Advertisers Granted Exception to Google Adwords Display URL Policy

Last week I talked about the new Google AdWords Display URL policy in a blog post titled, “Google AdWords Display URL Policy Reaches Local PPC Advertisers”. In that post, I explained that the policy means “that the URL that shows in your ad absolutely must be the URL that visitors get to when they click on your ad.”

Unbeknownst to many people, the Google AdWords team has granted exceptions to the policy.

Recently, many Google Adwords advertisers, upon logging into your Google AdWords account, see the following message:

Google AdWords Display URL Policy The Google AdWords Display URL Policy was to go into effect on April 1, 2008. However, even though Google AdWords advertisers are still receiving these messages upon logging into their Google AdWords accounts, Google apparently is not enforcing this policy that they warned advertisers about. Google even went so far as to say in the Google AdWords “Inside AdWords” blog that “This policy will be strictly enforced regardless of past approvals and will apply to all advertisers, beginning on April 1st.”

Well, apparently Google is not enforcing this policy. They’re simply asking advertisers to make the change. And they are granting exceptions to certain Google AdWords advertisers.

I spoke today with ReachLocal, one of the companies mentioned in the previous post, and they have forwarded me a statement from Google regarding this policy:

“To ensure a positive user experience, we (Google) require that an ad’s display URL match its destination URL (the URL of the landing page). Exceptions to this policy are granted in limited situations where this agreement is not possible or would misrepresent the destination website. ReachLocal’s domains fall under the latter exception. ReachLocal uses a proxy technology that allows them to provide the same user experience on a ReachLocal domain that would be experienced on the display URL website. This is done for tracking purposes. Advertisers with ReachLocal will not be affected by the policy change.”

The policy appears to have been updated recently with new wording regarding Google’s enforcement (or lack of enforcement) of their Google AdWords Display URL policy:

While no immediate action will be taken on existing ads, we encourage you to make the necessary changes to all ads within your account. This will ensure that your ads run without being disrupted by future disapprovals related to this policy enforcement.

Note that your Quality Score will be effected if the URL that you display in your ad copy does not match the landing page that visitors land on when they click your ad. Keep in mind that this means that if your landing page URL does not match your display URL you will end up paying a lot more for your ad to be displayed on Google.

My personal recommendation is that if you advertise using Google AdWords, you should make sure that your display URL matches your landing page URL.