Google revamps ad policies in fight against fraudulent and misleading ads

Google have announced a new suite of tools to help advertisers comply with the online ad giant’s ad policies as the company deals with the spread of online ad fraud and increasing scrutiny of its market dominance.

The latest additions to Google’s policy manager include a tool allowing advertisers to review their campaigns against the company’s rules and appeal against adverse rulings.

Google’s rolling out of the new tools, expected to be in place next month, come as the company claimed it had taken down 2.3bn bad ads internationally.

Online ad fraud has been endemic with Google and the US Department of Justice last year exposing one network alone, the 3ve group, which swindled US$36m out of advertisers over four years.

Google’s 2.3bn bad ads number should be seen in light of the 3ve network reportedly serving up 3bn fraudulent ads every day over those four years.

Last year Google earned US$116.3bn from advertising, scooping up the bulk of online ad revenue and leading to leading to calls to break the company up.

In a blog post announcing the company’s latest measures, Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads, said : “Google has a crucial stake in a healthy and sustainable digital advertising ecosystem—something we’ve worked to enable for nearly 20 years.

Google’s Scott Spencer: ‘We’re working to make it easier for advertisers to ensure their creatives are policy compliant’

“As we continue to protect users from bad ads, we’re also working to make it easier for advertisers to ensure their creatives are policy compliant. Similar to our AdSense Policy Center, next month we’ll launch a new Policy Manager in Google Ads that will give tips on common policy mistakes to help well-meaning advertisers and make it easier to create and launch compliant ads.”

Spencer also laid out Google’s efforts to protect advertisers from displaying ads on fraudulent websites, writing: “We also continued to tackle the challenge of misinformation and low-quality sites, using several different policies to ensure our ads are supporting legitimate, high-quality publishers.

“In 2018, we removed ads from approximately 1.2 million pages, more than 22,000 apps, and nearly 15,000 sites across our ad network for violations of policies directed at misrepresentative, hateful or other low-quality content.

“More specifically, we removed ads from almost 74,000 pages for violating our “dangerous or derogatory” content policy, and took down approximately 190,000 ads for violating this policy. This policy includes a prohibition on hate speech and protects our users, advertisers and publishers from hateful content across platforms.”

In his post, Spencer laid out the company’s efforts to shut down bad players in the online marketing space: “Last year, we also made a concerted effort to go after the bad actors behind numerous bad ads, not just the ads themselves.

“Using improved machine learning technology, we were able to identify and terminate almost one million bad advertiser accounts, nearly double the amount we terminated in 2017. When we take action at the account level, it helps to address the root cause of bad ads and better protect our users.

“So while we terminated nearly 734,000 publishers and app developers from our ad network, and removed ads completely from nearly 1.5 million apps, we were also able to take more granular action by taking ads off of nearly 28 million pages that violated our publisher policies. We use a combination of manual reviews and machine learning to catch these kinds of violations.”

“We will continue to tackle these issues because as new trends and online experiences emerge, so do new scams and bad actors,” Spencer concluded. “In 2019, our work to protect users and enable a safe advertising ecosystem that works well for legitimate advertisers and publishers continues to be a top priority.”


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