Google announced a 3-strike policy that would effectively suspend ad violations that have received repeated violations.
The new policy was met with concern from advertisers as the system incorrectly marks ad content as a policy violation quite often. There was speculation about the number of ad accounts that could receive undeserved suspensions.
However, Google has some controls and balances in place to try to ensure that only accounts that have actually violated policy are penalized.
Let’s dig into what constitutes a strike, how to remove strikes, and how strikes accumulate.
So far, 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 infringement (such as phishing or deception) that are already triggering instant 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 are able to appeal it (without making any changes to the ad), you will not receive a strike as the rejection was not really 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 strike. If it has been more than 90 days, they will receive a warning and the process will start again.
Once they have received their first strike, the account is temporarily placed for 3 days. Regardless of when the warning occurred, if a second violation occurs within 90 days of the first strike, 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 strike (regardless of when the warning or the first strike occurred), the account would be suspended for repeated policy violations.
Keep in mind that if any of these strikes were successfully appealed as incorrectly marked for violation, the strike would be removed and it does not count.