Perhaps one of the more complex regulations Google has relates to ad formats and features as each ad type has format-specific requirements for every single ad. On the other hand, that’s not a bad thing as you can focus only on the ad type(s) you use and not waste time on regulations of ad types you won’t use. For instance, responsive ads automatically adjust their size, appearance, and format to fit available ad spaces, but mustn’t contain text that covers more than 20% of the image or animation.
Naturally, Google is extra sensitive when it comes to data collection for obvious reasons (aren’t we all?). The company states that advertisers should not collect and misuse information for “unclear purposes”, as well as do so under low-security measures. What that means is that data like full name, email address, tax, and especially damaging data like credit card information should be handled with care and over secure servers. In addition, personalized advertising carries many restrictions like remarketing list size requirements where you aren’t allowed to target overly narrow or specific audience, suggest you know personally identifiable or sensitive information within the ad, and so on.
Content is a major issue in any kind of advertising due to various sensitive areas, or as Google calls it: “sometimes legally or culturally sensitive” content. Just like in the ad network vs ad exchange debate, it’s important to make a distinction between prohibited and partially allowed content. For example, unlike a vastly popular opinion, neither adult or gambling are completely off the table. Certain kinds of adult content in ads and destinations are not allowed, while some are permitted (strip clubs, sexual enhancement products, erotic cinemas, sex toys, etc.). It’s a fine line that gets blurry many times, as evidenced by the health vertical. Some healthcare-related content can’t be advertised at all, while others can only be displayed if the advertiser has Google certification and targets only approved countries.
On the other hand, counterfeit goods are strictly prohibited, as are dangerous products or services (recreational drugs, ammunition, tobacco products, etc.), products or services that enable dishonest behavior like hacking software or instructions, and inappropriate content (everything from bullying, racial discrimination, graphic material, hate to profane language).
Apart from dissecting good from no good content, you should always know local legal requirements, in addition to Google's advertising policies. Each location is different in terms of what goes and what doesn’t and it’s solely your responsibility to comply.
On a similar note, ads that use unauthorized copyrighted content are not allowed. However, if you do have legal authorization to use it, you still need to apply for certification to advertise it or risk violating Google’s policy, which could result in an account suspension.
In today’s increasing battle with fake news, Google also frowns upon ad misrepresentation. That means that certain ads or destinations with such intent are not allowed, which could be a major loss for you. Examples of misrepresentation include omitting or obscuring billing details, charges, making misleading and unrealistic claims, phishing, and such.
Whether it’s because Google is trying to hold up to some standard (hardly, but possible) or that it’s really, really picky, all ads must meet high professional and editorial standards. Hence, your ad must look neat (grade A neat) and be useful. Otherwise, generic messages with vague phrasing (“Buy products here”) and “gimmicky use” of text won’t fly.
The search engine company would like its advertisers to play fair when it finally comes to displaying their ads. That means no ads and content that is malicious in nature or tries to be none the wiser and attempt to trick or circumvent the company’s ad review processes. However, it’s very important to mention one particular instance where Google goes beyond its advertising network. Namely, this includes your ads, as well as any software or products they link to, regardless of whether it is promoted through the Google advertising network. This includes malware and anything that fails to be transparent about its exact functionality, Terms of Service page, gains unfair traffic advantage, and lots more.
If these regulations prove to be too much for you (and there are many, truth be told), there are always other options on the market. These can also meet your demands, not to mention there is less regulation and more freedom in advertising. For instance, SelfAdvertiser is just one of those options that can replace dealing with Google. Our self-service platform boasts a 20,000+ publisher network in verticals such as games, gambling, e-commerce, health, and much more. Our daily 2 billion impressions get your ad in front of millions, while there is a dedicated account manager at your service for any assistance needed, be it campaign optimization or smaller things like which programmatic advertising mistakes to avoid. Oh, and our regulations are far more “relaxed”, but our anti-fraud and quality standards are strict..
There you have it. This is only a glimpse into Google’s vast library of requirements and regulations that need to be met in order to make advertising possible first, then successful later on. It’s perfectly understandable with that network size. Still, that doesn’t mean you should be confined to its limits, especially not when there are other options on the market that are more flexible (and less pricy). In any case, be sure to do your research and deal with any regulations in a swift and proper manner.