Skip to main content

Google has recently contacted advertisers about a policy change, based on interests and location to AdWords and related advertising. The new regulation will be effective from the end of this month.

The changes affect explicitly how advertisers target users on the Google AdWords platform, but also relate to all aspects of interest-based advertising, including remarketing lists, ad content, data feeds and advertiser websites. Though this will not affect mainstream advertisers, the shift in policy is seen by many as being progressive and also reflective of current events. It also highlights how certain advertisers see the AdWords platform as a powerful and direct way to sometimes target those that may be viewed as more vulnerable members of society.

This is the main reason why Google has introduced new advertising content policies that no longer allow targeting users in vulnerable situations. The policy applies to advertisers using one or more of the following AdWords features:

  • Remarketing
  • Affinity audiences
  • Custom affinity audiences
  • In-market audiences
  • Similar audiences
  • Demographic and location targeting

When creating a remarketing list, advertisers cannot use any sensitive information about the website’s or app’s visitors, whether collected directly or associated with a visitor, based on the visitor’s profile or behaviour on the website or app.

In addition, Google will introduce some new ad content policies that no longer allow advertisers to create ads on the following topics:

  • Content that reveals personal hardships related to relationships and family, such as bereavement
  • Content that reveals personal hardships related to victim support for issues such as domestic abuse
  • Content that reveals the user’s identity related to potentially marginalised social groups such as refugees
  • Content that reveals the user’s identity related to transgender identification

The timing of this last point coincides perfectly with the current media fracas surrounding the transgender bathroom law that was passed in North Carolina in March of this year.