Google Ads account suspended: What now?

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Is your Google Ads account suspended? Are you looking for tips on how to get it back? Some of them we have described in our previous post about suspended accounts. Read them first here.

Because of tons of emails, questions and requests, we have to underline that we don’t work with Google, nor do we have the power to get your account back. Please, read the whole article and then, if you have questions about these actions, we can try to help you.

We have to remind you that our Foundation has a Google Ads account for nonprofits, which is called Google Ad Grants. Therefore, we can only provide you with explanations from our point of view as Google Ad Grants beneficiaries. This program is different from the commercial version. For example, you can’t compete on keywords with others, it is forbidden to bid scores. Google describes all its “must-have” rules in policies on this page

A few times a year they check a big number of Ad Grants accounts. If something doesn’t meet their rules even in a small aspect, they will block you. Definitely, and for a long time. During this time of year you can observe many questions on forums and websites on how to unsuspend a Google Ad Grants account. And this happened to us.  Our story started from a small suspension and grew into a huge suspended account.

Pro tip

When you are blocked by Google, you can’t contact them by email, chat, call or by forms. You are blocked from everything and it won’t change until they decide to contact you. A horrible experience. We had tried many different solutions to solve this ban, but to no avail. Every time when we were trying to fill in a form, the page didn’t load successfully because of a 404 error (page was not found). 

The only way to contact them is by form or by email. You can googlegrants-support@google.com – it takes up to 5 workdays to answer your email. However, from our experience we can say that the most efficient way to communicate with Google in such a situation is by a form provided to you in the email informing of suspension.

What happened

Our horror started when we got an email and notification in the account saying that our Ads account is SUSPENDED. It sometimes happens and usually, it’s nothing serious. They block accounts to make you change things that don’t align with the rules. We always take care of keywords, accounts and ads, so we were very surprised by this information. The only information that we’ve learned from the notification is that our account is suspended, because it doesn’t comply with their policies:

account suspended

When we found which exactly campaign wasn’t good in their meaning we discovered that it had been reported of including sexual themes! It had to be a misunderstanding. Our advert was promoting OpenMRS – one of our bigger partners. It implements open-source software for hospitals and clinics in developing countries for free. 

account suspended

The situation was very strange. After all, we started by removing this advert from our account with all keywords and ad groups. It didn’t work. The account was still blocked. 

Remember to not promote other websites than yours, because it’s also one of the principles in their policies. We can’t find out if that was also our mistake, but if you want to promote another website, first send Google a special form. 

A few days later…

A few days later we got an email that our website doesn’t comply with Google Ad Grants policies. These are points which didn’t figure on our website:

  • The commercial activity must not be the purpose of your website. This includes sales of products and services, offering consultations, generating leads, and providing referrals.
  • Sites resembling businesses or for-profit blogs/vlogs are not permitted. 
  • Any limited commercial activities must describe how they support your mission.
  • If your organization charges for products or services, your website must describe how your organization uses funds, for example by disclosing an annual report.
  • Your website may not make claims that promise results only after a consultation, service, or purchase.
  • Your organization must serve the public in some way, rather than only those who pay for a service.

We moved from sending/reading notifications in account to an email conversation. And then we knew that we had a big problem. Google very rarely checks your website by a human. They have too many clients and accounts so almost always you chat with a computer or your account is checked by algorithms/bots. We had a huge problem as they decided to give us a consultant which talked with us and tried to solve our problem and help us. (However, they were very kind and professional).

Getting back suspended account

Solving the problem wasn’t easy. They wanted multi-pages websites, documents and statements which would confirm that services provided to our partners are charity-based. Also reports and information about our activity and earnings. 

We talked with them for almost 2 weeks when they suddenly stopped answering. We were still blocked, our account didn’t work and they didn’t answer us. There couldn’t be a more stressful situation for an organization which acts on the Internet. Our last opportunity was to send a form. Which is used to unblock accounts (remember that we had blocked an account because of the website). We didn’t think that it would help, because we had already done it. But it was the last thing we could do before capitulation. And what’s more surprising, it worked. A few days and one email later we got the information that our account is ready to use.

