Google Mandates All Advertisers to Prove Their Identities

Search giant is working to increase transparency and accountability

the google logo with a thumbprint on it
Advertisers have a 30-day window to complete the verification process. Photo Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Source: Google, Getty Images

Google is requiring all advertisers across its platforms to verify their identities in an effort to boost transparency and curb malicious advertising.

In 2018, Google introduced a verification program for political advertisers. Now that program has extended to all advertisers as the search giant is seeing an influx of bad ads seeking to capitalize on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Advertisers have 30 days to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that prove who they are and the country in which they operate, otherwise Google will stop serving their ads.

Users will start seeing disclosures of who’s behind the ads they see—which includes Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube—starting this summer, according to a blog post from 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,” John Canfield, Google’s director of product management, ads integrity, wrote in the post.

“It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”

Google will begin verifying U.S. advertisers and then look to expand globally. The search giant expects the process to take a few years to complete.

@andrewblustein Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.