Google is making additional controls available that will let users see fewer ads related to gambling and alcohol.
“We’ve heard feedback that some people would prefer to limit ads in certain categories like alcohol,” wrote YouTube and video global solutions VP Debbie Weinstein in a blog post released Thursday.
The company said the change would be rolled out “gradually” as an opt-out option in its Ad Settings menu, and will first hit YouTube Ads in the U.S., then Google Ads and YouTube globally early next year. Google said the change would not affect policies for users in countries that have legal restrictions against serving gambling and alcohol ads.
Brand reaction has been largely muted. "We are accustomed to a diversified marketplace that doesn’t have consistent regulations, and we adjust our media mix accordingly," stated a spokesperson for online sportsbook Fanduel. The Beer Institute, a trade group representing brewers including Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev wrote that its members commit to advertising "only where at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be adults of legal drinking age."
"Google’s decision to allow its users to identify ads they don’t want to see will help even those of legal drinking age who prefer not to see alcohol advertising," wrote The Beer Institute.
Albert Thompson, managing director, digital at Walton Isaacson, said few users are likely to change those settings, and advertisers will likely find workarounds to reach their desired audiences. "That's what gets missed in a lot of this stuff," said Thompson, whose former clients included Jim Beam and Miller Coors. "It's all about what the end user is going to do or exercise."
When the controls are rolled out, users can access them through the Google Ad Settings page, which also includes options to turn off specific advertisers, interests, or turn off ad personalization altogether.