How Google’s Ad Policies Affect Your Local Business’ Advertising Strategy

10.26.2021 Cox Media3 min

The digital advertising landscape is undergoing significant changes across multiple fronts. While rapidly evolving privacy laws are changing how online users are tracked and targeted with a wide range of ad content, advertisers are now under increased pressure to implement safeguards and other steps that support user safety through increased regulation of ad content.

While some of this regulation is being driven by industry-specific restrictions on how businesses are able to advertise products and services to businesses, Google Ads leadership has also commented on the value of supporting a healthy and safe digital ecosystem for all users. Per Google’s own data, the number of “bad ads” blocked and removed through this process has risen from 130 million in 2011 to more than 3.1 billion in 2020 alone.

This increased focus on eliminating bad ads is good news overall for small businesses, but the safeguards in place to support ad safety can also disrupt and complicate your own business advertising efforts. Even when your business doesn’t violate Google ad policies, suspicious or flagged content can still lead to ad campaigns being paused, costing you time as you wait for a review and verdict.

Whether you’re advertising financial services, healthcare access or locally made baked goods, your business will benefit from knowing and being mindful of these policies and their potential impact on ads requiring a review or response. From misrepresentation to improper ad specifications, here’s what you need to know when planning your small business advertising strategy.

Inside Google’s Ad Policy: Four Key Areas of Focus for Small Businesses

For small business leaders lacking experience in building and managing Google Ads campaigns, the company’s extensive online policy center can be overwhelming and panic-inducing. While these thorough policies have become necessary to ensure user safety, privacy, and compliance with a wide range of laws and regulations, they can also cause well-intentioned small business advertising to get flagged for violations and mired in a tedious review process.

The best approach is to break down these policies and understand its broad intentions, including how the advertising platform’s rules might be most relevant to your business. In general, Google advertising policies cover four key areas:

  • Prohibited content: This includes counterfeit, inappropriate or illegal content, a category of violations that most small businesses don’t need to worry about.
  • Prohibited practice: Small businesses are most likely to violate this category of policies if they misrepresent their business and/or services, or use advertisements for data collection practices that violate the Google terms of use.
  • Restricted content and features: Small businesses may face additional ad scrutiny and regulation when advertising products or services related to the healthcare, banking, alcohol, or gambling industries, as well as content targeted to children.
  • Editorial and technical requirements: This category, which includes proper ad formatting and other elements of creating a campaign, are the most likely reason why a small business ad campaign would be identified as violating platform policies.

What To Do if Google Ads Suspends Your Account

While Google’s advertising policies are well-intended, a lot of advertising campaigns—particularly ones made by small businesses—get caught up in the suspension and review process as a result of harmless errors. When this happens to your ad campaigns, it’s natural to feel frustrated—especially if your ad campaign is time-sensitive and potentially costing your business revenue.

To expedite the process and get your campaign up-and-running, though, you’ll want to set aside your frustration and start the process of fixing your suspended account. Identify the policies cited by Google as the reason for your account getting flagged or suspended, and review your information, settings, and/or campaign details to pinpoint the issue and take corrective action.

Once you’ve fully addressed these issues, complete a detailed appeal that explains your changes, or explains why your ad is actually not in violation of any Google policies.

After submitting your appeal, gather as much evidence as possible to defend your case if Google comes back asking for proof—which is likely. The stronger your argument on your own behalf, the quicker you will be cleared to resume advertising through Google Ads.

Know the Rules Before You Launch an Ad

While the vast majority of small business advertisements aren’t likely to draw the scrutiny of Google’s monitoring processes, the risk of a violation can be significant—and claiming ignorance won’t improve your case when appealing to Google.

Whether you’re new to using Google Ads or simply aren’t familiar with the many nuanced rules this platform has developed, it’s highly recommended that you take time to review all relevant Google Ad policies that may apply to your business.

Or, if that sounds like a lot of work, save yourself the trouble and find a digital advertising partner to build effective Google Ad campaigns while making sure you steer clear of any policy violations. Cox Media’s advertising experts are ready to help you take your advertising game to the next level, while making sure your brand stays on Google’s good side. Contact us today to get started.

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