Google announced today they will begin requiring documentation of user identity and geographic location for advertisers.
The new policy is tied to their 2018 policy update requiring identification verification for political advertisements.
Requirements for Advertisers
The verification program will include:
- Personal identification methods
- Business incorporation documents
- Possibly other items to verify who they are
- Operating geography
The program will start in the U.S. and roll out globally, and will apply to Search, Display, and YouTube.
Google noted they believe it will take a few years to complete verification for the entire ad ecosystem.
Certain industries will be prioritized in the phased roll out, and will be notified accordingly. They will have 30 days to submit the required verification upon receiving notice it is required. Once submitted, it takes about 3-5 for Google to verify.
Failure to submit the information within 30 days will result in ads being stopped.
Disclosures will show the trademarked/legal name of the advertiser, and not the entity who is necessarily managing the ads.
This means agencies who run ads on behalf of a client will not be required to verify. However, a Google rep stated agencies and Google Partners will be able to submit on behalf of their clients.
Related: Read to learn more about Google Ads Certification.
What Changes for User Experience in Ads
Tied to this change, users will start to see disclosures on ads about the identity of the advertiser.
It will appear below the “Why this Ad?” option.
The information will include Advertiser name, country location, and a toggle option to stop receiving ads from them.
In Display, the information will be available via the Ad Choices icon, or the “x” that appears on the banner.
In YouTube, the information will be available by clicking the “i” icon or the three dot icon that appears in every ad.
Why Google Ads Will Require Verification
In continuing strides towards ads transparency, Google is attempting to “provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them,” according to the announcement from Jack Canfield, Director of Product Management, Ads Integrity.
“This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”
We will continue to follow this development as it unfolds.
Reception by paid search practitioners has been mixed. Concerns have been raised about the small arrow required to view the information. It’s close to the headline and could result in accidental ad clicks, costing the advertiser money.
Others are happy to see the change, noting the security aspect of keeping out illegitimate advertisers.
Image credit: Google