On April 23rd, 2020, Google announced it would be implementing an Advertiser Verification policy within Google Ads. This policy provides greater transparency about the advertiser and enables searchers to learn more about the advertiser before clicking on a search ad.
Advertisers will be required to go through a verification process by submitting business incorporation documents and the country in which they operate. The verification process is expected to begin in June for all advertisers. In conjunction with the verification process, all ads served on Google will show an “About this advertiser” feature when the down caret (▼) is clicked. In this box, the parent company name will be displayed.
“About this advertiser” is an update to the “Why this ad” feature that has been live on Google since 2012. In 2017, a similar update was rolled out to include the advertiser’s website within the “Why this ad” box. However, this update excluded Unbranded pharmaceutical ads.
This update will provide greater transparency for searchers and will have implications for advertisers. However, it is not clear if pharmaceutical advertisers will be required to go through the entire verification process and how this policy will specifically impact pharmaceutical advertisers.
No Expected Impact to Branded Ads. Having the parent company name easily accessible will have no impact to Branded ads. Branded ads must follow the reminder ad format, therefore they will remain compliant under this update.
Unbranded Ads May No Longer Be FDA Compliant. With the parent company name one click away, the advertiser of the Unbranded ad may be easily identified. This may mean that Unbranded ads would not be compliant with FDA regulations as Unbranded ads typically have product claims and indication.
No Changes to Bing. Bing has not announced a similar update to its search engine results page.
Improved Audience Quality. As searchers now have greater transparency into the advertiser, the new update may pre-qualify visitors before the click. This may result in higher engagement with more qualified visitors.
Possible Increase in Accidental Clicks. Searchers may accidentally click on an ad while looking for the advertiser information, resulting in an increase in costs.
Underscore is currently working closely with our Google representatives to understand the impact to pharmaceutical advertisers, including expected timing and requirements. As more information becomes available from Google, Underscore will be sharing updates and recommendations.