On 23rd April 2020, Google announced that they will need documentation of user-identity and geographic location for advertisers. This new policy, by Google, is basically an update of the 2018 policy that requires identity verification for political advertisements.
This update verification process will include:
- Business incorporation documents
- Personal identification methods
- Operating geography
- Other items to verify who they are
The program will first start in the U.S and then it will roll out globally. Google will apply this verification program to Search, Display, and YouTube.
According to Google, it might take a few years to complete the verification for the entire ad ecosystem. Some industries will be given preference in the phased roll out. They will be notified accordingly and given 30 days of a period to submit their required verification upon receiving notice. Once submitted, Google will take 3 to 5 business days to verify the documentation.
If the advertiser fails to submit the information within 30 days, the ads will be stopped as a result. However, the disclosure will show the trademarked or the legal name of the advertiser, not the entity who is managing the ads.
That means, the agencies don’t need to verify themselves who runs an ad on behalf of their client. However, the Google partners and Google rep stated agencies can be able to submit the documentation on behalf of their clients.
Now, it is to see what changes Google brings in the future in this verification process.
Changes made for user-experiences in Ads:
Tied to this change, users will see disclosure 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 through the Ad Choices icon or the “x” that appears on the banner. On 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?
Jack Canfield, the director of Product Management, Ads Integrity explains that in continuing strides towards ad transparency, Google is attempting to provide greater transparency and more information about the advertiser. In his own words,
“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.”
The reaction of paid search practitioners has been mixed. While some are unhappy with the update, some found quite happy in their words. According to some, paying for the accidental clicks from people trying to check the advertiser identity is no exciting news. Some are happy saying this verification process would keep the illegitimate advertisers away.