Nearly 61% of publishers use Google Ad Manager to serve ads on their website and bring more demand for the display ad inventories. In the context of video and mobile advertising, Ad Manager’s share lies between 53% and 57% (Src). Being the leading partner of publishers, Google has a top concern – maintain the advertising ecosystem safe for all.
For this reason, Google has created a set of policies and often scans publishers’ websites to ensure that the ads as well as the content and traffic on the web pages are fulfilling the criteria.
Although publishers try their best to make sure the terms and conditions aren’t being violated, they come across situations when Google stops ad serving for policy violations. In the worst scenarios, Google suspends the publisher’s Ad Manager or AdX account, and can even close the accounts for an indefinite time period.
Having said that, how can you stop being penalized for policy violations? To find the answer to the question, you need to first understand what are considered violations.
Table of Contents:
- Possible reasons for a policy violation
- How to check policy violations in web pages and ad creatives?
- So, What can publishers do to avoid policy violations in Google Ad Manager?
- What’s Next?
Possible Reasons For a Policy Violation:
A policy violation in Google Ad Manager may be due to several reasons and we have listed down a few below.
- Malvertising in ad creative. It is one of the major causes of policy violations in Google Ad Manager. When an ad creative contains requests to domains having malware, then Google considers it as a policy violation. Similarly, if an ad creative directs to a landing page that hosts malvertising, then the publisher may have to face a violation.
- Ad creative redirecting to a page with illegal content. If an ad creative redirects users to a URL that further leads to a page containing legally objectionable content, then Google considers a policy violation by the particular ad creative.
- Misinterpretation of an ad. An ad may ask users for software download, political donations, or any other financial services. In cases like this, if there is any misinterpretation in the ad’s content, then Google disables the ad creative for policy violation as it failed to provide a clear motive of the ad.
- Automated ad clicks and impressions. Google strictly prohibits inflation of clicks and impressions of an ad. If the ad creative is getting artificial clicks by any means or directing the users to a URL that has an automated ad clicking, then it is a policy violation. Also, it will be a violation if the ads are placed in a wrong placement that causes accidental clicks by the users.
- Ad creative redirecting to variable IP addresses. An ad creative directing to Dynamic DNS or IP Mapping is a policy violation in Google Ad Manager. If the creative is directing the users to a domain that changes the IP address frequently and delivers varying content; then Google takes it a violation.
- Ad creative promoting fraudulent activities. An ad creative encouraging fraudulent attempts to steal users’ personal and sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers; and promoting illegitimate actions will lead to a policy violation.
- Ad creatives redirecting to a landing page with auto-redirects and pop-up ads. Auto-redirects that take a user to another website unexpectedly and pop-up ads that try to lure users to click on them are a type of malicious activity according to Google.
In addition to the ad content, there are a few other factors that may lead to account closure or suspension such as recurring interstitial ads that do not meet Google’s guidelines, ad creatives that load blank or white pages when clicked, and so on.
So, how can you resolve the policy issues? The issues can be resolved by understanding the web pages, ads, and traffic on the site.
Check Policy Violations on Web Pages and Ad Creatives
Check web pages and sites:
To check the pages and access the policy center, go to Admin > Policy. In this section, select the Web policy center, you can find:
- Pages that have been found to violate the policies,
- Information on why the web pages have enforcements, and
- How to request Google for reviewing your pages again after addressing the policy violations.
Here, you can find Sites with issues (for publishers having multiple domains) and Pages with issues with a status Must fix “Yes” or “No”. The lists of pages with “Yes” status need to be addressed and resolved as soon as possible. To find the exact reason why your page has violated the policies, you can click > next to the Last enforcement date.
Check ad creatives:
The next step is to check if an ad creative has violated the policies. To do that, you need to go to Delivery > Line items > All line items and click on the tab Creatives. Google Ad Manager shows three messages to show the ad creatives’ status:
- Disabled for policy violation
- Paused for policy violation, re-scanning
- Cleared; eligible for serving
Here, you can find the ad creatives with status “Inactive (Disabled for policy violation)” or “Inactive (Paused for policy violation, rescanning)”. To select the individual creatives that have violated the policies, you need to apply filter Policy violation > is > Detected.
To know the possible reasons why the ad creative has been paused or disabled, you can click on it and take the necessary actions to resolve the issues.
After you remove the policy violation, the status can be checked by applying filter Policy violation > is > Cleared. Once the policy violations are resolved, you can re-traffic the ad creative in the line item. In the meantime, Google Ad Manager will stop the line item to serve the particular ad creative.
If such ad creatives exist in multiple pages on your website, then policy violations could cause:
- Suspension of your account without giving any prior notice.
- Withholding your ad earnings for an indefinite time period.
- Deducting a percentage of amount from ad earnings.
Avoiding Policy Violations in Google Ad Manager
Review traffic sources:
Being a publisher, you’re ultimately responsible for the traffic on your websites. Google understands that a publisher may work with third-parties to increase the website’s traffic. However, it strictly prohibits artificial traffic that acts as click bots and inflates the real impressions/clicks.
To avoid policy violations due to bot or artificial traffic, it is recommended to strictly analyze your traffic sources in Google Analytics. If you find any suspicious source that may send invalid traffic to your website, you need to block it immediately.
Review ad placements and ad content:
Ensure that you have not set your ad placement in a way that leads to accidental clicks on the ads. Your ads might not be mistaken with the website’s content. Also, make sure that you are following the guidelines described by Google e.g.
- Your ads shouldn’t be placed under misleading header such as “resources” or “helpful links”. Ideally, your ads should be labeled with “Advertisements” or “Sponsored Links”.
- Your individual ads shouldn’t align with specific images. Users might confuse with the ads and assume that the images are related to the ads.
- Your ads should not push the website’s content below the fold and make it difficult to read for the users.
- Your ad shouldn’t offer compensation or any other compensation for clicking on it. These are also unacceptable ad implementations according to the Ad Manager.
Besides, Google AdX publishers aren’t allowed to place ads on pages like thank you, exit pages, 404 pages. If found, then this would be considered a policy violation. So, ensure you haven’t added ad slots on these pages.
Review Ad Refresh:
Ad Refresh is considered as one of the most beneficial methods to increase ad impressions with the existing ad inventories. However, if used in the wrong way, it can cause policy violations and Google strictly recommends that publishers follow the guidelines while refreshing ads.
To sum up, a publisher should be aware of what is happening on his/her website and keep an eye on the traffic. If Google deems a publisher’s account to be engaged with suspicious activities that interfere with the advertising, it can not only suspend your AdX account, but it can also suspend related properties such as AdSense and AdMob.
Maintaining policy compliance is a serious matter and publishers should know how to reduce the likelihood of violations. This couldn’t be done without knowing where you have violated policies. So, it is important to be proactive and implement Google’s guidelines throughout the website. Still unable to resolve the issue? Ask our AdOps experts to get the solutions right away.