Update on Google’s New PPC Rules for Personal Loans

There have been some changes to the rules that you should know about.

As promised, Google rolled out new rules for personal loan sites advertising through AdWords. There have been at least one important change to the policy since it was first announced, so we wanted to make sure you are following the most up-to-date version of the policy.

To recap, these are the major points from Google AdWord’s new financial policy for personal loans:

  • You can’t promote loans on your landing page (or anywhere your landing page links to) that have an APR over 35.99% or a loan term of 60 days or less.
  • Your landing page needs to clearly show the following points about your loans (if you do not offer loans directly, then you will need to give a representation of these points based on what your third-party lenders offer): minimum and maximum period for repayment, maximum APR, and a representative example of the cost of the loan.
  • You need to include your contact information, including an address for a physical business location.
  • If you have third-party accreditation or endorsement seals on your site, you need to include links to those sites.

We’d like to point out that these rules replace the financial services rules Google AdWords previously had – but, these are not all the rules. You should really consult the policy page we linked to above and familiarize yourself with the entire policy. Also, it should be noted that Google’s rules are not the only rules you need to worry about. Make sure your sites adhere to any state or federal laws that may apply to you.

A Brief History

Last May, Google reached out to certain AdWords customers to announce upcoming changes to AdWord’s advertising policies. The announcement was a little light on details, but promised more information would be added to their Financial Services page later – “after the new policy goes into effect.” We would have preferred it if those details had been added a couple weeks before the policy started being enforced, but that’s not how it happened.

The 36% Rule

The rules ended up staying pretty close to what was originally outlined in the email sent out last May, with one notable change. In the email, the Google AdWords team said that advertisers would not be able to promote personal loans “with an APR over 36%”. That same “over 36%” language is used again on the policy page, but the page also says, “In the United States, we do not allow ads for personal loans where the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher.”

So which one is it? The answer is below 36%. Some advertisers have had to learn this the hard way by getting their site suspended. We hope you are able to make this change before that happens.

So, to summarize, the landing page you’re sending Google PPC traffic to needs to clearly state that the maximum APR of your loans (or any loan your site links to) is at most 35.99%. If you put 36% there, then Google’s bots may spot it and suspend your site.

Don’t Forget About those Seals

One rule that seems to have slipped between the cracks for a lot of sites is the one about including links in endorsement or accreditation seals. It’s understandable that you don’t want users to leave your site. But Google is requiring you to include links if you have seals.

What to Do if You’ve Been Suspended

Let’s say you didn’t realize the maximum APR couldn’t be over 35.99% and Google suspended your site. (If you don’t monitor your AdWords account every day, you should check right now to see if you’ve been suspended. Google doesn’t always send out an email to let you know one of your sites has been suspended.) What do you do now? Well, it’s actually pretty easy. All you have to do is update your site to the correct maximum APR (of course, check and make sure that the new APR is an accurate representation to what’s being offered), and then call Google AdWords and let them know your site has been updated. They will expedite the review process and your site should be unsuspended within 24 to 48 hours.

What About Payday Loans?

The new policy effectively made it impossible for payday loan sites to advertise their product on Google. You can still bid on “payday loan,” but you can’t drive that traffic to a traditional payday site.

So, if you search “payday loans” in Google, you’ll see ads show up. But if you click on one of the ads, you’ll most likely be taken to a site offering installment loans with a maximum APR of 35.99%.

We actually called Google about this to ask why it was okay for advertisers to promote a payday loan on the browser side, but then switch the product to an installment loan when the user reached the landing page. Google explained that they don’t see any difference between a payday loan, an installment loan, and a personal loan. They categorize them all as “personal loans.” So as long as the product has less than 36% APR and a loan term over 60 days, Google will let you send traffic to it. That’s even if you call it a payday loan.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of this post is to inform you of the most up-to-date financial policies for Google AdWords Customers. If you have any questions about this blog, please feel free to reach out to us. If you have questions about the policy itself, we recommend contacting your Google AdWords specialist.