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Google Plans New Advertiser Verification Process

At the end of April, Google announced that they plan to extend their identity verification for all Google Ads advertisers, which will provide greater transparency for searchers and require more disclosure by advertising companies before they can run ads. So what are the implications of this change?

In 2018, Google introduced a new identity verification policy for political advertisers, so that they had to confirm their identity and this information was then made available to searchers when they hovered over the ads on Google. Now, Google has decided to extend this verification process to all advertisers, to provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them.

As part of this initiative, advertisers will be required to complete a verification program in order to buy ads on the Google network. They will need to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate. This will make it easier for people to see who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google, and also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting ‘bad actors’ and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.

Initially Google says they will start by verifying advertisers in phases in the US and then continue to roll this out globally. Some industry sectors will be prioritised, such as retail, education or regulated businesses such as gambling. Timescales are not known and may take several years to complete.

The main questions raised revolve around the process for identification and if this will slow down the start time for a new Google Ads account. However, Google indicates that advertisers who are required to complete the identity verification will be notified and given 30 days to submit documentation when a new account is created. They will then have 30 days to provide the required information, or ads will stop serving.

Ads that are then run by advertisers who complete the advertiser identity verification will contain a disclosure using the information provided during the verification program. This means that the advertiser’s name, or the name of the organisation or business they represent, and country, will be displayed in a disclosure ‘pop-up’ panel that is automatically generated by Google when a searcher hovers over the advert.

Google has published more detailed information about the verification requirements here, but these only apply to US advertisers at the moment.

If you’d like to know more about this change and when it might affect your market, please get in touch.