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Google Blocks 5.5 Billion Bad Ads, Leverages AI For Improved Ad Safety

Google's 2023 Ad Safety Report details what they did to keep its platforms safe for users, advertisers, and publishers.

  • Google's use of generative AI and machine learning has led to increased ad enforcement.
  • Google blocked 5.5 billion bad ads and restricted 6.9 billion ads in various content areas.
  • Google is taking measures to ensure election integrity and combat ad fraud and scams.

Google announced the release of the 2023 Ads Safety Report to demonstrate its commitment to safe and transparent advertising for users and businesses.

The ad safety report shares progress on how Google enforces advertiser and publisher policies and the key trend in 2023: generative AI.

Read on for insights shared within the report and what they mean for advertisers.

Advertiser Policy Enforcement Insights

The main driver of increased ad enforcement has been, without a doubt, generative AI.

While traditional machine learning models are still trained to detect and alert of ad policy violations, Google is leveraging its generative AI tool, Gemini, for ad safety tools.

According to the ad safety report, more than 90% of publisher page enforcement used machine learning models and LLMs (large language models) in 2023.

Another staggering metric reported was the number of bad ads stopped in 2023: 5.5 billion.

The top five policies Google enforced the most in 2023 include:

  1. Abusing the ad network
  2. Trademark
  3. Personalized ads
  4. Financial services
  5. Legal requirements.

Another key trend in 2023 was the rise of scams and fraud across online platforms.

Digital marketing isn’t sheltered from these types of scams, which is why Google took the following measures to combat these threats:

  • The Limited Ads Serving policy launched in November 2023. The policy intends to protect users by limiting the reach of lesser-known advertisers who don’t have an established track record of good ad behavior.
  • Updated the misrepresentation policy in late 2023. The policy enables a more swift response from Google to suspend accounts of bad actors.

Google blocked over 1 billion ads for violating the “abusing the ad network” policy.

Almost 7 Billion Ads Restricted in 2023

Another component of ad safety comes in the way of restricting or limiting ads.

According to Google’s report, they restricted 6.9 billion ads in the following content areas:

  • Legal requirements
  • Financial services
  • Gambling and games
  • Adult content
  • Copyright
  • Healthcare and medicine
  • Alcohol

Now, restricting ads doesn’t mean they were entirely blocked. The categories listed above can be shown to users but on a much more limited basis.

Google Invests in Election Integrity

Each election year, users are inundated with countless political advertisements.

2024 is, and will be, no different.

Per the ad safety report, Google takes the following measures to ensure voter trust in the ad content they’re viewing:

  • Identity verification process
  • Transparency requirements for election ads
  • Restrictions on how election advertisers can target their ads
  • Must include a “paid for” disclosure in their ads

Publisher Enforcement Insights

The other aspect of Google’s ad safety report includes enforcing restrictions on publishers who monetize their content.

In 2023, over 2 billion pages were taken action against by Google.

The top five areas Google enforced restrictions the most included:

  1. Sexual content
  2. Dangerous or derogatory content
  3. Weapons promotion and sales
  4. Shocking content
  5. Online gambling


As the use of generative AI continues to increase, the industry will likely see an increase in ad fraud and more restrictions.

While AI and machine learning increasingly detect ad disapproval, advertisers must remain proactive in monitoring their accounts for potential false red flags.

If you’re a new advertiser on Google this year, it’s important to note that, due to Google’s ad safety policies, your ads may be limited while it learns who you are as an advertiser.

You can read the full 2023 ad safety report here.


Category News PPC
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Brooke Osmundson Director of Growth Marketing at Smith Micro Software

Brooke serves as the Director of Growth Marketing at Smith Micro Software, with over 10 years of paid media experience. ...

Google Blocks 5.5 Billion Bad Ads, Leverages AI For Improved Ad Safety

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