Searches related to ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19’ are currently the highest trending search terms on Google. In the end, these terms might become the largest-ever searched terms in Google history.

With this known, many clients have asked if they can utilize ‘coronavirus’ or ‘COVID-19’ in their Google Ads. This might sound like a good idea, especially if you are utilizing the terms in your ads to say that you are open and available to service existing and new clients during this pandemic. However, we want to advise you that Google has officially updated its Inappropriate Content Policy as of March 31, 2020, to not allow these terms in ads. As a matter of fact, Google has actually considered these terms to be “sensitive in nature” since January.

What Is the Google Inappropriate Content Policy on Sensitive Content?

Google’s Inappropriate Content policy update focuses on events that are considered “sensitive in nature.” Their exact wording is as follows:

“The following is not allowed: Content that potentially capitalizes on or lacks reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, public health emergency, or other tragic event.”

One would think that letting your clients know that you are available would not apply to this statement. You are trying to do a good thing and be informative.

Why Did Google Make This Update?

Google made this update to protect its users. Many of the ads that were originally appearing for these search terms were from advertisers looking to profit by exploiting fear and misinformation. Examples include ads promoting coronavirus cures, price gouging cleaning products, and spreading fake news and conspiracy theories. 

So basically, a few rotten apples spoiled it for the rest of us. Google has decided to err on the side of caution and block these terms at this time, but remember, Google is constantly reviewing its policies and this may change in the future for certain industries.

So What Can I Do About My Ads?

The following are some simple actions you can do today to update your ads:

  • Follow Google’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Google Ads policy updates.
  • Update your ad headlines or descriptions to mention that you are available to serve clients and how you can service them.
  • Utilize extensions to help expand your message:
    • If you are utilizing call extensions, make sure that your listed phone number can be answered. If not, change it to a phone number that can be answered.
      • Run your ads when you are capable of answering phone calls at this phone number.
    • If you are utilizing location extensions, make sure that your phone number can be answered and that your operating hours are correct. These changes are made in your Google My Business listing.
      • Run your ads when you are capable of answering phone calls at this phone number.
    • Add callout extensions to mention that you are available and can service both new and existing clients. Let them know that you can do phone or video consultations.
    • Add site link extensions to link clients to where they can schedule a consultation or any additional pertinent information. 

In closing…

The most important thing you can do with your ads is to work within Google’s policies, but still show how you are addressing the needs of new and existing clients. These simple updates can address that. 

Remember, even though your physical office may be closed, your firm is open and available. As you look to manage your expenses, do not waste your click cost on inaccurate information!