After the YouTube exodus, Google Display Network is taking great pains to ensure brand-safety for its advertisers, without cutting too deep into publishers’ (and its own) revenue.
Last week, Google announced two updates that will allow it to act quickly and more precisely against prohibited content, all the while making all policies (and their violation penalties) clearer to publishers.
With this launch, we’re moving two steps closer to our goal of making it easier to understand how our policies work so that publishers can drive their businesses forward, using Google ad platforms.
Here’s what the updates are all about, in a nutshell.
Individual Pages to be Flagged Instead of Site-wide Bans
Until now, Google used to pull all ads from websites that were found to be monetizing objectionable content with GDN ads. With this update, Google can be more discerning.
The update uses a combination of algorithms and manual reviews to flag and individual pages that violate content policies while leaving brand-safe content on the same domain to be monetized with ads.
This specific update will give Google AdSense and AdX publishers more room to breathe while responding to violation notices.
Page-level controls would also allow Google to remove ads from bad content more quickly. Before the update, Google would wait for a website to commit multiple violations before taking drastic action such as removing all ads or terminating the publisher’s account.
Now, these enforcement practices will be reserved only for incessant, repeat offenders.
We’ll still use site-level actions but only as needed. And when it’s necessary, such as in the case of egregious or persistent violations, we’ll still terminate publishers. Altogether, this means fewer disruptions for publishers.
— Scott Spencer, director of product management, Google sustainable ads
In the meantime, Google intends to become more transparent about policy communication.
New Policy Center for AdSense Publishers
We’re also announcing a new Policy Center as a one-stop shop for everything a publisher needs to know about policy actions that affect their sites and pages.
Within a few weeks, the new Policy Center will offer AdSense publishers with account-specific help. This will include page-level data on policy violations, subsequent actions Google took across their websites, step-by-step instructions on resolving said issues, and an easier, quicker channel for requesting a review (instead of filling out a Google form) once the publisher has fixed the issues.
Google intends to add these policy centers to more of its publisher platforms by the end of this year, although it’s yet to specify which ones.
While the updates are in the best interests of publishers, their effectiveness in curbing monetization of prohibited content and assuring brand-safety for advertisers remains to be seen.
Google has quantified and purged bad ads from its Display Network before, but it hasn’t yet estimated the number of content pages that will be affected by this particular update.
Google has ramped up policies, enforcement practices, and advertiser control since Times Inc. reported brand adverts playing next to derogatory and hateful content on YouTube.
After a flurry of new advertiser controls and policy updates, YouTube content creators were left complaining about unfair penalties and vague policies. The policy center is not yet available for YouTube, but it’s definitely a step towards making GDN more transparent for publishers.