Everything You Need To Know About Google’s New AdWords Policy Centre

By Stevie Carpenter, blog post 20/06/2014

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Google is currently gearing up for the launch of its new AdWords Policy Centre in September. According to Google, the motivation behind the change is a desire to improve the quality of adverts while making policies more accessible to advertisers.

For those that want to grab a sneak peek of the new AdWords Policy Centre, Google has launched a preview of the upcoming Policy Centre. Read on to discover everything you need to know about Google’s new AdWords policies, from exactly what will change to how it might affect your business

Why is This Happening?

Google’s new Policy Centre is designed to avoid misinterpretation by being easier for advertisers to understand. “We’re introducing fewer sections, easier to understand language, and better organising the layout of our policies,” explains a Google spokesperson.

As a result, Google is striving to make its AdWords policies more transparent by making it clearer to advertisers why they exist and what they need to do to comply with them. Also in the interest of clarity, the current number of policy categories is being streamlined from seven to four.

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Above:  The number of areas covered by the new policies has been reduced from seven to four

Aside from adding greater transparency, Google’s new AdWords policies seek to mirror the company’s Panda- and Penguin-based efforts in organic search by cracking down on low quality content. Therefore, Google’s new ‘Abuse of the Ad Network’ policy will clarify and widen the parameters of prohibited content.

To help it deliver more attractive ads that benefit the user, Google is also applying additional technical requirements across more ad formats. Examples include image size requirements and character limits for headlines and text used in adverts.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

The new policies will not affect the vast majority of advertisers who are already complying with the current AdWords Policies. However, if your adverts focus on products and services that could be deemed legally or culturally sensitive or are considered to be low quality under the new policies, you will likely suffer from a loss of traffic and income.

The legally or culturally sensitive products that Google say will be subject to renewed and revamped clarification concerning what is and isn’t acceptable include dangerous products like weapons, as well as fireworks and tobacco. There will also be changes to policy on ads that promote alcoholic drinks and those drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages.

Many of these products were already restricted or prohibited, so the policy update in this area is more about making the policy clearer, its wording less ambiguous – some advertisers were able to slip through loopholes that were created through indistinct wording.

For instance, the wording around knives will be more explicit to clearly say what type of knives can be advertised; for example, knives that are promoted as a product designed to injure another person in any context are now prohibited.

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Above: We’re not sure if the last section of the final point here includes playing village cricket…

If you think your business may be affected by the above, potential solutions include advertising through an alternative search engine such as Bing, advertising through an affiliate and improving your organic visibility through SEO. However, if you want to keep on advertising through Google AdWords, you will have to make some changes to comply with the new policies.

What Does Your Business Need to do to Comply?

First of all, you will need to review your content to see if it can be tweaked to avoid falling into what Google will classify as ‘low quality content’. The type of content that AdWords policies are set to consider low quality will be very similar to how organic search is defined now and will have to meet strict editorial standards.

For your reference, here are some examples of low quality content that won’t meet the requirements of Google AdWords:

  • Content designed solely for driving traffic towards destinations where there is excessive advertising and no original content
  • Content that has been taken or replicated from another source while adding no additional value or functionality
  • Landing pages intended only to take users to gateways and doorway page

Google AdWords have also provided examples of landing page content they are going to prohibit in their new Abuse of the Ad Network policy:

  • Malicious ads, sites, or apps
  • Ads promoting sites that offer little unique value to users and are focused primarily on traffic generation
  • Businesses that attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the ad auction
  • Businesses that attempt to bypass our review processes

In order to adhere to Google AdWords’ more stringent technical requirements for ad formats, you will also need to review all of the adverts you are currently using in line with the new policies.

However, if you are advertising legally or culturally sensitive products, you are unlikely to be able to continue using AdWords once the policies come into effect in September.

How can Strategy Digital Help You Make the Transition to the New Policy?

Our team of 50+ people have expertise that spans the full spectrum of digital marketing. We will be able to help your business through the policy change by:

  • Reviewing all your ad copy to evaluate whether it complies with new AdWord policies
  • Reviewing all your landing pages to ensure they comply with the stricter rules in relation to content quality
  • Ensuring that the types of ads you use such as sitelinks, TrueView video ads and AdMob comply with the technical requirements of the new policies
  • Highlighting any issues with currently advertised products that may fall under prohibited content

Please head here for more information about Strategy Digital’s PPC services