Google Slowly Lifts Restrictions On COVID-19 Ads

Google will begin allowing government entities, hospitals, medical providers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to run advertisements in search related to COVID-19 -- but not brands, according to at least one source. At least not yet.

Google had previously banned ads related to the virus to prevent brands and companies from taking advantage of consumer vulnerabilities. The engine was concerned that advertisers would buy ads and price gouge on necessities such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer or sell fake coronavirus tests -- or spread misinformation through search ads.

One media outlet reports that Google will begin allowing political advertisers to run COVID-19-related ads and plans to make the announcement in the next few days.

YouTube also notified select advertisers about two weeks ago that it would change its advertising policy around the virus, a source told Search Marketing Daily. Agencies began receiving an email that let them know their ads could begin serving up on COVID-19-related content on YouTube, which was previously not allowed.



Advertisers cannot bid directly on the keyword, but rather can bid on “infectious diseases,” so content related to COVID-19 could be pulled in.

YouTube will refine its policies and enforcement processes to expand monetization to more creators and news organizations, while all content will still be subject to its Advertiser Friendly Guidelines. This means excluding keywords like Health, Health Conditions, and infectious Disease in the campaigns.

YouTube also has begun donating advertising inventory to governments and NGOs in impacted regions that use it to spotlight timely, helpful information.

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