Google recently announced the launch of a new tool to make it easier for advertisers to ensure their creatives are compliant with Google’s policies, the new Policy Manager in Google Ads.
Similar to the already existing AdSense Policy Center the new tool will give tips on common policy mistakes to help well-meaning advertisers and make it easier to create and launch compliant ads.
The new Policy Manager will offer a centralized and personalized Google Ads experience from which ad restrictions, keywords and extensions of an entire account due to policy violations can be viewed. Later, we’ll add other features, such as recommendations to correct ads, a history of appeals and a summary of the certifications of each account.
Google took down 2.3 Bn bad ads in 2018 for violations of both new and existing policies, including nearly 207,000 ads for ticket resellers, over 531,000 ads for bail bonds and approximately 58.8 million phishing ads. Overall, that’s more than six million bad ads, every day.
Using improved machine learning technology, Google identified and terminated almost one million bad advertiser accounts, nearly double the amount the comapny terminated in 2017, going after the bad actors behind numerous bad ads, not just the ads themselves.
Google terminated nearly 734,000 publishers and app developers from their ad network, and removed ads completely from nearly 1.5 million apps. In the framework of a more granular action Google took ads off from nearly 28 million pages that violated Their publisher policies. The company used a combination of manual reviews and machine learning to catch these kinds of violations.
The tech giant introduced 31 new ads policies in 2018 to address abuses in areas including third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and local services such as garage door repairmen, bail bonds and addiction treatment facilities.
In this framework, one can understand the need for tools to make it easier for advertisers making their ads compliant with Google policies and appealing Google’s decisions to reject or remove ads from its ad platform.
I think that publishers and app developers, specially the small ones, would also thank a tool system similar to that developed for Google clients on the advertisers side, in order to prevent and appeal termination decisions adopted by the tech giant.
Following the latest WARC Global Advertising Trends report, Google and Facebook together took over half (56.4%) of all money invested in the Internet advertising market during 2018, a share which WARC expects to rise up to 61.4% this year.
It is nice this Google’s commitment to enhance the quality and safety of the online ad environment, but one should take into account that this company is at the same time judge and interested actor in the online ad market. Further, what happens If Google identifies as bad a publisher who in fact offers quality contents and complies with the legal framework in force in its country?. I dare to say that unless the publisher banned by Google were big enough to face the tech giant before the court of justice or were big enough to invest billions in its own ad platform, its life expectancy would be scarce if just living of online ad revenues.
Since last year, advertisers can see additional information about the reasons why their ad has been rejected by simply placing the cursor over their rejected ads. Throughout 2019, Google will expand this function.
Certain violations of the policies can be detected while the ads are being created. In such cases, Google will provide real-time information to the advertisers so that they know which infractions they could commit, so that they can modify their ads immediately to avoid rejection before publishing.
Appeal Google’s policy decisions with just few clicks
In case an advertiser does not agree with any measure we have taken on their ads, you will soon be able to appeal directly to Google Ads with a few clicks and return to review the affected ads. In text ads, this feature will begin to be available in the accounts this spring and almost all types of policy violations may be appealed. To know if the requirements to appeal a specific decision are met, the cursor must be placed on a rejected or limited advertisement and click on the link to resend for review Advertisers can track the status of their appeals in the Administrator of policies.
Comment about EU Commission third fine on Google imposed last 20th April
Last 20th March 2019 EU Commission fined Google €1.49 Bn (1.29% of Google’s turnover in 2018) for abusive practices in online advertising.
Google ceased the illegal practices a few months after the Commission issued in July 2016a Statement of Objections concerning this case. The decision requires Google to, at a minimum, stop its illegal conduct, to the extent it has not already done so, and to refrain from any measure that has the same or equivalent object or effect.
Google is also liable to face civil actions for damages that can be brought before the courts of the Member States by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour. The new EU Antitrust Damages Directive makes it easier for victims of anti-competitive practices to obtain damages.
This is the third fine imposed by EU Commission to Google and comes on the heels of other two. The first one In June 2017 and amounting to €2.42Bn for abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to Google’s own comparison shopping service.
The second fine came in July 2018, when the Commission fined Google €4.34Bn for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen the dominance of Google’s search engine.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, explained about the Adsense for Search case: “Today the Commission has fined Google €1.49 billion for illegal misuse of its dominant position in the market for the brokering of online search adverts. Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate and consumers the benefits of competition.”
The Commission explains that websites such as newspaper websites, blogs or travel sites aggregators often have a search function embedded. When a user searches using this search function, the website delivers both search results and search adverts, which appear alongside the search result.
Through AdSense for Search, Google provides these search adverts to owners of “publisher” websites.
The investigation carried out by the EU Commission proves that Google first imposed in the contracts providing Adsense for Search with third party publishers an exclusive supply obligation, which prevented competitors from placing any search adverts on the commercially most significant websites. Then, Google introduced what it called its “relaxed exclusivity” strategy aimed at reserving for its own search adverts the most valuable positions and then from 2009, Google also included clauses requiring publishers to seek written approval from Google before making changes to the way in which any rival adverts were displayed, so that the tech giant wa able to control competing adverts’ performance.
Google is by far the strongest player in online search advertising intermediation in the European Economic Area (EEA), with a market share above 70% from 2006 to 2016. In 2016 Google also held market shares generally above 90% in the national markets for general search and above 75% in most of the national markets for online search advertising, where it is present with its flagship product, the Google search engine, which provides search results to consumers.
It is not possible for competitors in online search advertising such as Microsoft and Yahoo to sell advertising space in Google’s own search engine results pages. Therefore, third-party websites represent an important entry point for these other suppliers of online search advertising intermediation services to grow their business and try to compete with Google, EU Commission underscores.
Perhaps because there are no Microsoft or Yahoo involved, the “dark side” of Google’s crusade against bad ads has still not been taken into account by the EU Commission, even to start off an investigation. But I must say that an abuse of their dominant position not only may harm Google’s big competitors in the programatic segment of the online ad market (Adsense), but also kill publishers and app developers (many of them small or medium sized companies, some of them just autonomous professionals) trying to earn their every day bread and butter from online ad insertions on their, not necesarily low quality or low impact, sites and apps.
Image over the headline.- Google Ad Manager logo.© Google.
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