Google announced that it will now require identity verification from advertisers using Google Ads around the world. This required verification process for individuals and private businesses comes as a surprise for many advertisers, but this is really just an expansion of their 2018 policy update for political advertisements.
During the midterm elections, Google announced that people and organizations who wish to run elections ads would need to verify their identity first. This decision was made in an effort to increase transparency for users and let them know where these targeted political ads were coming from, and it has since spread to more than 30 countries around the world.
The demand for transparency in political elections makes sense, as it gives voters the chance to take a look behind the scenes and understand who is financially backing political candidates. As the old saying goes, “If you want to know the truth, follow the money.”
But does this same demand for digital advertising transparency make sense for businesses? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Why does Google Want to Verify Advertisers?
According to John Canfield, Director of Product Management, Ads Integrity, “We’re committed to giving our users transparency, choice, and control when it comes to the digital ads they see on our platforms.”
As with every other change that Google has rolled out over the years, it’s all in the name of improving user experience. The push for increased ads transparency will give users a clear understanding of where ads are coming from, along with the option to opt out of receiving ads from anyone they don’t wish to do business with.
Certain pieces of information provided by the advertiser to Google will become visible for the user by clicking on a small arrow next to the blue link on search results. The drop-down box will contain advertisers’ identities and countries of operation. Upon reviewing this information, the user will be able to click on a small switch if they no longer wish to see ads from that business, organization, or individual.
How does it Work?
In Google’s announcement, they stated that by this summer, they will implement the program in the United States, and the worldwide rollout will come soon afterward. They believe that it will take at least two years to complete the verification program for all Google Ads accounts.
Google will send notifications to any advertiser that requires verification, and they will see a red bar at the top of the screen when they enter their Google Ads accounts. They will be prompted to submit documentation to prove their identity or that of their company, depending on the type of Google Ads account they have.
It is important to note that you can not change your account type, so if you have an “Individual” account but need to verify your identity as a business, Google suggests that you create a new account to continue running ads on its platforms.
Google will now require all advertisers to submit all of the requested documentation within 30 days of the initial request, and failure to submit the documentation will result in Google stopping ads on its platform for that user. Also, businesses who misrepresent themselves or fail to submit all the required documentation may have their accounts suspended or paused.
The verification process will require all advertisers to confirm their identity, country of origin, and EIN (for businesses) in order to continue to advertise on Google.
What are the Requirements for You?
As stated previously, Google will send a verification email to the address associated with each account. The account holder will need to submit the requested documentation for their account to confirm their name, address, country of operation, and other information regarding their business.
After the verification email has been returned, the account holder will then need to perform an in-account verification by submitting the same documentation in their Google Ads account.
Google partners who manage multiple accounts for other businesses that require identity verification can submit documentation for the accounts that they manage, but they will need to prove their identities individually.
Businesses and advertising agencies that attempt to misrepresent themselves by providing false information to verify their identity may have their Google Ads accounts suspended.
How will this Affect Advertisers Going Forward?
Certain types of advertisers might be prioritized to complete the verification program first. Organizations and individuals who advertise on Google under any of the following categories may be selected among the first as Google rolls out its new requirements across its Ad network.
- Media and entertainment, retail, travel, technology, B2B, etc.
- Content that promotes educational resources, research, statistics, gratuitous health or financial guidance, charitable and social causes, etc.
- Financial products or services, gambling and games, healthcare products or services etc.
Digital advertising agencies and businesses may be required to complete the identity verification program periodically, but those who follow Google Ads policies should not have their service interrupted.
Google’s new verification program for increasing transparency is undoubtedly far-reaching in its ambitions. Contacting, logging, and verifying all of the information they are requesting will take years and thousands of hours to complete.
This new measure for “ads integrity,” once only intended for political advertisers running election ads, is meant to protect the user from unwanted ads, but what will it mean for advertisers? Some people in the industry fear that the small size of the drop-down arrow next to the PPC link will result in unintentional clicks, resulting in extra costs for advertisers.
However, as long as users and advertising agencies follow Google’s policies, they shouldn’t see any lapse in their digital ad campaigns.
If you have any questions or would like to share your opinion, leave us a comment below. Be sure to check back for the latest search engine news.