As we move further into digitalization, consumers have heightened their expectations around privacy and the way their data is being collected and used. To gain trust, Google has rolled out a new Advertiser Verification Program. This program aims to increase trust in Google’s ad ecosystem by providing more information on the organizations behind ads served. After successfully completing the verification process, users will be able to expand the ad details and get more information about the advertiser.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Google’s Advertiser Verification Program so you can prepare for the new rollout.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
What is Google Advertiser Identification Program?
The first iteration of the program rolled out in 2018 when Google announced an identity verification policy for political advertising. However, to keep up with its promise of providing transparency and granting users more agency around privacy and the ads being served to them on the platform, Google has expanded the verification program to include all advertisers, whether they are running electoral ad campaigns or not. This decision was made to ensure people could access a website supported by ads while also feeling secure that their privacy is being respected. To streamline the process, the identity and business operations verification were combined into one program.
Before consolidating, identity verification simply required you to verify your identification documents. Meanwhile, business operations verification required you to provide documents that would verify how your business operated.
How Does It Appear on the SERP?
Users will start seeing a drop-down arrow on ads served. Clicking the arrow, you will see the options ‘Why this ad?’ or ‘About the Advertiser’. These options will display the advertiser’s name and location.
Advertiser Verification Program Process
Google rolled out the Advertiser Verification Program in March of 2022. When an advertiser is chosen for verification, they will receive an email and an in-account message.
If you received an email that you’re chosen to pass an advertiser verification, you have 30 days to initiate the verification process. You’ll have another 30 days to complete all necessary verification requirements. Failing to meet these deadlines will put you at risk of getting suspended, preventing you from running ads.
The verification process may include multiple steps, such as:
- Providing information about your business
- Verifying your identity
- Verifying your business operations
Providing Information About Your Business
Verifying your business operations is the first step of the Advertiser Verification Program. At this step, Google will ask you a few basic questions related to your Google Ads account and business. The answers to questions you’ll find ‘About your business’ section will help Google to understand your business better.
Let’s take a look at some examples of questions that you may need to answer:
- Is your business an advertising agency?
- Who pays for your ads?
- Do you advertise your own products or services or someone else’s?
- What’s your industry (or industries)?
Note that you’ll need to be a Google Ads account admin. You must also be familiar with the business operations and advertising practices for the Google Ads account you’re verifying.
Verifying Your Identity
After you’ve successfully completed the ‘About your business’ questions, Google may ask you to verify the legal name of the person responsible for the advertising account.
This verification must be done by an authorized person who is an administrator of the Google Advertising account and/or the payment profile used to pay for the ads. Once you begin this procedure, you will have 30 days to complete this verification and any further requested verifications (if any).
If you fail to complete the verification criteria submission or don’t meet the 30-day deadline given, your account will be paused.
Google advertiser identity verification may be required for your company and/or your client’s organization if you work for an agency. This requirement depends on how your Google Ads account is configured.
Verifying Your Business Operations
Google may also require you to verify details about your business operations based on the answers you have provided in the ‘About your business’ section. If requested, you’ll need to submit supporting documentation, such as:
- Business model
- Types of services the business offers
- Business registration information
- Business practices
- Your relationships with advertised brands, products, or third parties (if applicable)
Examples of Verification Programs
Election Ads Verification
If you’re planning to run election or political ads in Google Ads and Display & Video 360, you must also complete election ads verification. Google requirements for political and election advertising may vary from region to region.
For transparency reasons, Google only let’s verified advertisers run ads in some regions. You can find the verification requirements by selecting your country in the drop-down menu on the Google Help page.
The application process may consist of two parts, each of which may take up to five business days.
All election advertising run by confirmed advertisers must include a disclosure identifying who paid for the ad in locations where political advertising verification is needed. Google will automatically construct a ‘Paid for by’ notice for most ad types based on the information you provided during the verification process.
Gambling Ads Verification
To support responsible gambling advertising and adhere to local gambling regulations, Google restricts certain gambling-related advertising. For example, Google allows you to run offline and online gambling ads that imply winning money or prizes after you get through its verification process. It doesn’t allow social casino game destinations that promote the possibility of winning real money or prizes dependent on the game’s outcome. To run ads promoting games or gambling, you must comply with the following policies:
- Only target permitted countries.
- Never target minors.
- Have a landing page with information about responsible gambling.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to applying for certification to promote gambling:
- Check the local gambling legislation for the areas you want to target.
- Apply for Google Ads certification:
- If you’re a privately-licensed operator, you’ll need to fill out the online gambling form.
- If you operate in one of the countries where Google allows state-run entities, fill out this form.
- If you’re a social casino game operator, use this form to submit your app or website URL, Google Ads customer ID, and the country you’re targeting.
- In case you’re targeting more than one country, you’ll need to submit a separate application form for each country.
Healthcare Ads Verification
Google doesn’t allow some healthcare-related ads, while others can be advertised only if you are a verified advertiser and target approved countries. For example, Google prohibits online pharmacy promotions regardless of whether it sells prescription or over-the-counter medicine. However, you can get certified to advertise an online pharmacy by providing documents verifying the company is registered with the relevant pharmaceutical authorities in the countries you plan to target.
If you’re advertising on behalf of any business in the healthcare industry and want to include keywords related to prescription medicine in ad text or landing pages, you must get Google approval first. Follow the two steps below to become Google certified:
- Comply with country-specific regulations.
- Fill out an online application form. Note that if you’re applying on behalf of the healthcare business, you’ll need to send documents that show your relationship with the company.
Preparing for Google’s Advertiser Verification
Now that you know what Google Advertiser Verification Program is, it's time to prepare for the process. Even if you haven't received an email to verify your account, we highly recommend you prepare all documents in advance to meet deadlines.
The process consists of several steps and it's important to get everything right to prevent your ad account from getting suspended. Contact us today as we're always eager to guide you through the process and help you prepare everything you need for the new Google Advertiser Verification Program.