Google Ads Announces ‘Three Strike’ System for Policy Violations

Last week, Google Ads announced a new ‘three-strike’ system to discourage advertisers from repeatedly violating its policies. According to an article posted to Google Ads Help Center by Product Manager Brett Kline, the system seeks to bolster Google’s commitment to ‘creating a trustworthy ad experience for users, advertisers and publishers.’ The system will be piloted starting in September.

The primary goal is to crack down on ads that violate ‘Enabling Dishonest Behavior,’ ‘Unapproved Substances,’ and ‘Dangerous Products or Services’ policies, including ads that promote deceptive behaviour or products, such as the creation of false documents, hacking services, or spyware, and ads for drugs, tobacco, and weapons, as well as other types of content.

Whenever an advertiser repeatedly violates a policy within a certain timeframe, they will be subject to escalating punishments.

For a first offence, the advertiser will receive a warning and the ad will be removed. A second offence within 90 days of the warning will result in a ‘first strike’ and a three-day account hold, during which time they will not be able to run ads. An additional violation within 90 days of the first strike will result in a second strike, and a seven-day account hold. An additional violation within 90 days of the second strike will result in an account suspension.

“Our goals are to increase accountability for advertisers and to also encourage them to learn more about our advertising policies to prevent future violations,” read Kline’s post. “… In the future, we plan to expand the strikes system in phases to scope more of our policies in. As we roll the program out globally, we hope to learn from early feedback to ensure we’re improve the process as we scale.”

As a Google Ads Partner digital marketing and search engine marketing agency, GrowthEngine Media supports all efforts to reduce the volume of unsafe advertising on the internet. If you have questions about how your campaign could be affected, feel free to contact us today.


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