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Google announced recently that it is requiring advertisers to provide documentation of their identity and geographic location to be eligible to run ads on the platform.

The new policy is an expansion of similar restrictions put in place in 2018 requiring the advertisers behind political ads to provide identification verification.

How Advertisers Verify Their Identity

Google is rolling out the new policy in phases and will be selecting certain advertisers to verify themselves first. Specifically, Google says it will prioritize those who do the following across its Ad Network:

  • Promotion of products, goods, and services.
    • Examples: Retail, media and entertainment, travel, B2B, technology, etc.
  • Promotion of informational, advisory, or educational content.
    • Examples: Content promoting educational resources, research and statistics, free health or financial advice, charitable or social causes, etc.
  • Promotion of content related to regulated industries.
    • Examples: Gambling and games, financial products or services, healthcare products or services etc.

If selected, an advertiser will be required to provide documentation to verify their identity within 30 days. Accepted documentation will include:

  • Personal identification methods
  • Business incorporation documents
  • Possibly other items to verify who they are
  • Operating geography

If documentation is not provided within the 30 day limit, all ads will be stopped until the issue is resolved.

Google also says it will begin the program in the United States before rolling out globally. The new requirements will apply to every aspect of Google’s multi-faceted advertising platform, including Search, Display, and YouTube ads.

Currently, the company expects that it will take a few years to fully implement the program.

Notably, the information currently available suggests that Google is specifically focusing on the individuals or companies running the ads, not necessarily the individual managing the ads. This means your ad agency will likely be asked to verify your identity on your behalf.

New Disclosures For Ads

Part of the reason Google is requiring this information, is that it is beginning to add new disclosures about the identity of advertisers when displaying paid ads.

The disclosures are available below the “Why this ad?” option when clicking for more details.

The disclosure will include information about the advertisers’ name, country location, and will provide an option to stop showing ads from that advertiser.

Why Is Google Doing This?

As the company explained in its announcement, the new program is part of a larger effort to “provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them.”

Director of Product Management for Ads Integrity, Jack Canfield, elaborated by saying:

“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. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”

For more information, read Google’s announcement here or explore their additional guidance on the program here.

Google has been slowly shifting its online customer support from social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to solely using an online form. Now, the company is making it final.

Starting on January 1, 2020, Google says that it will no longer provide support through direct messaging on Google Ads’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Instead, customers seeking support will be directed to the online support form.

Why This Matters

In the past, many brands and advertisers had preferred to receive support through Google Ads’ social pages because they tended to be quick and allowed for easy clarification of issues that could arise.

The company says the decision to eliminate these support options was intended to streamline the process and improve security or spam risks.

“Customer security and success is paramount. Due to the growing global concern around spam and phishing, we are making an effort to resolve all Google product customer questions via 1:1 communication through direct email, phone or chat,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land. “Streamlining these channels will provide faster and more secure responses for all global customers.”

It should be noted that while Google will first direct customers to an online form, this tool then provides a number of ways to contact the company including by phone or email.

This week Google held its annual Marketing Live event to reveal the latest innovations in online advertising, and the latest ad units aim to provide a more consistent experience across all of Google’s advertising platforms while also introducing new ways to advertise across the web.

The new ad units, including Discovery ads, Gallery ads, and Showcase Shopping ads, are all highly visual and highly automated, relying on the same automation model as Universal App Campaigns.

Here’s what you need to know about all the newest ways to advertise with Google:

Discovery Ads

Google has used the “Discovery” section of its platform to highlight content and sites it feels may be relevant to your interests. Now, brands and websites can also target this section with ads in the Discovery area, visible under the search box in the Google mobile app, in Gmail under the social promotions tabs, and in the YouTube home feed.

As Google VP of Product Management Brad Bender explained during the Marketing Live event, Discovery ads are intended to be “visually rich, mobile first, and use the ‘power of intent’”, meaning the ad service relies strongly on signals from users like past site visits, app downloads, or video views.

The company says the Discovery feed now reaches more than 800 million users around the world, making this a highly attractive area to target with ads.

Gallery Ads

Another new format introduced at the Marketing Live event is Gallery ads, which present a carousel of swipeable images at the top of mobile search results. The carousel includes between four to eight images, with up to 70 characters of copy possible for each image.

Notably, this changes the way Google charges for ads. Gallery ads are paid for on a CPC basis, which means you are charged if someone clicks on the ad. However, Google also tracks how far a person swipes through the carousel. When they wipe past the third image in the sequence, that also counts as a “click” or form of engagement. This means that you may be paying for ad interactions that do not include an actual click or landing page visit.

In testing, the search engine says Gallery ads saw “25% more interactions” compared to other search ad formats. Though, it is unclear how the actual CTR of these ads stacks up.

Increased Visibility for Showcase Shopping Ads

Showcase Shopping ads have been around since 2016 as a way for retailers to highlight a curated list of products in non-branded searches (which Google says accounts for 40% of queries).

Now Google is expanding these ads to a variety of new areas of the platform, including Google Images, the Discover feed, and the YouTube feed.

