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Google Ads updated political content policies

Google is ending some election ads exemptions, adding new election ads serving options and changing verification requirements. Two new policy updates have been issued, one around new content policies and the other around new advertiser verifications.

Ending election ad serving exceptions. Google said starting on February 15, 2022 the Google Ads Political content policy will be updated and enforced to eliminate existing products, services, and news exemptions to Election Ads policies worldwide.

This means that ads for products, services, and news will no longer be exempt from Google Election Ads policies. Google said that if you want to advertise products, services, and news with ad content in scope of the policy, for example an ad featuring a current candidate or officeholder, Google will be subject to the respective Election Ads policy, including the requirement that they apply for Election Ads verification in order to run these ads.

If you violate that policy, Google said it will not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. A warning will be issued at least seven days prior to any suspension of your account.

Expanding election ad serving options. Google will also expand ad serving options for election related content. This will be expanded on February 15, 2022 along with the new ad serving exceptions listed above.

Currently, election ads can serve only in the country or region to which the ad content pertains. But as of February 15, 2022, advertisers who have completed either election ads or advertiser identity verification will be eligible to serve ads in their home country or region that are in scope of an election ads policy pertaining to a different country or region. Google said “advertisers will not be permitted to serve election ads outside of their home country or region. For example, a verified New Zealand advertiser will be eligible to run in New Zealand an ad featuring an EU candidate or officeholder, but would not be permitted to run that same ad in the EU.”

New verification requirements. Google on January 24, 2022 will start to enforce new verification requirements, where Google said it will no longer accept W9 forms for identity verification for US election ads verification. Instead, for employer identification number (EIN) verification, Google will accept the following forms:

  • Any document, notice, or letter either issued by the IRS or stamped by the IRS that states the Organization’s name and EIN;
  • Forms submitted to the IRS, such as 8871 or 990, if available on the IRS website;
  • Certificates of Business Incorporation;
  • The most recent SEC filing;
  • Bank statements dated within the last 3 months;
  • Business credit reports from Experian, Equifax, TransUnion or Dun & Bradstreet.

You can learn more about this verification change over here.

Why we care. If you are supporting clients or managing your own ads in the election or political space, you will want to carefully review these new changes. When February 15, 2022 comes around, Google will begin enforcing these changes and you want to make sure your ads are running without any issues.


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