Google AdWords – The Bad Ad Epidemic
Google tries to give everyone who uses their search engine the best experience possible. In order to achieve this they have strict policies and have no qualms about blocking bad ads and in some cases even banning publishers from ever using their advertising platform again.
According to Google’s bad ad report, 2016 saw a sharp rise in the amount of ads that Google recognised as ‘bad ads’, with a staggering 1.7 billion being blocked. That’s over twice the amount that the tech giant saw fit to block in 2015. So, what is to blame for Google AdWords’ bad ad epidemic?
Payday & High Interest Loan Ads
One of the reasons there was such a spike in blocked ads could be to do with the fact that, in July, Google brought in a completely new policy which banned the advertising of payday loans and high interest loans. To make their Google’s search engine a safer place to browse the internet from, loan providers were no longer allowed to advertise loans which have to be repaid within 60 days with or have an interest rate of over 35%. Google did this in a bid to protect their users from, often predatory, loan companies that charge extortionate interest rates that are often unaffordable resulting in their customers being forced to default on the loan.
Click To Trick Ads
Another type of ad that Google has been targetedly disabling is the ‘click to trick’ ad. These are ads that bring users to a landing page where for example a system alert will popup telling a user that their device has been infected with malware and to click to remove it. If the unsuspecting user clicks the popup, malware is then downloaded to their computer. Luckily Google are always on the lookout for this kind of unscrupulous activity and have continued to make technological advancements to detect and block these ads in record time and numbers. In 2016, ‘click to trick’ ads accounted for over 112 million blocked ads. This number was six times higher than the previous year.
Self Clicking Ads
Similarly the problem with ‘self clicking ads’ has continued to grow. This type of ‘bad ad’ is an issue for mobile users, if you have ever been using your phone and you suddenly end up downloading an app you’ve never heard of without clicking anything, a ‘self clicking ad’ is usually to blame. There were only a few thousand of these ad types blocked in 2015, but in 2016 the number rose to 23,000!
Google has also continued it’s efforts to shield its users from misleading advertisements by blocking around 80 million of them in 2016. A misleading ad might claim to cure a rare condition with the advertisers miracle formula, without the proper proof that it actually is a genuine cure.
There are millions of ads created to run on AdWords with the purpose of advertising illegal products and services which is strictly against Google’s policies. These can consist of anything from illegal sales of pharmaceuticals (68 million blocked ads in 2016 compared to 12.5 million in 2015) to gambling advertisements without the proper permissions from the regulators in the countries that they operate (17 million blocked ads in 2016).
There was also a steep rise in the amount of ‘tabloid cloakers’. Most advertisers know that it is against Google’s policies to advertise certain types of products such as fat loss supplements and the aforementioned payday loans. To get around this, unethical advertisers are prepared to become ‘tabloid cloakers’. This is when an advertiser takes advantage of topical news stories in an attempt to game Google’s advertising system. For example the headline and description of the ad may be describing Barack Obama joining the Harlem Globetrotters, but when the user clicks the link, they are brought to a page selling diet pills. Google blocked 7 million ads and suspended 1,300 accounts for ‘tabloid cloaking’ in 2016.
With all of the exploitative ways that people come up with to try get around Google’s policies, the number of ‘bad ads’ will likely always be quite substantial. However, with Google’s constant technological advancements and efforts to block them out there is some hope that these types of advertisements will begin to die out.
If you are advertising using Google AdWords, make sure you go through their all of their ad policies with a fine tooth comb or your ads and possibly even your account could be permanently banned. If you are unsure of how to create ads that follow all of Google’s policies, contact a Google Partner Agency to take control of your AdWords account. Book your free Google AdWords consultation with 3B1 Media & Marketing today!