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Google is putting tough new restrictions on targeting political ads


On Wednesday, Google announced that it would limit the possibilities of political advertisers to target their messages in the coming months.

Scott Spencer, vice president of product management and advertising at Google, said in a blog post that the company will begin to discourage political advertisers from targeting consumers based on their political affiliation or public voter data. Advertisers can still target voters by age, gender, and zip code, but no more specific geographic targeting is allowed. Contextual advertising, such as “ads for people reading or seeing a story about business, for example,” is also allowed.

These changes will be rolled out in the UK ahead of the general election later this year and globally on January 6, 2020.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that people around the world use Google to find relevant election information and that candidates use Google and search ads to raise small-dollar donations to help fund their campaigns,” said Spencer in a statement. “But given the recent concerns and debates about political advertising and the importance of mutual trust in the democratic process, we want to increase voters’ confidence in the political advertising they may see on our advertising platforms.”

In October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a tweet thread that the company would ban all political advertising on November 22nd. On Friday, Twitter released additional guidelines restricting how cause-based advertisers like Climate Change and Pro-Choice stakeholders can target their ads.

Google’s new restrictions mirror Twitter’s guidelines in many ways, although Google is no longer shy of a blanket ban on political advertising. However, given the immense size of the Google ad network compared to Twitter, the changes are likely to have a serious and immediate impact on the ad ecosystem. In the United States alone, the company has served more than $ 127 million in political ads since June 2018.


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