It’s called three strikes you’re out – Google has instituted new penalties to get advertisers’ attention to policy violations.
Our concern is the number of false positives that we routinely see and the difficulty in resolving these issues due to the inability to just pick up the phone and chat to a Googler. Since Covid, Google now has an “ask for a call” option. It appears that support is now based in India. Many times the return calls we get are marked as No Mo Robo calls and are blocked by Verizon after one ring.
Management of this new program will be problematic. Here’s just one example – a client sells trailer hitches. Images are frequently marked as violations as Google thinks the image of the trailer hitch looks like a gun.
Here’s the full release that Google has sent to advertisers and account managers.
In September 2021, Google will introduce a new strike-based system to enforce against advertisers who repeatedly violate Google Ads policies. We will begin implementing the strike-based system on Sep 21, 2021, with a gradual ramp up over a period of 3 months, for the following policies: Enabling dishonest behavior, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons, and Tobacco. The policy coverage of the strike-based system will be expanded to add additional policies in phases over time and advertisers will be notified each time new policies are brought within scope of the strike-based system.
Please note that this update does not impact the account suspension procedures for egregious Google Ads policy violations.
To help ensure a safe and positive experience for users, Google requires advertisers to comply with Google Ads policies. As a part of the Google Ads enforcement system, Google will begin issuing strikes to advertisers, which will be accompanied by email notifications and in-account notifications to encourage compliance and deter repeat violations of our policies.
An advertiser’s first policy violation will only result in a warning. But advertisers will earn their first strike if we detect continued violation of our policies. Advertisers will be able to receive a maximum of three strikes, and the penalties applied with each strike will progressively increase. Temporary account holds will be applied for the first and second strikes (for 3 and 7 days respectively), while the third strike will result in an account suspension.
An advertiser placed on a temporary account hold will be required to remedy the violations in question and to submit an acknowledgement form to resume serving ads. Following this acknowledgement, their account will be released from the temporary account hold state either 3 days after the first strike was issued, or after 7 days for a second strike. Advertisers can also appeal a strike decision if they believe it was issued in error. Ads will resume serving immediately after successfully appealing the strike. Accounts will remain on temporary hold if no action is taken by the advertiser to either acknowledge or appeal a strike. Strikes will remain on the Google Ads account for 90 days unless they’re successfully appealed.
Accounts suspended following a third strike will not be able to run any ads or create new content unless the suspension is successfully appealed. Learn more about suspended accounts.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The Google Ads Team