Google plans to soon require all advertisers to provide proof of their identities as well as the countries where they do business, in hopes of providing consumers with more insight into online advertising.
By this summer, Google will display that information to consumers in its “Why this Ad” menu. The information will be available for all search and display ads on Google's properties -- including YouTube and the Google search engine -- as well as ads that Google shows on outside publishers' sites.
“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, director of product management, ads integrity, writes in a blog 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 soon begin to notify advertisers about the new requirements, after which they will have 30 days to provide documentation, or face suspension.
Individual advertisers will be able to verify their identities with government-issued IDs, such as passports, while businesses will be required to submit documents such as W-9 tax forms or IRS verification letters. The company plans to roll out the new program in the U.S. before extending the initiative globally.
Google already implemented a similar verification program for political advertisers, which must now submit either a valid Federal Election Commission ID for the organization, or a state elections regulator registration or ID number.