The ads include a large main image, as well as smaller images. When clicked these ads expand to showcase a variety of relevant products from the retailer, and may include other information such as store locations or in-store availability.

Google’s “Shopping Ads” will start appearing within Google Images search results by default, as the company announced recently in an email to advertisers.

In the past, it was possible to display your shopping ads in Google Images by manually opting-in to the Search Partner Network. This is because Google Images was previously a part of the Search Partner Network.

However, that has all changed. Google Images is now a part of Google’s own search network, which makes it a default placement for shopping ads.

Notably, advertisers cannot opt-out of the placement currently, which Google says is a good thing for advertisers:

“If your campaigns are not currently opted into the Search Partner Network – your ads will start showing on Google Images and as a result there may be a 3-10% increase in traffic at lower cost-per-click and comparable conversion rates.”

Meanwhile, many advertisers question whether this is actually a change for the better. While some shoppers may frequent Google Images for a variety of reasons, it seems logical that they would be less purchase-focused than users actively searching Google’s shopping results.

You can read Google’s full email announcing the change below:

Google Images is now a part of the Search Network for Shopping ads

Hello,

Google Images is a visually rich surface and a key part of millions of users’ shopping journeys every day. Users frequently turn to Google Images for idea exploration, how-to guidance, product discovery and visual imagery related to key shopping categories like fashion, home and beauty.

We are excited to announce that we will be integrating Google Images into our core Search Network in late March. This means Shopping ads, that you are already familiar with, will now automatically be eligible* to appear in Google Images results when users are searching for relevant keywords.

What this means for your Shopping campaigns:

All of your Shopping ads will be automatically eligible* to serve on Google Images. You will no longer have to opt into the Search Partner Network to show Shopping ads on Google Images.

*For Europe only: if you are unsure what surfaces your ads show on, please check with your CSS.

If your campaigns currently run on the Search Partner Network – you may see a decrease in traffic coming in from Search Partner Network and an increase in traffic coming from the Search Network. This is because Google Images was previously a part of the Search Partner Network. Note: Historical Google Images traffic will not be re-categorized from the Search Partner Network to Search Network.

If your campaigns are not currently opted into the Search Partner Network – your ads will start showing on Google Images and as a result there may be a 3-10% increase in traffic at lower cost-per-click and comparable conversion rates.

Sincerely,

The Google Ads Team

Chances are, you’ve been calling Google’s ad platform “Google Ads” most of the time you talk about running ads on the search engine and its network. Now, Google is too. AdWords is being rebranded to simply “Google Ads” as part of an effort to simplify the search engine’s services.

Google is also consolidating its other advertising products into either the “Google Marketing Platform” and “Google Ad Manager.”

According to the company, the change is designed to make it easier for small businesses to take part in online advertising across a variety of channels.

“This is primarily a name change, but it is indicative of where we have been directing the product” over the past few years, said Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president for Google’s advertising services, at a press event announcing the change.

Google’s Advertising Trifecta

From now on, Google’s ad platform will be split between three major brands – Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager

Google Ads

Google Ads will encompass all of the services previously provided by AdWords, which Ramaswamy said will act as “the front door for advertisers to buy on all Google surfaces.”

The switch to Google ads will also include a significant change to Google’s default advertising format. The company is launching a new default ad mode called Smart Campaigns, which is designed to prioritize the actions advertisers want most. This includes using machine learning to optimize images, text, and targeting to boost performance as the ad runs.

Google Marketing Platform

The Google Marketing Platform will combine the services previously provided by DoubleClick Digital Marketing and Google Analytics 360. This makes the Marketing Platform the source for high-end tools intended for large businesses or ad agencies.

This platform will also include a number of new features from DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, Studio, and Audience Center.

Google Ads Manager

The last brand announced this week is Google Ad Manager, which will combine all of Google’s monetization tools for publishers, such as the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers.

As Jonathan Bellack, director of product management for publisher platforms, explained, this is the result of a three-year-effort to merge the two products into a more integrated ad-buying service.

“These categories have just been breaking down for a while — all of our publishers already log into one user interface,” Bellack said. So the only thing that’s really changing is “the logo.”

The rebrand is believed to begin in July, but Google’s representatives say the ad platform will remain familiar and usable for everyone accustomed to Google’s services.

“The look and feel is going to change a little bit, but the core functionality is not changing,” said Managing Director for Platforms, Dan Taylor.

Don’t you wish you could somehow run one set of ads with the perfect headline for anyone who sees it, even when they have different needs or interests? AdWords is bringing that fantasy a little closer to reality with Responsive Search Ads.

These ad formats, currently in beta and available to some advertisers, allow you to set up one ad with multiple varying headlines and a few different descriptions which are alternated based on your advertising goal and the user’s intent.

Interestingly, these ads also get more screen real estate than standard text ads while Google is giving them a try.

The idea is to make your ad more versatile and to do the function of A/B testing for you without all the manual work. This also allows you to have a wider variety of keywords trigger your ads.

You can set up to 15 different headlines and four unique descriptions in a responsive search ad. With these, you can include headlines or descriptions for any scenario that might bring potential customers upon your services or products.

When shown, the ads will include up to three headlines instead of two, and up to two 90-character descriptions instead of the usual one 80-character description.

