Google Plans to Put All Ads Through Verification

Ads on Google Are About to Get More Transparent

Google runs a lot of ads in search and across its services from myriad advertisers. Who are these people? Google is soon going to help you with visible disclosures.

Google Headquarters

Google Ads—all of them—are about to get a heavy injection of transparency. The search giant announced that all advertisers will eventually go through a verification process to run ads on its network.

The details: Two years ago, Google started running political ads through a verification process. The success of that program encouraged Google to expand the process through all ad categories. Advertisers will eventually be unable to buy and display ads without verification. Once verified, ads will run with a disclosure link, an "About this advertiser" that lets consumers see exactly who is behind the ad.

Why do this: Information about who is running ads means those peddling shady products and offers can't hide behind the ad. Instead, they have to stand out in the open beside it.

Google launched September 4, 1998

Google Ads launched on October 23, 2000

When do ads change: Google noted that, owing to the scale of its ad operation, the roll-out will happen in phases, starting in the U.S. and then going global. Ultimately, it may take a few years to completely transform the ad business.

What you'll see: Verification does not replace any of your current Google ad controls, like the ability to opt-out of personalized ads or the "Why this ad?" link, which explains why you saw an ad in the first place.

What does Google say? "At Google, our goal is to make more information about the ad experience universally available and accessible. Broadening our verification policy is the next step in reaching that goal."

Bottom line: More information about who is running any kind of ad should mean higher-quality, more trustworthy advertising and, in the end, a better consumer experience.

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