Important Update: Changes to Shopping Policies Are Coming Soon
As of February 2016, Google will launch a new and improved Shopping Policy Center, in an effort to make Shopping policies more user-friendly, accessible, and engaging for merchants and users.
What’s This Mean For Merchants?
While most merchants who comply with the current policies put into place will comply with the new policies, it’s certainly beneficial (and advisable) that you spend some time (as soon as possible) getting to know the new policies to see if you need to make any changes on your end.
Getting To Know Google’s Updated Shopping Policies
Google’s policies cover four areas:
- Prohibited content (content you can’t promote on the Google Network)
- Prohibited practices (what you can’t do if you’d like to advertise on the Google Network)
- Restricted content (content that’s okay to advertise, but with limitations)
- Editorial and technical (the standards from which all ads and websites should adhere to)
Prohibited Content – What You Should Know
Here is a rundown of prohibited content as of Google’s updated Shopping policies:
- Counterfeit goods (containing a trademark or logo that is identical or indistinguishable from another trademark or logo
- Dangerous products or services (such as recreational drugs, weapons, fireworks, tobacco products, or instructions on how to make harmful products)
- Products that enable dishonest behavior (such as hacking software, and academic cheating products)
- Offensive content (no promotion is allowed for content that will shock, disgust, promote hatred or racism, or that will capitalize at the expense of others)
- Abuse of the ad network (Google does not allow malicious content, merchants who try to gain an unfair advantage in Shopping campaigns, sites that offer little unique value, and merchants who try to bypass Google’s review processes)
- Poor data collection and use (for example, you should not collect the following data over a non-secure connection: username, email (with passwords), credit cards, wire transfer numbers, social security, or driver’s license number)
- Misrepresenting yourself or a product (for example, you should make sure to provide all relevant information – and obtaining user consent – before having that user download or purchase something)
The following content is allowable, but with certain limits:
- Adult content (it can’t be malicious; it can’t offer little unique value to users)
- Alcoholic beverages (merchants can’t violate applicable laws; merchants can’t target underage individuals; ads cannot suggest drinking will improve one’s life or health; excessive drinking cannot be portrayed in a positive light)
- Copyrighted content (in order to promote copyrighted content, you should contact Google directly)
- Gambling-related content
- Healthcare-related content (these restrictions vary, based on the product you’re promoting. Some content, like unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, may not be promoted at all)
- Political content (merchants must comply with applicable laws and any applicable election silence periods)
- Trademarks (when advertising a trademarked product, merchants can reference those trademarks in the title and description; however, Google will review claims by trademark owners regularly)
Editorial and technical requirements
Google requires that all PLAs meet high editorial standards. Your promotion won’t meet their standards if:
- The display URL does not reflect the actual URL of a landing page
- Gimmicky use of words (such as FREE or f-r-e-e)
- Sites under construction, are parked, or simply don’t work
- Sites that have disabled a browser’s back button
- Sites that can’t be accessed by commonly used browsers
That’s A Lot To Take In – What Should You Do Next?
As noted earlier, most merchants follow these policies, as Google hasn’t drastically changed too much. However, not complying with these policies (in addition to all applicable laws and regulations) will cause your ads to be blocked and, if the violations are continued or egregious, Google may prevent you from advertising with them all together.
OperationROI will help you conduct an audit of your current practices and can outline an action plan to ensure you remain compatible throughout these latest updates and changes. Contact us today by calling us at 1-888-277-5429 or by filling out our contact form to learn more.