Google steps up on ad policies; blocks 2.7 billion bad ads, 1.2 million publisher accounts in 2019

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May 04, 2020 2:23 PM

The company set up a dedicated COVID-19 task force with new detection technology to analyse the quality and authenticity of ads during the pandemic

Google blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019Google blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019

At a time when uncertainty has grown over the world with the spread of Covid-19 massacre, Google has taken several steps to protect the interest of the users by ensuring advertisers do not take advantage of the crisis. The company has set up a dedicated COVID-19 task force to analyse the quality and authenticity of ads during the pandemic. The platform has also blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads in 2019 to provide a safer platform for interaction between publishers and consumers. “We’ve blocked and removed tens of millions of coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits,” Scott Spencer, vice president, Product Management, Ads Privacy and Safety, Google, said.

Moreover, it has suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations. On the publisher side, Google terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages for violating the policies. “Terminating accounts—not just removing an individual ad or page—is an especially effective enforcement tool that we use if advertisers or publishers engage in egregious policy violations or have a history of violating policy,” Spencer claimed.

In its attempt to tackle the growing problem of phishing and trick-to-click ads, the company, last year, created a separate internal team to track these advertisers. “As a result, we saw nearly a 50% decrease in bad ads served in both categories from the previous year. In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019.”

With more businesses now moving online, Google is also adopting and adapting to policies and technology across industries. According to Spencer, certain industries are particularly susceptible to malicious behaviour. For example, as more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, we identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms. To combat this, we broadened the policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app so that users can make informed decisions. “This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of these types of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018.”

Read Also: Why agencies call Google’s plan to ‘control’ unwarranted ads a ‘smart’ move

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