If you have ever had a Google Ads account suspended, you know the fear, panic, and confusion that sets in when you see the message in your account. Why did this happen? How do we fix it? Who can we call? Will we ever be able to run ads again?
Don’t panic. There is hope that you can get your ads running again.
Naturally, your first reaction to any problem is to head straight to our favorite search engine and to Google “why is my Google Ads account suspended?” You will see a variety of links to Google support articles as well as lots of discussions on various message boards as this happens to a lot of advertisers.
Some of the common reasons for Google suspending an account are:
- Violation of a Google Ads policy
- Age requirements
- Non-compliance with the Ads Grant policy
- Unauthorized account activity
- Billing and payment issues
- Circumventing Systems policy
You can visit the appropriate Google Support page for additional information on these policies. There is a laundry list of reasons under each category which may help you figure out what you have done to warrant a suspension.
We recently had three Google Ads suspension hit us all at once. Two were suspended for billing and payment issues and one for circumventing systems. After reading the policies, we were still confused as to what the problem was in all three cases. We knew the credit cards were valid and accepting charges. So, what were the billing problems? There was nothing listed in the circumventing systems policy that we could identify as causing a violation. So, what do we do now?
In speaking with the two clients who had billing issues, we found out two items of interest:
1) In one case, the client had a maiden name still listed on her credit card, but it was not the name listed on the Google Ads account.
2) In the other case, the client does business under a DBA (Doing Business As). The credit card was entered with the name matching the DBA, but this did not match the company billing name on the credit card.
Confident that these differences may have been causing our suspensions, we searched and searched for a phone number to call Google to fix the problems. You can imagine our delight when we finally found a number. Our delight quickly turned to disappointment when we heard the message “Due to COVID-19, Google support is not taking calls at this time”. Back to the drawing board.
Continuing to search online, we found that Google also has a tool called “How to fix a suspended account.” We happily went through the troubleshooting guide and arrived at the “Appeal” screen. For the two accounts with payment suspensions, we filled out the required information, added every detail of information we had, and submitted the appeals.
Hours later, we received emails with our support case ID numbers. The messages each said they would review the account in approximately five business days and that the issue was being shared with the wider team for review.
At the five-business day mark, we replied to the emails from the ads support team to see if there was an update. While this does go to a generic email address, it is a monitored mailbox. After six business days, we received emails back on the two accounts with payment issues letting us know the suspension had been lifted. A support representative offered to have a call with us to discuss the issue for one of the accounts. After the call, here is what we learned:
- Policy violations are triggered by computer-generated checks and verifications;
- Appeals are then reviewed by a wider team to verify if they are valid;
- The support person was unable to tell us exactly what triggered the violation;
- The support staff does not have direct access to the “wider team”, nor do they get additional details after an appeal is reviewed;
- Payment and credit card violations can be triggered by something as minor as a difference in capitalization. Be sure to enter everything exactly as it is on your credit card to avoid violations;
- Submitting an appeal is the best way to communicate with Google on suspensions.
The third account with the Circumventing Systems violation was still a mystery to us. We submitted an appeal detailing that we did not understand the reason for the suspension and asking for information. After about 10 days, we received an email saying our account was no longer suspended and the ads began to run. 24-hours after that email, the account was suspended again for Circumventing Systems policy. We had no idea if this was the same trigger as before or something new.
Now what? Everything we read warned us about the dangers of submitting multiple appeals. According to posts by others, submitting additional appeals without new information could lead to a permanent suspension. Clearly, we were hesitant to submit a second appeal after reading this.
We held a call with the company hosting the website to review Google’s Circumventing Systems policy. The hosting service was unable to find any issues that were relevant to the policy. The only item that was discovered was that there were a few links on the current site that went to an old site when the company operated under a different name. In speaking with our client, we learned that they used to operate under a different name and different Federal ID number. Years prior, they split into two different companies with two Federal ID numbers. Could this be enough to trigger a violation of this caliber? We didn’t think so, but it was at least additional information that we could provide to Google.
Since we hadn’t found any concrete information that could lead to a suspension, we decided to take the chance and submit a second appeal. We thoroughly outlined the history of our Ads account, the steps we took to understand the policy, the changes we made to the website regarding removing the old links, and the change in the company’s name and Federal Tax ID number. Then, we sat and waited.
About 12 days later, we were delighted to finally receive an email stating that the account was being reactivated for the second time. While our frustration that these accounts were suspended in the first place was still there, we were grateful that all three accounts were able to be reactivated. We would we love to know the exact reasons that these accounts were suspended in the first place.
Understanding the process that we need to go through to lift a suspension reduces the panic we will feel if this ever happens again.
Steps To Take If Your Ads Account Is Suspended
- Read the policy carefully.
- Investigate and fix any issues that may be causing the suspension.
- Use the troubleshooting guide.
- Submit an appeal including as many details as possible about the fixes you have made or what may be causing the suspension.
Google takes account violations very seriously and is trying to maintain a healthy advertising environment. They will reactivate accounts only where there’s a good reason. Take the time to be detailed, honest, and accurate in your appeal and hopefully you will be on your way to successfully advertising with Google again.
We’ve been in business since 2005 and have managed Ads accounts for hundreds of clients, so it was shocking to us to experience multiple account suspensions at once! We’d only seen one or two in our entire history, and never for something as scary as “circumventing systems.” We’re happy to say that each client successfully getting great leads now that their accounts are running consistently.