To best plan for this, Google recommends writing your first three headlines as if they will be shown together (in any order).

Google also suggests making headlines distinct by focusing on different features, benefits, or offers.

You can also “pin” certain headlines or descriptions into specific positions. This allows you to guarantee one headline will always be shown on top or a disclaimer is consistently positioned at the bottom of the ad.

Vides that automatically start playing with the sound cranked all the way up have long been the scourge of the internet. They’ve interrupted our listening to music, quiet browsing in public places, and they’ve even interrupted videos we actually want to watch!

This is why Google’s web browser, Chrome, is fighting back. The latest version for desktop devices will automatically disable the majority of videos from playing with sound automatically.

The only exception to Chrome’s new feature is videos that Google has reason to believe you are interested in. Specifically, this includes:

  • Videos you have played before
  • When you have clicked the screen at some point in your browsing session
  • Videos appearing on a site you have added to your home screen on mobile

It is notable that Google is not entirely blocking the videos that are designed to autoplay. Instead, it essentially pauses them until they are triggered manually.

Also, videos that autoplay without sound are still completely and totally okay with Google. They will continue to automatically begin playing, and may still be a viable advertising method if you include captions.

Google has released its latest “Bad Ads” report, which shows the search giant is cracking down harder than ever on ads that violate its advertising policies.

In total, the search engine and ad platform has removed over 3.2 billion ads in 2017, nearly doubling the 1.7 billion ads removed in 2016.

“That’s more than 100 bad ads per second!” writes Google’s director of sustainable ads, Scott Spencer.

The highlights from the report include:

  • 79 million ads were taken down for sending users to malware-laden sites.
  • 400,000 malware sites were blocked
  • 66 million “trick-to-click” ads were removed
  • 48 million ads that initiated unwanted software installation were banned

About a year ago, Google launched new brand safety controls for video and display ads. As such, they updated their policies to prohibit the monetization of inappropriate and controversial content. Reflecting these policy updates, Google reports it has removed 320,000 publishers that violate publisher policies, blacklisted 90,000 websites, and banned 700,000 mobile apps in 2017.

“After expanding our policy against dangerous and derogatory content in April 2017 to cover additional forms of discrimination and intolerance, we removed Google ads from 8,700 pages [that] violated the expanded policy,” writes Spencer.

Spencer says Google also recognizes that only a small number of publishers account for the vast majority of sites that misrepresent themselves or present themselves as another legitimate organization. Of the 11,000 websites reviewed for possible misrepresentation, 650 were blocked and 90 publishers were removed from Google’s ad network.

The report shows how Google’s latest policies have worked to cut-out ad fraud and policy breaking advertisements across their AdWords network, but they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Search Engine Land reports that Google is poised to enact new restrictions for ads related to financial products later this year.

Retargeting is undeniably a powerful way to reconnect with potential customers and remind them to take action on something they were interested in. Unfortunately, when done poorly, it can also be terribly annoying.

Now, Google is giving users the power to mute ads from brands who abuse retargeting or remarketing ads.

Retargeting ads – or as Google is calling them, “reminder” ads – are designed to gently nudge someone into taking action on a product or service they previously looked at on a website. They work by tracking what pages a user has looked at but not taken action on, then reserving that content in ads afterword.

The problem is that many fail to monitor just how frequently these ads appear to users. This causes a problem where people see an annoying number of repetitive ads that seem to follow them all around the internet.

 

With the new section in Google’s ads settings, called “Your reminder ads,” you can now see who is retargeting ads to you with Google display ads. You can also mute these advertisers individually is they are showing repetitive or excessive retargeting ads.

If a user mutes an advertiser, their ads will entirely disappear across all of Google’s apps and websites – not just a specific offending ad or campaign. Google says it will soon be expanding this to include YouTube, Search, and Gmail.

The advertiser will be muted for 90 days and can be muted again if desired.

Google also says it has updated the mute feature to sync across devices for logged-in users. This means ads muted on laptop will also be muted on a phone or desktop, and vice-versa.

While users will likely be glad to see this feature, advertisers should take the move as an indication to check their retargeting campaigns. Make an effort to find the “sweet spot” between showing your ads enough times to have an impact without being overbearing. Otherwise, you risk being muted.

Google has been teasing a massive revamp to the AdWords experience for months, and now it’s finally here.

The company says the redesign and new features provide a faster, more intuitive experience with a better focus on meeting advertisers’ goals.

What’s New

The biggest changes to the ad platform are mostly focused on design and speed.  The ad interface is less cluttered and easy to navigate, letting you put more focus on your advertising efforts without distraction.

The streamlined style also allows pages to load up to 20% faster according to Google.

Visualizations have also been improved to make it easier for you to see how your ads are performing and how people are engaging with your business.

The new experience also brings a few new features like bid adjustments and landing pages. These features have been available to those who got into the revised AdWords experience early, but this is the first chance for most advertisers to test them out for themselves.

Google has put together a number of new guides and videos to help everyone get accustomed to the new AdWords experience. You can get started by checking out the guided tour, how-to videos, or the best practices guide.