When you were little, were you that kid that got called out all the time by the teacher for talking in class, or maybe yelled at for breaking yet another classroom rule? Or were you the quiet kid who got their homework done on time and avoided any stern words from the teacher at all costs? If you were anything like me you probably fell more towards the latter of those two types, and because of that, you might still be a little sensitive to discipline or reproach. Therefore, it might seem a little surprising—or even upsetting—if some of your online ads get disapproved for ‘breaking the rules.’ After all, you’re the teacher’s pet, right? And if you did everything correctly, why are you getting yelled at by Google?
Disapproved ads usually occur due to some violation of AdWords Policy, and can be a huge source of frustration for account holders. AdWords has volumes upon volumes of both global and country-specific policies that govern every type of advertising offered. Add to that the fact that policy changes frequently in order to keep up with the breakneck pace of the industry, and even the most diligent and conscientious of us would have a hard time. With all of these policies to sift through, it’s the rare advertiser that is familiar with all—or even most—of the rules. The key is to learn how to effectively troubleshoot policy issues, resolve them as quickly as possible, and structure your account so as to prevent ads from coming down in the future.
Thinking about this I’m reminded of those huge pieces of craft paper with ‘Classroom Rules’ listed out in Sharpie, and taped to the front my elementary school classrooms. The teacher could simply add a rule to the list when necessary, keeping everyone up-to-date on expectations. In our modern adult world, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could install a scrolling alert system in your browser that would keep you apprised of advertising policy changes as they occur? Guess what: Google has something almost as cool. It’s called the Policy Change Log, and if you aren’t already familiar with it I highly recommend adding a bookmark.
The AdWords Policy Change Log is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a page that lists advertising policy changes as they occur, or even slightly ahead of their launch. By making it a habit to check this periodically, you can stay ahead of the curve and prevent ads from coming down thanks to unexpected changes in AdWords Policy. For example, if you’re a UK credit card advertiser (or you target the UK with your advertising) who mentions specific APR percentages in your ads, wouldn’t you have wanted to know about the ‘Prices, Discounts, and Free Offers’ policy change that occurred in late February? If you’d checked the Policy Change Log you would have known on February 7th that such ads would be disapproved unless they ‘prominently display information on the cost and associated fees of the credit cards/loans on the website.’ Nifty, huh?
Stay tuned for more information about how to use this tool, and how to troubleshoot those pesky policy problems…