It is not uncommon for charities to find that there Google Ad Grant account isn’t performing as well as they might hope. There can be a number of reasons for this.
In this blog post, we will explore ads that have been limited by policy violations.
Possible policy violations
There are a lot of possible policy violations, and if you are relatively inexperienced in ad grant management having your ads flagged can come as a bit of a surprise. It can also feel a bit unfair; after all, you know that your charity does great work, and you know it would benefit society for people to know more about your cause.
Typical violations that my customers get hit by are health related (cancer, kidney, and addiction charities), gambling related (charities trying to promote their lotteries), or “personalized” (ads that mention religion or sexual content – charities that support LGBTQIA+ communities etc).
But there are a lot of additional potential policy violations that you should ideally be aware of if you don’t want to have your account penalised or even closed.
How do you know if your ads have been flagged?
If you log into your ads account and navigate to the campagins overview, you will see a number of columns. One of these should be labeled “Status”.
In this column, if your ads are performing well, you will see the word “Eligible”. If some of your ads have been flagged you may see the words “Eligible (limited)”.
If you hover over these words, you will get a pop up that will provide more details.
The pop up will have links to documents about the policy violations and a link to appeal the decision.
What can I do to fix my ads?
First of all, read the policy.
Try to find out why your ad has been flagged and see if you agree with it or not.
If it is something that you do agree with, then you will need to change your ads. It might be that there is a different way of saying what you want to say that will still drive traffic to your website.
If you disagree that your ads break the policy, then you can appeal. When you appeal your ads will be reviewed by someone at Google and you should find out within a day or so if they agree with you or not.
If they do agree that they have made a mistake, they will turn your ad back on.
If they disagree and maintain that you have gone against their policy then your ads will remain turned off or limited.
Is there anything else that can be done?
If you really want to make sure that your ads will run smoothly, then sometimes you can submit certification to provide evidence that you can legitimately advertise using the terms you have been flagged for.
For example, a cancer charity may want to advertise their “exercise class for lymphodema”.
This advert may get flagged for violating the “Health in personalised advertising” policy, depending on the content on the landing page.
What does Google say about this?
We are dedicated to following advertising regulations for healthcare and medicine, so we expect ads and destinations to follow appropriate laws and industry standards. Some healthcare-related content can’t be advertised at all, while other content can only be advertised if the advertiser is certified with Google and targets only approved countries.
The full policy: Health in personalized advertising
Personal health content, which includes:
- Physical or mental health conditions, including diseases, sexual health, and chronic health conditions, which are health conditions that require long-term care or management.
- Products, services, or procedures to treat or manage chronic health conditions, which includes over-the-counter medications and medical devices.
- Any health issues associated with intimate body parts or functions, which includes genital, bowel, or urinary health.
- Invasive medical procedures, which includes cosmetic surgery.
- Disabilities, even when content is oriented toward the user’s primary caretaker.
- Examples: Treatments for chronic health conditions like diabetes or arthritis, treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, counseling services for mental health issues like depression or anxiety, medical devices for sleep apnea like CPAP machines, over-the-counter medications for yeast infections, information about how to support your autistic child
How to comply with this policy
- Read the policy above to learn what they don’t allow. Ensure that your ads, site, or app comply with Personalized advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
- Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don’t allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You’ll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.
- Remove that content from your ad.
If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.
- On your Ads page, hover over the ad you want to edit.
- Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
- Click Save when you’re done.
- Once you edit and save your ad, it’s sent for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 business day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If you’ve removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, you can request a review of your ad.
- Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with Personalized advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with Personalized advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren’t able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.
So do I have to remove my health service related ads and content?
Not straight away. First of all, I would try applying for health care related advertising. Especially if you are an addictions charity. You can do that here
The next thing to try is appealing. You can do that within your ads account.
An alternative would be to try contacting Google support – Support
The Google Ads Help Community can also be a gold mine of information. Sometimes!
Double check where you are advertising, and try tweaking your ads.
Finally, consider changing your web content. It may only be a single word that is causing the problems. Or it might be more.
Need some help?
Daily Bread Consultancy is a Google Partner organisation. We work with charities and businesses and particularly support charities in managing their Google Ad Grants.
As I’m sure you know, Google provides charities with $10,000 per month of free PPC advertising. However, due to the way Google Ads work, it can be tricky to run effective ads.
Your ads need to have strong relevance to the keywords you have set, and they also need to have strong relevance to the landing page experience.
You can’t bid for the keyword “Nike shoes”, create an ad that says “discount Nike shoes available online,” and then have a landing page that only sells Adidas shoes. Google won’t run those ads as they are not relevant to the search intent, and the whole goal of Google is to provide the best user experience.
Similarly, you won’t get your ads shown often if you run a breast cancer charity but have pages with very little information on them. The reason is that even if your page experience is relevant, if there are hundreds of similar but better (in Google’s opinion) pages, then Google will serve those ads ahead of yours.
In addition to running the ads, you will need GA4 set up correctly. Once set up, you can link your GA4 account with your ads account and import your conversions; these should be set in GA4.
In order to do this, you should also use Tag Manager.
Using Tag Manager you can create “Tags” to measure important actions on your website, such as PDF downloads, form completions, video views, etc.
Daily Bread Consultancy can help you with all of this, as well as provide SEO support to help you create web content that your beneficiaries, supporters, etc will search for and find useful.
Do contact us if you would like to discuss this all further.
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