I recently had a guest article from Andy Ramirez, the Director of Interactive Marketing for Vistage, about Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. His article came in just as I was finishing up the one below.
What I’d like for you to get out of these two articles is that choosing an online advertising strategy is MORE than just taking 10 minutes to throw together some kind of ad. Advertising is serious business and it’s important to do it RIGHT.
Before you jump into any online advertising strategy — please be sure to understand and be clear about their policies and then make the decision that will serve you best.
And now — to the serious business of Adwords Policies –
Since childhood, we’ve all been taught to play nicely with others, and changing the rules in the middle of a game is a sure-fire way to NOT keep friends. It appears as if this rule is not at the top of Google’s priorities at the moment, especially given their recent changes to the AdWords policy.
What’s the Change?
Until recently, thousands of companies used Google AdWords to create ads that drove traffic to their websites. Often times, the sites offered a free giveaway to the visitor in exchange for personal information such as name and email address.
Google has now decided that this form of lead-generation is now a violation of its AdWords policy. So essentially, if your company offers a gift (e.g. free ebook, trial, etc.) in exchange for the visitor’s contact information – and Google AdWords was used to drive traffic to that offer page – you are in violation of the policy.
This change happened around 2010 and isn’t really new but… Although the change hasn’t happened yesterday. I wanted you to know about it because so many online strategies talk about giving away something free in exchange for information such as an email.
This doesn’t mean you can no longer give things away! What it means is that you can’t advertise for a landing page where the ONLY purpose of the page is to give something away. You will be safer advertising to a base URL where there are other options or actions to take in addition to giving something away.
Wait, what? Isn’t that what advertising is supposed to do?
While companies have been using this successful marketing technique for years in order to drive traffic to its website in exchange for viable leads, Google is now doing its part to distance itself from any sites that use this tactic. Google claims on its website that the Google AdWords policy was revised in order to protect their users’ online safety.
Here is what you need to know if you’re using Google AdWords.
What Happens If You Violate the Policy?
Google lists three possibilities if you violate their new policy. First, you could be met with ad disapproval, in which ads that don’t follow this policy may get disapproved. When an ad gets disapproved, it won’t be able to run until the policy violation is fixed and the ad is approved.
The second alternative is domain suspension. Websites that violate advertising policies may get suspended from running AdWords ads. This means that the website can no longer be advertised with AdWords until the problem is fixed.
Finally, account suspension is the next occurrence if you have several violations or a serious violation. If this happens, all ads in the suspended account will stop running, and we may no longer accept advertising from you. Any related accounts may also get permanently suspended and your new accounts may get automatically suspended at set up.
What Advertising Alternatives are Available?
While Google AdWords may be one of the most well-known traffic generators, there are other services available that provide the same results. Such programs include Facebook Marketing, Microsoft/Yahoo! AdCenter, and Advertising.com. All of these companies use online advertising to drive traffic to your website, despite whether you offer a gift for contact information.
This change in Google AdWords will impact huge numbers of companies and websites. If you are using Google AdWords, it is critical to review the chart above and see where you fit. Then determine whether you want to keep using AdWords and modify your website, or look into alternative means of marketing.
Are you a Google Adwords Expert? Chime in and clarify YOUR understanding of the policy. What would you tell your clients?
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.