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Google’s Heavy Hand – Are Policies Too Strict?

If you manage your company’s AdWords account or you are an account manager for an agency, you have taken Google head-on. More than likely you have disagreed with how they police accounts and have tried to find a way around their iron fist policies. But have you thought what the SEM world would be like if they didn’t?

In the world of PPC, pay-per-click, there is a widely agreed upon view that Google is only in the game for its own bottom line. With Google search being an extremely dominant source of high caliber search traffic, it is difficult to do something other than increase spend to the limit in this platform. Is it really that way or are we turning safeguards into obstacles?

What’s Up Google’s Sleeve?

Is it time we step back and show a little respect, or at least try to understand what makes Google a self-imposed overseer of matters that most would stay doubtful about? Let’s look at some of the ways Google regulates advertisers and the advertising arena in policies benefit the consumer

  • The last click attribution is an inaccurate method to gauge the effectiveness of advertising. Google is encouraging us to switch to more effective attribution models, but is there a single attribution model that can give you the exact answer? No, that is why you must look at multiple models that bring their own important data to the table to be included.
  • General consumer protection. Most states also have detailed legal structures to protect consumers as well. But Google ban you from advertising if they find your business model is illegal, in a regulated field, or misleading or defrauding customers.
  • Google finds slow loading pages to be the most unfriendly user experience with one exception, and that would be if that slow loading page was on a not-so-mobile-friendly page. Google doesn’t let an advertiser flop on their own in AdWords, they also add to the agony by working some of the signals into things like quality score. They do this to encourage change, and they don’t want users to go to this type of experience. This also motivates the advertiser to improve poor user mobile experiences now, and not be procrastinators and push improvements off to a later
  • Shopping feed contents and quality. Consumers have a much better experience if Google has a well-maintained and accurate feed to with work with. Hurdles, such as banned products or misleading landing pages with claims to improve your health, can cause items can be rejected. If enough of a merchant’s feed is rejected by Google, they will disable the feed if corrective measures have not been attempted for an extended period of time. A larger online shopping campaign could lose significant sales daily.
  • Why stop there? How about ad copy? Advertisers have looked for loopholes in ad copy creation to gain an edge over their competitors, but Google’s been on top of this. In an effort to even the playing field, an advertiser can’t use all capital letters to draw attention to their ads. These ads would take away from the integrity of the user’s experience of search engine advertising. Google is working to prevent the degradation of search engine result pages.
  • While ad extensions give an interesting approach to improve how much pertinent information is included on search engine result pages, they aren’t perfect. Google doesn’t have to show any ad extension. They can alter the algorithm on the sly to favor and help certain types of companies if they choose. They can come up with explicit ways to give advertisers reason to increase bids, in order to increase the chance to trigger ad extensions that may not show anyway.

google's policies are carefulThere are definitely many flaws that Google needs to work on with the processes. Ad disapprovals for one or two ads in an ad group is frustrating when the majority of the ads that are approved are very similar. Is this an attack on the ads or on the layout of the entire site?’

Google’s false positives are the result of a ‘you can’t be too careful’ attitude. Though it seems , that too many are allowed to create AdWords accounts with little to no regard to policy from the beginning. The system and protocols in paid search are very open, so the approach of ‘spammers must be stopped’ seems to be unfair to advertisers that are on the up-and-up.



What Else Can They Do?

Can you think of any company other than Google that stays ahead of what can be debatable issues of customer protection and fairness among advertisers? Google has done this while expanding and developing ad programs in a complex world with millions of advertisers.


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Where might we be if Google didn’t push for the high standards mentioned earlier?

  • User experience would be slower.
  • Advertisers would go after more unreasonable incentives while the average participant in an AdWords program would tend to listen to sly salesmen and insignificant offers to get an edge on competitors that are straight shooters. The average participant would fall into the pit of trivial trickery instead of digging into real data and getting to know their customers. This would cut their marketing life short.
  • Trust in search engine results would not be as high as it is now for consumers.
  • Consumer trust in advertisers would be much lower.

Taking all this into consideration, it makes you think we should expect more from Google to protect not just consumers but honest advertisers as well. Google may not feelbeneficial when we work on it on a daily basis; but Google is there for us although it is sometimes just self-serving for them.

Where would we be if Google didn’t use the strong-arm approach? Would we be having this conversation or would the digital advertising world have collapsed by now?

Let’s see what Google has for us in the future.


About The Author

Gary Harvison

Gary has been with That! Company since June 2014 as a novice. Under the guidance of SEM masters with 10+ years, Gary has become proficient in various platforms of SEM including AdWords, Bing, and most recently Facebook. Gary is certified as a Google Specialist covering all facets of AdWords. Along with his SEM duties, Gary trains new members of the SEM team in specialized report creation and distribution. He also aids in client onboarding processes and procedure training.

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