Google blocked 2.3 billion ads in 2018 -- about 6 million each day -- to stop scams, abuse and malware, but the annual review of how the company fought bad advertising practices looks a little different than the year before, in which it blocked 3.2 billion bad ads.
Along with the 1 million advertiser accounts that Google took down in 2018 -- double compared with the prior year -- the company terminated 734,000 publishers and app developers from its ad network, and removed ad completely from about 1.5 million apps.
Scott Spencer, Google's director of sustainable ads, in a blog post broke out some of the types of ads. He wrote that Google removed about 207,000 ads for ticket resellers; 531,000 ads for bail bonds, and 58.8 million phishing ads.
And along the way Google introduced 31 new advertising policies to address abuses in areas including third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and local services such as garage door repairmen, bail bonds and addiction treatment facilities.
Google also removed ads from about 28 million pages that violated its publisher policies by using a combination of manual reviews and machine learning to catch the violations.
Google’s ad business generates billion for the company -- in fact, more than $32 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 -- which accounts for more than 80% of all Google’s revenue, according to the company’s quarterly filing.
Hateful content that misrepresents something also presents challenges. In 2018, Google removed ads from approximately 1.2 million pages, more than 22,000 apps, and nearly 15,000 sites across its ad network for violations of policies directed at misrepresentative, hateful or other low-quality content.
More specifically, Google removed ads from almost 74,000 pages for violating “dangerous or derogatory” content policy, and took down approximately 190,000 ads for violating a policy against hate speech that aims to protect users, advertisers and publishers from hateful content across platforms.
Next month Google plans to publish a Policy manager in Google Ads that will provide tips on common policy mistakes to help advertisers create and launch compliant ads, Spencer explains.
The world of politics also became a concern in 2018, from fake news to questions about who purchased the ads.
So Google instated a new policy for election ads in the U.S. ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
The policy included verifying nearly 143,000 election ads in the U.S. and the launch of a new political ads transparency report that gives more information about who bought election ads. Similar tools will roll out in Europe and India this year.