Once a new AdWords campaign is planned, advertisers are focused on setting the proper structure, building strategies, ad-copies, geographic and audience targeting. After the campaign is launched, everyone is happy and the advertiser (with the help of an agency or without) starts to optimize the campaign. And then, a few days later: “pooff” and "boom" – a suspension email received from Google….
At this point, everybody starts to “run”, trying to figure what had been wrong, and why the account was suspended, after the campaign had been running for a few days. If this was a big agency, senior management would call inquiring: “how come we have a major client’s account suspended”. Usually, this is followed by managers starting to visit the account manager at his/ her cubical….
After the initial "shock" and "surprise" are over, it’s time to look at the suspension email received from Google. This gives a general reference to the Policy section violated.
The common reaction is: ”Policy, isn’t that a legal "stuff" not related to AdWords reserved for the legal team?”
The answer is: no. The Policy is the operations manual an advertiser should follow. It grasps the technical specifications, as well as rules about the content allowed to be promoted on Google, in general, and in specific locations.
If so, how should an advertiser approach the Policy?
- The first step would be to actually open the Policy chapter within the AdWords help center. I have encountered advertisers “hesitating“ to click on the Policy link, worry that they might find a document in a legal language, typed in small fonts. It is not! The Policy is written for the common advertisers, without any legal terminology, clearly structured and includes many examples.
- Second, go through the Policy list of sections, and identify the technical specifications relevant to your campaign. (For example: if this is a display campaign - identify the technical sections about banners and videos. If this is a search campaign - identify the part covering text ads. If this is a shopping campaign - identify the relevant technical sections about the product feed… etc...)
- Once you have identified all technical aspects, it's time to move to the content part:
This is a bit more complex, because there could be several sections applicable, and some sections could be applicable to all products and services advertised. For example: the “misinterpretation of product and services“ is a general section which applies to all products or services promoted, while the alcoholic beverages only applies if you sell wine or other alcoholic beverages.
- Once you have identified all sections of the Policy relevant to the product or service promoted, prepare yourself a list of all of them, and review each one.
- At this point, it is advisable to hold a meeting of all parties involved (the campaign manager, the web-designer, the site programmer and the site owner) to discuss the relevant sections, to ask each party to verify that the their area of responsibility complies with the Policy, and to implement modifications if required. (For example: If the transaction page is not an SSL secured, the programmer will implement an SSL secured page for the purchase, if “contact us” details are missing from the landing page, then, the web-designer will add those.)
- Once all parties involved report back that their tasks are completed, It is recommended to review the changes made, and to verify that all corrections are in place.
I frequently hear from clients the argument that this methodology is not feasible within the time frame of launching a campaign, especially for seasonal campaigns, which could be launched within a short timetable. My answer would be that setting a campaign, and doing the pre-launch analysis and preparations should go “hand by hand”, and in parallel with all other campaign activities.
A well structured campaign starts by first reading the Policy, here.
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