Suspension was beaten

We were very happy because we felt the power of Google and its domination over the Internet. There is no second browser with such a program for nonprofits. There is no second browser with so many users and opportunities to develop the organization. It was quite disturbing to realize how one company has such a big influence and control over millions of users and organizations. How easy it can block them and lead their organization into ruin. 

It was a very stressful situation for me. But I’m very happy that it is over and really grateful for Google that they decided to unblock us. We have learned a lot. Especially patience, endurance, humility and to be calm whatever you’re doing because that is the last thing which could save you.

Google Ad Grants: program policies

In order to prevent a situation similar to our story, it is important to be well-informed about the program policies which, if not followed, can lead your account to suspension. There is a list of requirements that must be met in order for your website to comply with Google Ad Grants rules. 

There are a few main Google Ad Grants eligibility criteria that you have to fulfill in order to stay enrolled in the program:

  1. NGO: Your organization must be a valid nonprofit, non-governmental organization that doesn’t make money on its services. If you have a payable service, you need to provide detailed information on what the collected money is spent on. 
  2. Mission-Based Campaigns: You have to be using keywords that are providing the context specific for your organization’s purpose, and that are not too general. The message in your ads needs to be relevant.
  3. High Quality Website: It is required for you to maintain a high quality website that complies with the website policies.
  4. Active Account Management: You are obligated to actively manage your account, regularly check notifications and work on improving your ads.

Aside from the above criteria, there are more rules that need to be followed in order not only for your account to comply with the Google Ad Grants policies, but also for your campaigns to be successful:

  1. No single-word keywords permitted.
  2. No overly generic keywords permitted.
  3. No keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 permitted.
  4. Must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month.
  5. Must have valid conversion tracking, if applicable.

About your account structure:

  1. Must have at least 2 ads per ad group.
  2. Must have at least 2 ad groups per campaign.
  3. Must have at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.
  4. Must respond to program survey.

For the full Ad Grants Policy Compliance Guide check here.

You can also watch this video to learn the basics of successful Ad Grants campaigns:

Common reasons for account suspension

Google lists the most common reasons for account suspension. To prevent it from happening, be sure to not make the following mistakes:

  1. Product policy violation.
  2. Organization loss of nonprofit status. 
  3. Organization does not meet Google for Nonprofits eligibility criteria.
  4. Organization needs re-verification.
  5. Repeated violations.

More details about suspended accounts and disapprovals and suspensions.

What should you do if your account gets suspended?

First, and the most important – do not panic. Calmness and patience are your best friends in this situation. Second  – do not lose hope! It might take some time, but you have high chances of eventually retrieving your account.

If you’ve been blocked by Google, follow these steps, until you find the solution to your specific case:

  1. If your account gets blocked, Google will send you an email with information. The first thing you need to do is to carefully read their message. Once you learn what kind of problem they have found on your website or in your ads, fix it immediately.
  2. Additionally, we would recommend you to review your whole website and all of your ads, to make sure that nothing goes against Google Ad Grants terms and policies. Here is how you can review your ads campaigns and fix a disapproved ad.
  3. Once you are sure that you’re not breaking any rules, write an email to inform Google about the changes that you have made.
  4. You can also fill the form that will be provided to you and also send it.
  5. Remember to restrain yourself from making any big changes on your website, once you’re waiting for Google’s reply.
  6. Now all you can do is wait and hope that your account will be unblocked.

As you could see in our example, sometimes the suspension case can get more complicated. Our advice is to never give up. When we did everything we could and a consultant from Google stopped replying to our emails, our situation was rather dramatic. However, we decided to try once more and we have filled the form. Miraculously, it worked. Therefore, be patient, positive and hopeful. It can save your account from suspension. 

We hope that our story and our tips will help you. Good luck!

Other suspension cases that can be helpful:

Non-Profit email trial ended, locked out of email
Unlinking closed account from Google for Nonprofits
Suspension of Ad grants account: Circumventing systems and Malicious software

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