Posted on 6/10/2015 in Digital Marketing

By Ryan MacQuarrie

Recently, we had a client who was dealing with a serious accusation from Google that essentially claimed they were trying to game the system.  Google is very clear in its terms and conditions of Adwords advertising in what is acceptable and what is considered a serious infraction.  If you are banned from using Adwords, you can appeal their decision in an attempt to explain and remediate the issue that caused the ban.  There are some important lessons that we took away from our experience in helping our client through the appeal process, and we want to share them with you to hopefully keep you from having the same issues:

Don’t Let Just Anybody Optimize:

Always work closely with trained representatives for all platforms you use with your paid media campaigns. Ad serving software and redirects are vital to keeping track of campaigns, ad and message performance, as well as giving you the capability of reconciling with your vendors to be sure you are getting what you contracted.  Leveraging the assistance of trained individuals who have implemented the platform on many other company sites is important because it will help you avoid common mistakes and recognize dangers associated with the platform’s misuse.

Optimize your Campaigns, but Know What to Change and What’s Off Limits:

A key element that can sometimes be overlooked in optimizing campaigns is what the redirect URL is and how it is related to the destination URL. Please make sure that you consider creating a subdomain if you do not want the traffic from certain campaigns on your main domain, but do not anticipate that you should direct it to a different domain entirely.  This is not a practice that has many valid explanations for Google, and it can cause you to rebrand entirely to be able to use Adwords again. Redirect URLs should either reflect your domain or the platform that you are using by the time the visitor reaches the destination URL.  Outside of those options, you create a risk that is not worth the reward.

Lock your Doors and Guard the Keys:

Please understand that features from various platforms are subtle and affect only an ad or a campaign, while others affect your entire account. Limited access to those broad-reaching features is key to protecting your brand and the liability of having others for whom you are advertising.  Such features like Universal Settings, Account Settings, Global Redirects, and Access/User Management are examples of features that would require a huge amount of trust for me to allow access to anyone outside of the platform.

The Point of No Return:

For some infractions, there is no justification in an appeal that will change the ban. I am now finding out that attempts to address issues also have a ‘blast radius’ that could affect you if you are working on behalf of another company or brand, and damage associated My Client Centers (MCCs) in Google Adwords.  For this reason, choose your battles in what you appeal and the efforts you make on behalf of your associates carefully because the effect may not reside in that account.  We learned that there is a difference in what you can and should do to assist an account – our client is absolutely worth the effort, but others we have seen in the same predicament are toxic and can cause collateral damage to your MCC.

As you can see, the ramifications of even small edits with untrained or sloppy attention to detail could cost you immensely.  Paid Search and Display management is made easier with very powerful platforms, but as the cliché goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Protect your interests and seek help from trained professionals in leveraging these platforms to effectively increase your profitability and efficiency because one small mistake can be very expensive. If you’re in need of more assistance in managing your paid accounts, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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