Piloting a new 'strikes' system to address repeat ad policy violations

July 20, 2021

Google is committed to creating a trustworthy ad experience for users, advertisers and publishers. Our Google Ads policies exist to prevent unsafe or harmful ads from showing on our platforms.

That’s why we are introducing a new pilot program to test a three-strikes system for repeat ad policy violations. Starting September 2021, warnings and strikes will be issued for violations of our Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Unapproved Substances and Dangerous Products or Services policies—this includes ads promoting deceptive behavior or products such as the creation of false documents, hacking services, and spyware, as well as tobacco, drugs and weapons, among other types of content. These types of ads have long been prohibited, but now we are introducing increasing penalties with each strike applied. 

Here’s how the strikes system will work:

Type

Trigger

Penalty

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

When a warning or strike is issued, advertisers will receive an email informing them of the violation. Once an advertiser receives the first or second strike, they will be required to correct the violations and submit an acknowledgement form in order to resume serving ads. Strikes expire after 90 days and the account is considered in good standing if there are no additional violations. Advertisers will still be able to appeal any enforcement decisions

We already administer immediate account level suspensions when we detect egregious policy violations such as circumventing our systems (e.g., creating new accounts to bypass multi-strike suspensions), phishing or misrepresenting the product or service to intentionally mislead users.

Our goals are to increase accountability for advertisers and to also encourage them to learn more about our advertising policies to prevent future violations, creating a better overall experience. We will continue to provide resources in the Help Center to make it easier for advertisers to comply with our policies and optimize campaigns.

In the future, we plan to expand the strikes system in phases to scope more of our policies in. As we roll the program out globally, we hope to learn from early feedback to ensure we’re improving the process as we scale. 

All updates will be reflected in our Google Ads Help Center.

Posted by Brett Kline, Product Manager
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