The Google Ads Sandbox: New Limited Ad Serving Policy

Sep 1, 2023 - 7:11 am 1 by
Filed Under Google Ads

Google Sandcastle

Google Ads has a new policy named limited ad serving where Google needs to "get to know you"," the advertiser, before letting those ads serve at full scale. This reminds me of the Google Sandbox in organic from two decades ago but for Google Ads.

Google wrote it is "announcing a new approach to improving ad clarity—a policy called Limited Ads Serving." Google said this policy will "both reduce the risk of scams and help prevent confusing and misleading ads."

Google said this policy will have Google Ads implement a "get-to-know-you period" for advertisers that Google Ads are less familiar with. During this get-to-know-you period, the advertiser's impressions for their ads might be limited, Google explained.

Google said this policy will apply first to those advertisers when they target certain brands with their ad campaigns. Google explained it would "implement this policy when the relationship between an advertiser and a brand referenced in their ad is unclear."

Unqualified advertisers in certain situations may see this limited ad serving policy apply to them. So it is important to let Google Ads get to know you and that you become a qualified advertiser. How does one become a qualified adveritser? Google said it considers a number of criteria including:

  • User feedback: Our users are able to provide feedback on every ad they are served on Google's platform, based on whether they had a positive or negative experience with that ad. Google will take that feedback into account.
  • Advertising history: It's important that advertisers have a record of adhering to our advertising policies.
  • Advertiser Identity Verification: Completing Google's Advertiser Identity Verification process is an important step in building trust between users and advertisers.

A qualified advertiser's ad impressions are not limited by this policy. Google said will take into consideration various factors to evaluate whether an advertiser is qualified, such as:

  • Account attributes
  • User activity and reports
  • Account maturity
  • Ad format usage
  • History of policy-compliance
  • Advertiser industry
  • Identity verification status

To become qualified, you should continue to build campaigns and creatives with positive user engagement while Google assesses your account. Make sure you are complying with Google's advertising policies. And if your account is eligible, consider initiating advertiser verification, Gooogle added.

Google won't give a timeframe for how long an advertiser account would be limited in terms of serving their ad under this policy. Google wrote, "We will automatically review and update advertisers’ ad serving limits as we continue to monitor your accounts. Unfortunately, we can’t say how long this might take."

You will see if your ads are being limited through an in-account notification.

Below are the scenarios in which your ads may be limited.

Advertisers with unclear brand relationships and generic ads: Google said it wants to ensure that users know which advertisers they are interacting with. At times, users may not be seeking content related to a particular advertiser, brand, product, or service; other times they may have a specific brand in mind. In both situations, Google wants to ensure that the identity of the advertiser the user chooses to engage with is unambiguous.

While an advertiser may not intend to purposefully mislead a user or misrepresent themselves, ads that reference other brands and generic ads that have no branding at all may confuse the user into thinking they are interacting with their desired advertiser. In these cases, Google may limit impressions for all branded and generic ads for that advertiser.

Examples that reference a brand where the relationship to the advertiser is unclear include (non-exhaustive):

  • Referencing another brand’s name or likeness (such as an airline or customer service department) in response to a user’s search for that brand
  • Referencing a name or brand closely resembling another brand in response to a user’s general search of an industry (e.g., technology, travel, customer service)
  • Situations where the user has reason to believe they are interacting with another brand
  • Use of a brand logo by an unaffiliated advertiser

Examples when a generic ad may be unclear include (non-exhaustive):

  • Users searching for specific brands, products, or services who encounter unbranded ads from third parties

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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