Google has recently announced that they will be launching a new verification process that requires advertisers to verify their identities for ads served through Google Ads and Display & Video 360. The intent is to provide consumers a higher level of transparency into the ads they see. This Summer, starting with advertisers in the United States, users will begin to see disclosures in the “Why this ad” menu. These disclosures will list the advertisers name and country.
With transparency as the end goal, Google hopes advertiser identity verification will provide a number of benefits to the consumer and advertiser alike. They want to provide users with the ability to make more informed decisions when using existing controls such as Ad Settings to customize ad personalization. Advertising often has a negative connotation associated with it; Google hopes this increased transparency will change that by increasing trust in ads. They are also hoping that verification will prevent “bad actors that attempt to misrepresent themselves” to occupy ad space.
The process for verification is focused on end advertisers of Google Ads and Display & Video 360. Documentation will be required in most cases, generally this will be tax documents and government issued IDs. If an agency is running advertisements for clients, they will be asked to work with or provide documentation on behalf of their clients. This process will start with the United States, then Google will expand to advertisers worldwide. They expect it will take years to verify advertisers globally. It should be noted that proactive verification is not available.
It’s hard to say what the consequences may be from this decision. Google has essentially created a barrier to entry by asking for sensitive information. This could turn out to be a double-edged sword by deterring “bad actors” as well as honest businesses from engaging in advertising on Google. For those willing to hand over documentation to Google, this might be a golden opportunity. With the landscape of Google advertising potentially opening up, verified businesses could find themselves in an advantageous position. However, they may be putting themselves at risk in the case of a security breach. Google’s goals with advertiser identity verification are undoubtedly aimed toward a better product for the consumer and a more trustworthy platform, however as the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Hopefully this situation doesn’t lead to negative unintended consequences.
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