The AdWords Manual Review

If you’re not familiar with the exciting adventure that is an AdWords Manual Review, heed my warning. It’s one of those clauses they hide in the terms and conditions and has little to no flexibility on either scheduling one or finding out more about them- like why your account was flagged in the first place.

The Unexpected Review

I had a client who does very well on weekends, especially holiday weekends. So as you can imagine, I nearly had a heart attack when I logged in and saw this drop during Christmas week:


Nothing in the user interface showed what was going on. Everything was showing as eligible, landing pages were functioning, billing showed that everything was operational, so what was going on?

A call to the 1-866 number revealed that the account had undergone a two day manual review. Supposedly an email had gone out to the primary email associated with the account, but the rep couldn’t verify that actually happened. Even if it did, I know the receiving end (the CEO) didn’t forward it to anyone.

After the Review

The “reassurance” that nothing was found to be wrong and that the account was running just fine is little consolation for the pile of conversions I should have had. Not being told why it happened in the first place didn’t make things better either.

What bothered me most was not that they did it – I get that agreeing to Google’s endless terms and conditions not only signs away my first born, but also gives them the right to do things like this – my problem is that the Google team gave me no chance to work with them and schedule the review for a different time – maybe not during a busy ecommerce weekend. Or maybe I could have received some sort of warning in the user interface that says something like “Your ads are off. Don’t panic!”

All I could think of is the South Park episode where everyone in South Park has read the 56 pages of the Apple Terms & Conditions but Kyle.

That’s it really- just be aware, it really does happen and it’s rather unpleasant. Has anyone else experienced the dreaded AdWords Manual Review?

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  1. Luckily, I’ve only had it on relatively new accounts, but it is maddening. Client is chomping at the bit to launch, you’ve worked nights and weekends to build the campaign, you pull the trigger, and nothing happens. You call the rep (if you’re lucky enough to have one), and they say “Oh, everything’s fine – it’s just under review.” Sure, everything’s fine – EXCEPT WE’RE NOT MAKING ANY MONEY AT ALL. Other than that, it’s awesome. Oh, and ETA? You know, whenever they get around to it.

  2. I’ve had this happen twice on new accounts but never on an established account. It’s maddening because there’s no indication of what’s wrong. I spent hours troubleshooting the first time it happened. It was 4 days before I had the account up and running The second time it happened I called them up right away after noticed ads weren’t running. There was no email sent out or notice of any kind. They show you notices for everything else under the sun, why not for an account review…

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