Behavior, and Dangerous Products or Services policies, it will likely roll out other policy areas over the coming year. While the initial warning gives advertisers the benefit of the doubt, more stringent penalties will follow after that. However, it’s also possible that the penalties could be too harsh for advertisers whose ads are mistakenly flagged as violations when they’re not. Fortunately, Google provides a window to appeal strikes.
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