How to Avoid Policy Violations in Google Ad Manager

Reading time: 4 minutes

Google Ad Manager[1] is the most popular ad server in the world. Publishers can easily increase their revenue, given the wide variety of tools and solutions that Google Ad Manager provides. More than 60% of publishers choose to run their ads on Google, which isn’t surprising, considering Google’s position in the advertising and technology industry.

As ad tech[4] continues to advance, Google sits at the helm of the ship, guiding the rest of us through inevitable ad server waves. Due to high usage, it’s reasonable for Google to work hard to maintain the safest ad tech atmosphere possible. This status means implementing policies that monitor traffic, ads, and website content. 

Most publishers take great care to avoid violating policies. However, nobody is perfect, and there are certain situations where policy violations happen. An infringement on Google Ads regulations can result in the suspension of an Ad Manager account, so it’s wide to avoid them.

Possible Reasons for a Policy Violation

There can be many different reasons, both intentional and unintentional, where a publisher[5] can face repercussions from Google Ad Manager for a violation. Here are some common reasons publishers could get dinged for a policy violation. 

Malvertising on Landing Page

Most ad creatives direct consumers to a landing page and that landing page should represent the content promised in the ad. When clicking on an ad brings a user to a landing page that doesn’t reflect the ad scope or contains inappropriate or adult content, Google will enforce a violation. 

Malvertising in Ad Creative

If the publisher ad creative[6] leads to malware in any form, that publisher is officially breaking Google policies. 

Misrepresenting Information

If an ad creative doesn’t represent its purpose, Google will disable the ad. For example, if your ad doesn’t specify that the link will ask users for political affiliation, Google will enforce a policy violation.

Dynamic DNS

If an ad redirects users to an IP address that changes consistently, Google will place a hold on that ad. Varying content and changing IP addresses break Google regulations regarding providing the best user experience. 

Fraudulent Activities

Phishing is not allowed on Google. Fraudulent activities and an attempt to obtain sensitive information will get you kicked off of Google Ad Manager quickly, and it will likely result in a permanent suspension. 

Download Prompts

If your website asks users to download information, such as an ebook or recipe card, that’s fine. However, if your actual ad creative prompts them to download a file, which is typically harmful to the device of the user, you’ll violate Google policies.

How to Check Policy Violations in Web Pages and Ad Creatives

One of the essential elements of dealing with policy violations is understanding how to check for them. Once you’ve established the problem, you can take the necessary steps to rectify the infringement, which for most ad publishers, was unintended.

Web Pages and Sites

You should have access to the Policy option under the Admin tab on your Google Ad Manager dashboard. Keep going to the Web Policy Center, and you’ll find pages that have previously violated Google policies and information on why those particular pages have actions against them. 

Once you address your policy violations, you can request that Google review those pages again to ensure that they’re in good standing. You can also check your ad creatives from the same dashboard. 

Ad Creatives

Under Delivery, you’ll find Line Items and All Line Items. Click on All Line Items and then head over to Creatives. Here you’ll see messages from Google that include disabled for policy violation, paused for a policy violation but currently rescanning, and cleared. To find which of your ads have violated policy, set the search filter to Policy Violation Detected. 

If you click on the ad or ads listed, you’ll have access to why Google disabled the ad. You can fix the problems and have them rescanned for eligibility to run again.

So, What Can Publishers Do to Avoid Policy Violations in Google Ad Manager?

The best way to handle violations in Google Ad Manager is to sidestep them in the first place. If you know the best avoidance methods, you won’t have to deal with consistently fixing your pages and ad creatives for resubmission.

Review Traffic Sources

Ad publishers are responsible for the traffic that goes to their websites. You’ll want to monitor that traffic constantly, ensuring that there aren’t any unnatural sources drumming up link clicks. If you’re working with a third party[2] to drive traffic (like most publishers), it’s crucial to determine that bots are not generating artificial traffic. 

Review Ad Placements and Ad Content

Once the ad content posts, it’s vital to continue to monitor it. Publisher ads have to be detectable from the website’s actual content, and it’s imperative to track illegal or inappropriate ads. Here are a few fantastic guidelines offered by Google. 

  1. Don’t mislabel advertisements as “helpful resources” or “valuable links.” Publishers must label ads for what they are.
  2. Do not align a specific image with an ad creative.
  3. Ad creatives should not push website content below the fold, making it hard to read.
  4. Do not suggest compensation for clicking on ads.
  5. Ads are not allowed on exit pages, 404 pages, and thank-you pages.
  6. Optimize your ad placements to keep users from clicking on them accidentally once the page is fully loaded. 

Review Ad Refresh

Keep tabs on Ad Refresh[3] to ensure that it’s used as intended. Ad refresh is fantastic for optimizing impressions from current ad units, but a violation waits right around the corner if you don’t follow the guidelines.

What’s Next?

The policies on Google Ad Manager aren’t going anywhere, and in fact, they’re forever evolving. These guidelines are necessary to provide users, publishers, and advertisers with a safe and refined experience. 

Remember to stay on top of your current content and web traffic. If you educate yourself on the procedures with Google Ad Manager usage, you’ll avoid policy violations and curate an excellent experience. 

1. Google Ad Exchange ( Google Ad Manager ) Ad Exchange is often referred to as the premium version of AdSense, and also a Google-owned ad network of sorts. To join Ad Exchange, publishers need to meet specific requirements such as 500 000 minimum monthly traffic, be invited or join through a Google certified partner. Recently Google has rebranded this product, and it is now called Google Ad Manager.
2. third party. Third-Party refers to groups or entities involved with the advertising stack who do not have a direct relationship with the advertiser or publisher. These entities are used to create additional context and value.
3. Ad Refresh. This is when a publisher reloads ads on a page at an every 30, 60, 90 seconds or even a custom setting.
4. ad tech. Advertising Technology, or ad tech, refers to software built for the advertising industry that helps improve media effectiveness and increase operational efficiencies. Ad tech can refer to a number of platforms, including demand-side platforms (DSPs), data management platforms (DMPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs) and ad exchanges.
5. publisher. Web publishing is the process of publishing original content on the Internet. The process includes building and uploading websites, updating the associated webpages, and posting content to these webpages online. Web publishing is also known as online publishing.

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