Google announced a 3-strikes policy that would effectively suspend ad accounts that have received repeated violations.
The new policy was met with concern from advertisers as the system mistakenly marks ad content as a breach of the policy quite often. There was speculation about the number of ad accounts that could receive undeserved suspensions.
However, Google has some controls in place to ensure that only accounts that have actually violated the policy are penalized.
Let’s dig into what constitutes a strike, how to remove strikes, and how strikes accumulate.
At present, these sanctions only apply to three categories: Activation of dishonest behavior, unauthorized substances and dangerous products or services. These are policies that monitor misleading behavior, hacking services, spyware, drugs, weapons, etc.
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Google plans to roll out this program further in the future, but — for now — the above categories are the only violations that will trigger strikes. There are other categories of violations (such as phishing or misrepresentation) that are already triggering immediate account-level suspensions.
According to a source at Google, wrongful violations that are successfully appealed will result in the removal of the strike. So this means that if your business receives an ad content violation and you can appeal it (without making any changes to the ad), you will not receive a warning as the rejection was not in fact a violation.
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Strikes and timing
The first incident will result in a warning. Then advertisers receive strikes. Each expires within 90 days. So if an advertiser receives a warning and then within 90 days violates the same policy, they will receive a warning. If it has been more than 90 days, they would receive a warning and the process would start all over again.
Once they receive their first alert, the account will be temporarily suspended for 3 days. Regardless of when the warning occurred, if another violation occurs within 90 days of the first strike, then they would receive a second strike, which would result in a 7-day temporary detention.
Finally, if the violation occurred again within 90 days of the second warning (regardless of when the warning or the first warning occurred), the account would be suspended for repeated policy violations.
Remember! If one of these warnings was successfully appealed as incorrectly marked for violation, the strike would be removed and it would not count.