Google recently announced that advertisers will be required to provide documentation of user identity and geographical location. This requirement began for political advertisers in 2018. Google’s goal is to complete verification of their entire ad inventory worldwide, although this will take several years.
The rollout of the new policy will be phased in by industry, starting in the US and then spreading globally. It will apply to ads on Search, Display and YouTube. Once notification is received by an advertiser, they will have 30 days to submit the required documentation. If the documentation is not received in time, the advertiser’s ads will be stopped.
The required documentation includes:
- Personal Identification
- Business incorporation documents
- Other identification verification as needed
- Geographic location of business
While disclosures will divulge the trademarked name or legal name of the advertiser, the name of another party managing the ads, if that is the case, will not be revealed.
In Search, disclosures will appear on the ads by clicking on “Why this ad?” which will appear in a separate dialogue box. The disclosure will include the advertiser’s legal name and country location, as well as a toggle button to stop ads from that advertiser. In Display, the disclosure information will be found in the Ad Choices icon. In YouTube, clicking on the “i” icon or three-dot icon will reveal the disclosure information.
One concern raised by advertisers is that the small size of the arrow needed to view disclosures could lead to inadvertent ad clicks because it’s close to the headline. These accidental clicks will cost the advertiser. Others, however, welcome this change, seeing it as a way to weed out illegitimate advertisers.