4 Things You Need To Do Before The Next Ad Crackdown

by | Feb 1, 2018 | PPC

If you’re a financial or health publisher using Adwords, you are probably aware that over the past weekend Google began to apply a very strict interpretation of their “Misleading Content” policy (without any warning to advertisers!). This sudden change in policy earned many companies a harsh slap.

On the surface, Google’s latest slap seems to involve ad claims with a tone of “fear” and “greed,” particularly with results claims (even with back up!). While the ad disapprovals are not entirely restricted to crypto-related campaigns, we suspect bitcoin and crypto-related ads have been the catalyst for this crackdown.

However, the crackdown is not limited to Google. Facebook also announced a blanket ban on bitcoin and cryptocurrency ads – a clear indication of how far-reaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be.

Luckily, it’s not all doom-and-gloom.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Charles Robert Darwin

First, we need to take steps to create copy that ad platforms want to see, by minimizing the fear approach, and limit time-based gain claims. But we still need a long-term solution to stay ahead of the game in the harsher compliance atmosphere.

Following the steps below, you can help sidestep (or even avoid) ad suspensions when Google and Facebook strikes the next time:


Diversification is not just a buzzword. Neither is it as simple as making sure that you have a couple of different ads out there.

An expansive approach to diversity grants us a larger level of protection against the shifting demands of advertising compliance.

What do I mean by expansive?

1. Amp Up Your Channels

It’s easy to find one ad platform that gives you a solid win and where you can pour money into it to scale. In light of the recent Google and Facebook crypto clamp down, we’re reminded that these two platforms aren’t enough. Having said that, they still make up almost 70% of digital media spend. So, for serious scale and for the best audience targeting, you still want to be on them.

However, you also need to get beyond the reaches of Google and Facebook.

Native Ad networks are the best places to start running crypto (and your other diversified campaigns). They’re still in a bit of a Wild-Wild West area of development and many of them are steadily becoming mainstream. However, they offer (in many cases) fewer compliance hurdles.

It seems like every day there’s a new ad platform and a new network. Keep testing these networks so that when a slap happens, you’ve got alternative sources to find customers.

2. Benefit From Multiple Accounts

As a new best practice, start creating a new account for each domain you’re advertising. At AIM, we’re also discussing the merits of a new account for each promo you want to advertise.

You’ll want to create these accounts in advance as much as possible.

What’s the benefit of this?

First, it gives you a clean slate to start over if you have a new account ready and waiting for a campaign (re-boot).

Second, the more we compartmentalize our campaigns and spread out the spend, the more chance we have of staying under the policy radar. It also aids us in diagnosing if a slap is the result of aggressive ad copy or something a bit more “big brother,” like a domain suspension.

3. Get Creative With Creative

If you’ve got a successful promo and you really want to scale, but don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, there’s another way to scale.

Think horizontally.

Rather than pushing all your ad spend and efforts into the same creative, come up with a new approach. An angle that winds up in the same place, but speaks to a new audience.

At The Agora, we love the “fear” and “greed” angles… but as you probably know, ad platforms take issue with them.

So why not try other strong emotive copy that appeals to guilt, trust, anger, gratitude and exclusivity?

Combined with a new ad account, this gives you more scope when an ad platform takes exception to your creative. The fact is, ad networks favor a variety of ads. They want to keep it fresh for users. Especially on Facebook when negative feedback on an ad can trigger disapprovals. Bottom line: get creative with your creative.

4. Covering All Your Bases

Sometimes we forget that we’re in the business of building relationships. We often charge right in, with our main focus on the first sale… and then the upsell… and the cross-sell… and the down-sell.

Of course, we are also in the business of selling. As a result, we’ve pushed the boundaries on sales copy, increased refund rates and chargebacks, and have drawn a lot of attention to ourselves in the process. This attention results in increased scrutiny.

So how do we combat this?

Layer in 2-step and 1.5-step campaigns to run alongside the 1-step campaigns. With 2-step and 1.5-step campaigns, there’s no immediate sale to make and the copy does not need to be as aggressive.

With 2-step and 1.5-step campaigns you also build an armour against compliance slaps, because your focus is building a free list. That list is a relationship-builder for you. You will nurture these customers with great content and a consistent service over time. This will ensure that they continue to buy from you even when Ad platforms are shutting the door on you. Add more leads to your free file and promote more aggressive copy to the customers you know are already on side.

Get your promos out in multiple formats – VSL, HTML and Advertorial. A policy analyst or regulator might read your entire HTML page, but may not view the entire VSL. Or vice versa. An advertorial will allow you to spark interest while also providing an editorial focus – something that policy analysts often favour. Push a little more spend behind the advertorial while you update a VSL.

Employing different approaches like the ones I’ve discussed will allow you to respond quickly to heavy-handed crackdowns, like the ones we’ve just experienced. You can be sure these won’t be the last ad policy changes that we’ll see… there will be more to come.

But there’s no need to fret. We’ll keep you posted on any new developments and continue to give guidance on how best to adapt to the changing field.

P.S. Look out for our discussion on FB live this coming Friday, where we’ll talk more about this topic. You can access our Facebook Page here