In July 2021 Google released a blog post titled "Updates to enforcement procedures for repeat violations (July 2021)". These updates clarify how repeated policy violators are going to be treated. Today we'll explain what this update means for advertisers.
How the system works
Let's look at the sequence of events and actions from an advertiser and Google.
An advertiser's first policy violation will only result in a warning.
if Google detects continued violations of the policy, an advertiser gets their first strike, and the account is put on a 3-days hold.
An advertiser is required to fix the violations and to submit an acknowledgement form. Once done, their account will be released from the hold state 3 days after the first strike.
if Google continues to detect violations of the policy, an advertiser gets their second strike, and an account is put on a 7-days hold.
Once the advertiser fixes the violations, the account will be released from the hold state 7 days after the second strike.
If Google detects yet more violations, the advertiser gets the 3rd strike, their account is suspended.
Here's a few more details regarding this system:
- This system initially covers 7 policies. More policies will be added.
- Egregious policy violations are not impacted by this system. That means the accounts with unlawful violations will be suspended immediately and without warning, just like before
- Strikes remain on Google Ads account for 90 days before they expire, similar to the credit history in the US.
- Strikes can be appealed. Successfully appealed strikes are removed from the system and don't count.
- Strikes will be accompanied by email notifications and in-account notifications to encourage compliance and deter repeat policy violations.
This was how the system works. Now let's look at how serious is this
How serious is this
Now let's look at how serious is this.
I don't see any additional requirements introduced. I only see stricter enforcement of existing requirements, and also Google clearly explains how repeated violations are counted.
If anything, this document adds transparency to the Google's already existing processes.
A word about suspended accounts
The 3rd strike leads to a suspended account and should be avoided at all costs. Let's talk about suspended accounts.
A suspended advertiser can not set up or use other accounts.
Accounts related to suspended account can not be reused, for example:
- Accounts using the same email
- Accounts using the same payment method
- Accounts linked to the same manager account
An account suspension can be appealed.
Thoughts and recommendations
Here are my thoughts about the Google's July 2021 update.
While no additional requirements are added, it's going to be harder to get away with violations. I don't see any workarounds either.
I offer the same old advice: do everything by the book, follow best practices, and you will be OK.
Plan your ads and the feed to minimize account downtimes and avoid suspensions.
And finally, watch regularly the Merchant Center diagnostics area for errors, and fix them quickly.