4 Things You Need to Know About Google's New AdWords Policies


Google is launching a “new and improved” AdWords Policy Center aimed at making policies more user-friendly and accessible to advertisers, according to an announcement buried in their AdWords Policy Help resources.

The current AdWords policies will remain in effect until “around September,” when the new center will launch.

So what's new? Google has released a preview of the new center alongside their announcement. Here's what you need to know about the changes.

new adwords policy

1. If you're in compliance now, you won't be a rule-breaker come September… well, most of you, anyway.

In their announcement, Google noted, "Almost all advertisers who comply with our current policies will also comply with the new policies."

Yes, there will be fundamental policy changes that will affect some advertisers more than others. There will be new restrictions on weapons, tobacco and fireworks advertising as per their Dangerous Products & Services Policy, as Google mentioned in their announcement.

There's more, though. For example, the policy on ads promoting Alcoholic Beverages changes from:

"Google restricts the promotion and sale of alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, and spirits."


"Google restricts the promotion of alcoholic beverages and drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages." (Emphasis mine.)

Interestingly, the list of prohibited actions in regards to the advertising of alcohol has been reduced from seven rules to six. Google removed this from the list:

"Do not depict violent or degrading behavior."

Clearly, each advertiser needs to go over the new policies with a fine tooth comb to see if any changes will affect your AdWords ads.

2. Seven broad policy areas are being reduced to four.

Google is promising to make their AdWords policies fewer in number, but also easier to understand. To that end, the amount of broad policy categories is being reduced.

google adwords policy

Will become:

adwords policy

What does this mean for advertisers? Simply, you should spend some time in the new Policy Center preview to get to know your way around.

3. Google AdWords is cracking down on content quality.

With this policy update, Google is cracking down on content quality on the paid side in the way their organic search team did with Panda.

In the existing Policy Center, nefarious activities like cloaking/gaming and phishing were housed within a policy category called “User Deception” under the Safety & Security banner.

Now, the policies surrounding these black-hat techniques are part of a Policy Center section called “Abuse of the Ad Network,” under Prohibited Practices.

The new Abuse of the Ad Network policy prohibits:

  • malicious ads, sites, or apps
  • ads promoting sites that offer little unique value to users and are focused primarily on traffic generation
  • businesses that attempt to gain an unfair advantage in the ad auction
  • businesses that attempt to bypass our review processes

In examples of content they don't allow, Google AdWords now points out “Low Quality Content,” which they define as:

  • Content that is designed for the primary purpose of showing ads, i.e. Driving traffic (whether through "arbitrage" or otherwise) to destinations with more ads than original content, little or no original content, or excessive advertising.
  • Content that is replicated from another source without adding value in the form of original content or additional functionality, i.e. mirroring, framing or scraping.
  • Landing pages that are solely designed to send users elsewhere, i.e. doorway pages, gateways.

Consider this one of the more potentially impactful policy updates.

4. Ad Format policies now live in Editorial & Technical Requirements.

If you're using call or sitelink extensions, TrueView video ads, AdMob ads or other types of ad units, you should review the new policies for each of your ad units.

These technical requirements used to live in the User Experience section of the policy center, but are moving to the Technical Requirements section of the new center.

Some, like the Sitelinks Extension and AdMob Ads policies, remain the same. The sections Character Limit, Editorial Standards and Mobile/Tablet Ads have been removed and either scrapped or integrated into other relevant policies.

Basically, you're going to want to go over the technical requirement policies for the types of ads you use, even if only as a refresher to ensure you stay compliant.

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Julio Vera
Jun 17, 2014

Good tips, thanks!!

sms gratis
Jun 17, 2014

excelent post. thank you

Jun 19, 2014

what about PC tech support company policy. Since september 2013 google has suspended all the PC techsupport companies adwords account. Are they going to unsuspend the adwords account of PC tech supportcompanies ? 

Troy Windscheffel
Jun 19, 2014

Admob policies remain the same, So just a quick question.Has anyone run any in app advertising for a gambling clients promoting their apps?I know you will have to have the URL whitelisted to go to the relevant app store, but is it possible to advertise a casino app through the admob network?

Didik Wahyudi
Jun 19, 2014

Online gambling business often use a doorway website to pass google policy. Let see what happen next with the new policy. 

Jun 19, 2014

Maybe this will prevent my ads from showing on websites that purely show ads! Thanks for sharing.

Oona Houlihan
Jun 20, 2014

For some reasons that always struck me as odd, Google seems to have "stricter" rules than Bing which results in those advertisers that struggle with Google's policies to "vote with their feet" and effectively google drives some traffic Bing's way, as it seems.

Jul 06, 2014

Very interesting article. I'm surprised you haven't mention the considerable change in Adult sites & content industry. Google Adwords has decide to stop the Adult industry advertisement to advertize through its tool. Tho it had allow it for at least the last 10 years. Did you know about that?

Jyoti Yadav
Jul 16, 2014

Thank you for this post... Honestly I was not updated with these facts. These will help me make necessary changes in my strategies.

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