Over the last few years, transparency has become a paramount concern within the digital advertising industry. Simply put, the lines separating advertisement, journalism, and entertainment have become blurry, prompting an initiative to better clarify the intentions behind different forms of online content.
Google is by no means excluded from these ongoing conversations, and recently they announced a significant new initiative to improve transparency within digital advertising. Specifically, Google has announced the launch of “advertiser pages,” which will allow consumers to learn more about a particular advertiser before buying their product or visiting their website.
Let’s take a closer look at advertiser pages and consider some of the implications for advertisers.
Google Advertiser Pages: What Are They?
Advertiser pages will provide enhanced ad disclosures for any advertisers who have completed Google’s verification process.
For context, consider the content you see when you’re on Facebook and click on the “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?” feature. Google advertiser pages will offer similar information and features.
Specifically, users who click on Google’s new “About This Ad” text will receive information such as:
- Why they are being shown the ad content in question.
- The advertiser’s brand name.
- The advertiser’s location.
- The advertiser’s additional ads, extending back 30 days.
In addition to seeing information like this, users will also have some options for customizing their ad experience. For example, Google advertiser pages will display an option to “mute” ads from any advertisers they just aren’t interested in. Additionally, users will have a way to report any ads that they believe to be in violation of Google’s stated policies. Again, all of these options will be accessible from the Google advertiser page, which will act as a kind of central hub.
What’s the Purpose of Google Advertiser Pages?
Ultimately, Google’s intentions are to give consumers more information about the advertisers participating in the Google ecosystem. Google’s aim is to distinguish the credible advertisers from the shadier ones, and also to limit the ways in which ill-intentioned actors can misrepresent themselves.
Of course, the development of Google advertiser pages follows a long period of discussion within the digital advertising industry, and lots of conflicting ideas about how best to increase transparency and to crack down on misbehavior.
According to Mojdeh Tomsich, who manages ads privacy and safety for Google, “Enhanced ad disclosures build on our efforts to create a clear and intuitive experience for users who engage with ads on Google products.”
Continues Tomsich, “More than 30 million users interact with our ads transparency and control menus every day, and ‘About this Ad’ has received positive feedback on its streamlined experience.”
What’s the Timeline for Google Advertiser Pages?
Another interesting tidbit from Tomsich is that right now, users engage with ad controls and transparency features on YouTube more than they do on any other Google property. As such, Google’s big push will be rolling out these new tools and features to the search engine itself.
That raises the all-important question of when. Google will be rolling out its advertiser pages in phases, beginning in the United States before extending into other countries. The initial rollout will begin over the next few months and continue throughout 2022.
What Does it All Mean?
From the standpoint of the consumer, the launch of Google advertiser pages is likely to be very positive. While different search engine users have varying levels of concern over things like advertiser transparency and ethics, we can’t imagine anyone objecting to the new levels of control that Google will provide over the individual ad experience.
We also think that this will be a net positive for advertisers. In short, Google advertiser pages create an opportunity for advertisers to highlight their integrity and their commitment to transparency. And, by limiting the capabilities of bad actors, Google is restoring some shine and some credibility to the digital ads industry as a whole.
That’s not to say that there won’t be some growing pains. Advertisers should be aware that their individual page will now include a trail of advertisements from the past 30 days, making it more important than ever to rigorously vet all ad content for honesty and for quality. Also keep in mind that there may be some added steps to the advertiser verification process, which could prove to be onerous.
Stay Up to Date on the Digital Ads Industry
At enCOMPASS, we’re committed to vigilantly monitoring all the latest developments from Google, particularly those that have a direct impact on advertisers. As new developments arise, we’ll be sure to keep our clients informed. In the meantime, if you have questions about these advertiser pages or about their practical implications, we’re happy to chat. Reach out to the enCOMPASS team any time you’d like to discuss happenings in the digital ad ecosystem.
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