September 9, 2021

What is Google’s 3-strike policy and what does it mean for small business advertisers?

This month, on September 21st, Google plans to roll out a new strike-based system, which it will enforce against advertisers who repeatedly violate Google Ad policies. The three policies are:

Enabling dishonest behaviour

This includes businesses or individuals that provide fake documents (such as fake IDs or passports), hacking services, products used to track a person without their knowledge, and more. Get the full list here.

Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements

Google lists the specific substances and pharmaceuticals they’re referring to here but they include things like Natural Viagra and some slimming products.

Explosives, other weapons, and tobacco

This includes products that are meant to cause damage to people or property, guns (including airsoft and BB-guns), switchblades, pepper sprays and more. You can view the full list here.

If your business does not involve products related to the services outlined then you should have nothing to worry about, although Google says it plans to roll out more policies in the future so it’s important to stay on top of latest updates to ensure your ads are fully compliant.

How does the Google 3-strike system work? 

If Google finds a business that is advertising has violated its policies then it will issue a strike. Get three strikes and you’re out, or at least your account will be suspended.

The good news is that Google will issue a warning prior to a business receiving its first strike – this will be via an email and an in-account notification. The advert in question will also be removed. If the warning is ignored, then the first strike is issued and your account will be put on temporary hold (meaning you can’t post ads) for three days.

Continued violation will result in a second strike and 7-day temporary hold on your account, followed by a third strike, which immediately suspends your account for 90 days, unless you successfully appeal (and this is not easy).

What to do if you get a strike

If you receive a warning or strike you’ll need to make some adjustments so your account is no longer in violation of Google’s policy and avoid account suspension.

Google will only implement a strike when the same policy is violated more than once so with some tweaks, you can avoid the strikes piling up – it’s worth consulting a digital marketeer as they should have experience in what sort of amendments work better.

You can of course appeal a strike at any point and, if successful, your account will begin running ads immediately. However, an appeal can be a lengthy and often difficult process so it’s better to avoid getting one altogether.

How do I avoid getting a strike? 

If your business offers products or services that you feel might fall under the policies Google has included as part of its 3-strike system, then it’s a good idea to get your account in order prior to the new rules coming into play on September 21st.

It’s well worth doing a complete audit of your account and remove any words or images that could be picked up by Google’s automated review system.

Need help? The experts at Air Social can perform a full digital audit to ensure your business accounts are compliant. Click here or contact us on 01483 789434.

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