Jump into Google AdWords without reading up on its rules and regulations, and you could quickly find your ads disapproved or your account suspended. There are many policies to get to grips with, but to help you get started, we've highlighted some of the most important regulations.
If you’ve ever run a PPC marketing campaign on Google AdWords, you’ll know just how important it is to adhere to its rules. They’re effectively the PPC marketer’s equivalent of the Ten Commandments – though that number could probably be multiplied by around five. There are a lot of rules.
Below, we’ve detailed just some of the rules you should always abide by to keep your campaigns on the right track, and able to deliver the best possible results:
Don't Mislead Customers About Products and Services
Ad copy must match the landing page, which is where users end up after clicking on an ad.
This is not just to ensure that you are driving visitors to pages that they are interested in, although that is ideal.
If your ad makes claims that your site doesn't back up, you could fall foul of Google's algorithms and end up with a low Quality Score.
Or worse still you could have your ads blocked and your account suspended.
Describing something as free if it is not, misleading customers into thinking that they are getting brand new goods when your products are second-hand, or just using keywords that do not relate to your products or services (because they get high volumes of traffic) can attract the wrong kinds of attention from Google.
Know Your Copyright
Copyright infringement is another area that Google polices rigorously, meaning that any company which sells products manufactured by a third party will need to have a good understanding of their position when it comes to advertising these products through PPC marketing campaigns.
Google’s policies also follow the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act).
If Google spots or is notified that an advertiser’s site is infringing this act, it may remove their ads – be it display or standard PPC ads. It’s definitely worth reading up on the DMCA before beginning a campaign.
Whilst copyright laws can differ from country to country, and may even change depending on the specific industry concerned, it is the advertiser's responsibility to ensure that their ads conform to the law.
If you think that your business might be affected, then continuing to use terms which are protected could result in the campaign being stopped or your account being suspended.
Check Your URLs
Using URLs that do not comply with Google’s Advertising policies will land you in a spot of bother, pretty quickly. So, don’t try and be too clever.
Similarly, display URLs must match the domain to which anyone clicking on them will be sent. Using a display URL that doesn't directly correlate with your site can be an infringement of Google's rules and your ads will be disapproved.
Having a different domain, using an IP address or attaching a different suffix to your site's address are all considered bad practice, and accounts using these techniques could see their ads disapproved, or, worse still, their accounts suspended for continual violation of Google’s policies.
Understand Restrictions on Products and Services
Checking that the products and services you offer are compatible with advertising using Google AdWords should also be a primary concern when you are considering setting up an account.
Once again, the laws governing restricted products and services can vary greatly from country to country, but responsibility lies with advertisers to ensure that they comply with Google's policy on whether they will allow advertising on their networks.
Certain pharmaceuticals, political advertising, alcohol, gambling and financial services are all on the list of products and services that have restrictions placed on them so far as Google advertising is concerned.
Being on top of all the relevant policies and guidance can be difficult – there’s a lot to remember.
But it is imperative if you wish to use PPC as a tool to improve brand awareness on the Web.
Whilst there might be occasions on which you get lucky and avoid the pitfalls, it only takes one mistake to result in ads being disapproved – something you definitely don’t want.