Google had enough with bad ads and ad creators. To prevent repeated policy violations regarding unsafe and harmful ads, they created a new policy called the three-strikes system.
Starting this September 2021, if you get three strikes, your account will be suspended. It’s an ultimatum of a kind to create a trustworthy ad experience for Google Ads users and increase ad clicks profitability. Better ad experience means more people would click on ads and more revenue to the publishers.
This new policy should be tackled and planned with caution. Google has a bad history of incorrectly flagging ads for policy infractions. Although they do have some checks and balances in place to try to ensure that only accounts that have truly violated policy are being penalized.
Learn what counts as a strike, the associated penalties, how to get strikes removed, and how to prepare.
What Counts As a Strike and What Are The Penalties
A strike comes after the warning.
In its initial rollout, the strike based system is only applicable to these three categories:
These are the policies that monitor deceptive behaviour, hacking services, spyware, drugs, weapons, etc.
If your ads get flagged with policy violations on the said categories, Google will remove those ads and you’ll receive an email about the violation.
If you repeat the same violation in the next 90-day period, you’ll get your first strike. Repeat the same mistake within 90-days of the first strike, you’ll receive your second strike. Get another violation of the same issue within 90-days of your second strike and your account will be suspended.
|Warning||First instance of ad content violating our Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Substances and Dangerous Products or Services policies||No penalties beyond the removal of the relevant ads|
|First Strike||Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a warning within 90 days||The account will be placed on a temporary hold for three days, during which ads will not be eligible to run|
|Second Strike||Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a first strike within 90 days of the first strike||The account will be placed on a temporary hold for seven days, during which ads will not be eligible to run. This will serve as the last and final notice for the advertiser to avoid account suspension|
|Third Strike||Violation of the same policy for which you’ve received a second strike within 90 days of the second strike||Account suspension for repeat violation of our policies|
How to Remove strikes
Google will review your appeal and if it’s successful, your strike will be removed as the disapproval was not truly a violation.
Strikes can also be removed by timing. Strikes expire after 90 days and your account will be good as new in the eyes of the policy strike system. If your ads get flagged again, it will be just a warning and not a strike.
How To Prepare
“Just jump out the window,” a man yells. “I’m a Google Ads Guru. I can catch you.”
Uh, no thanks.
If your business is on the grey side of the new policy, follow the “prevention is the best medicine” advice. While these strikes could sound alarming, they can be fixed and prevented.
- Read the policy and review all ads, especially those with an unsavoury history of disapprovals.
- Learn the terminologies that Google bots use as a signal to flag ads with policy violations.
- Check your website for any content and language nuances that may get your account an inaccurate policy flag from Google.