Google Updates Political Ads Content Policies

Google on Monday updated some policies related to political advertisements. The company ended some election ad exemptions, added ad-serving options, changed content policies, and changed verification requirements.

January 24, 2022 is the first date that marketers will need to remember. On this date, Google begins to enforce new verification requirements for those that want to run political ads across the company’s ad network.

This means Google will no longer accept W9 forms for identity verification for U.S. election ads.

Forms being accepted for employer identification number (EIN) verification will include any document, notice, or letter either issued by the IRS or stamped by the IRS that states the Organization’s name and EIN; forms submitted to the IRS, such as 8871 or 990, if available on the IRS website; certificates of incorporating the business; the most recent Security Exchange Commission filing; bank statements dated within the past three months; of business credit reports from Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, or Dun & Bradstreet.

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Beginning February 15, 2022, Google will enforce its Ads Political content policy worldwide. This eliminates existing products, services, and news exemptions to Election Ads policies. Ads for products, services, and news will no longer be exempt from Google Election Ads policies.

If marketers want to advertise products, services, and news with ad content related to the policy -- such as with an ad featuring a candidate or “officeholder” -- they will need to follow Google’s Election Ads policy, including the requirement of applying for Election Ads verification to run the ads.

“Violations of this policy will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning,” per the Google post. “A warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to any suspension of your account.”

Ad-serving options also are being expanded for election-related content on February 15, 2022.

Election ads can serve only in the country or region to which the ad content pertains. For example, election ads can serve only in the EU, and U.S. election ads can only serve in the U.S.

After this change, advertisers that have completed either Election Ads or Advertiser Identity verification will be eligible to serve ads in their home country or region that might fall into different countries or regions.  

Advertisers will not be permitted to serve Election Ads outside of their home country or region. For example, a verified New Zealand advertiser will be eligible to run in New Zealand an ad featuring an EU candidate or officeholder, but would not be permitted to run that same ad in the EU.

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