It can be challenging to keep up with all of the changes Google announces, but if you have an active Google Ads account, this recent change requires your attention. In April 2020, Google announced it would be verifying the identity of all advertisers using Google Ads to increase transparency for users, and its phased plan is underway.
As part of Google’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of its advertising network, digital advertisers are being asked to verify their identities. While not an overly challenging process to complete, it is important to pay close attention so that you do not experience any campaign interruptions. Google’s advertiser identity verification program is being rolled out in phases. The help document states:
“To increase transparency for users, advertisers will be required to verify their legal name through advertiser identity verification. Google will verify your identity and generate a disclosure on any ads you run, displaying your name and country. As part of a phased rollout, certain advertisers may be selected to complete this verification program first.”
Certain advertisers could be chosen to complete the verification program several months before other advertisers receive their email. There are criteria that are used to determine who could be prioritized as part of the rollout. Those who meet one of the requirements listed below may be prioritized according to Google:
Promotion of products, goods, and services (Retail, media and entertainment, travel, B2B, technology, etc.)
Promotion of informational, advisory, or educational content (Content promoting educational resources, research and statistics, free health or financial advice, charitable or social causes, etc.)
Promotion of content related to regulated industries (Gambling and games, financial products or services, healthcare products or services, etc.)
Once the Google email has been received requesting you to begin the identity verification process, you are given 30 days to begin verification. If you do not begin the verification process during that time, your Google Ads campaigns will be paused until you have completed the entire process. I have already completed the identity verification process for some of our clients. Once submitted, it takes a few days for Google to verify the identifying information you have uploaded.
Advertisers who have been proven to be legitimate and authentic who want to promote content that is associated with the regulated industries determined by Google may be asked to complete the verification program to prove local licensing requirements are met. If you fall into one of those categories, Google may also request that you complete additional identity checks. Taking the ever-evolving changes across all industries, in addition to the potential of fraud and abuse into consideration, Google regularly reviews its ad policies. Therefore, at any time, Google could introduce additional verification requirements for certain content.
Why Does Google Want Verifying Information?
In their ongoing effort to increase transparency across its entire landscape, Google wants users to have accurate information about the companies that are advertising to them. According to Jack Canfield, Director of Product Management, Ads Integrity at Google:
“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.”
Google is requesting verification information because it wants to determine how legitimate and authentic your business operations are. Therefore, they want to know if your operations are authentic enough to pass the ad verification program. Information about your business, such as key business practices, registration information, types of products and services you offer, your relationships with third parties, etc. can all be requested by Google during the verification process. Google wants to ensure that advertisers are only running quality ads for your business. In some cases, Google may ask some advertisers for additional verification.
What Identifying Information Does Google Require?
To begin the program, advertisers must complete the identity verification form provided in the email. Advertisers must also submit the requesting documents within the specified timeframe. Individuals who need to verify their own account can do so with a government-issued photo ID. Organizations can verify an account by providing their Employer Identification Number or by submitting a valid document such as a W9 form or any IRS-issued notice or letter that shows identifying information. Authorized representatives can submit the identifying information on someone else’s behalf so long as they have the required documents.
How Will Potential Customers and Clients See the Change?
Disclosures will automatically be generated on ads for verified advertisers. Potential customers and clients will see your name or the name of the business you represent, along with your location (country). Under the ”Why this ad?” option, users will be able to click the ”About the advertiser” option to view the advertiser’s information disclosed by Google. This change is similar to additions made by other advertisers, where there is a ‘Why Am I Seeing This Ad?’ information box.
Whenever Google introduces something new, there is usually a reason behind Google taking those actions. Google’s ad verification program is indeed important for advertisers across all industries, as well as for customers and clients. However, I understand there will be many concerns from advertisers when it comes to sharing such personal information. However, if you do not follow the verification process by the specified date in your email, your Google Ads account will be paused.
I have been monitoring the accounts of our clients for Google Ads identity verification program requests. Once the request from Google is received, the verification process is started right away to ensure the process is seamless and painless. Have you received an email from Google Ads requesting that you have to start the identity verification by an upcoming date but you are not sure what steps you should take? Are you struggling with the ad identity verification process or staying on top of all the changes that are taking place? Please reach out to Ulistic today. We are here to help.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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