Google will soon require all advertisers to verify their identities before buying ads
Google has announced it will require all advertisers to complete a verification process in order to buy ads on its network, the company said Thursday. The search giant’s move arrives as publishers grapple with combating ads of questionable refute amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2018, Google introduced a similar identity policy for political advertising, which it is now using as a blueprint for its latest initiative.
Under the new protocol, advertisers must submit personal identification, such as business incorporation documents, to prove who they are and where they operate in order to complete the process, Google says. The company adds that users will see the changes this summer under the company’s “Why this ad?” menu.
Given the scale of the initiative, Google says it is taking a phased approach, meaning not all advertisers will be immediately impacted. The company is instead inviting marketers to complete the verification process. Once notified, they will have 30 days to complete the program; marketers who fail to do so will have their accounts suspended and won’t be allowed to buy ads through Google's platform or through the publishers it works with, according to the company.
“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,” wrote John Canfield, director of product management and ad integrity at Google, in a blog post. “It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”
Although the company previously requested information from advertisers, it did not ask for documentation. Google says adding more layers of verification will allow it to determine more effectively bad actors from the start.
Google will start by verifying advertisers in phases in the U.S. and continue to expand globally. Overall, it expects the process to “take a few years to complete,” according to a spokeswoman. The company will use both tech and humans in its approval process, which it says will take three to five days once submissions are received.
The move builds on previous efforts from the tech giant to evolve digital advertising. In 2016, it debuted ad personalization settings and tools that allowed users to mute ads or glean insights as to why Google is showing them the ad they're seeing, for example.