Ads related to cryptocurrencies are officially restricted from advertising on the Google Adwords platform. Google announced the ban on crypto ads just days ago clarifying the Google banned terms will cover “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cyptocyrrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).” The banned crypto adds will also include content aggregators and crypto affiliates, as it encompasses all “cryptocurrencies and related content.”
Google’s ban comes just months after Facebook took action to ban cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings on both Facebook and Instagram. Their policy was announced on January 30th stating, “Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.”
The Google Banned Crypto Ads Takes Effect June 2018
Although reports of waning Adwords performance for cryptocurrency markets have been circulating for weeks, suggesting Google had taken steps to reduce the visibility of initial coin offerings on Adwords, the official ban of cryptocurrency will not take effect until June 2018.
However, the policy remains partially unclear for advertisers and does provide hope, as the announcement indicated that crypto ads may still be allowed but advertisers will need to: “Be licensed by the relevant financial services authority in the country or countries they are targeting; Ensure their ads and landing pages comply with all Adwords policies; Comply with relevant legal requirements, including those related to complex speculative financial products; advertisers can request certification with Google starting March 2018 when the application form is published. This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products.”
Text and display advertising through pay-per-click avenues on Google, Facebook, and Instagram has long been a competitive marketing channel for nearly all industries. Google being the predominant search engine and Facebook the largest social network, they hold the key to the vast majority of online traffic. The most effective paid marketing campaigns run through these networks and rely heavily on their users. While advertisers have recognized and understood the way bad advertisers can affect the ecosystem by compromising user experience, many argue that bad ads have been a problem in all markets and not just cryptocurrency.
Just last year, Google put an end to over three billion ads, more than twice the number of ads they dismantled in 2016. They released the following statement: “We blocked 79 million ads in our network for attempting to send people to malware-laden sites, and removed 400,000 of these unsafe sites last year. And, we removed 66 million ‘trick-to-click’ ads as well as 48 million ads that were attempting to get users to install unwanted software.”
As new threats emerge, Google constantly updates their policies. The ban on cryptocurrencies spans the entire industry, which may be Google’s best attempt to control the increasing quantity of illegitimate ads in this sector. In 2017, 28 new advertiser policies were introduced and 20 new publisher policies, in an effort to improve ad experience. The new policy implemented on cryptocurrencies by Google will: “Address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contract for difference (or CFDs).”
While many legitimate cryptocurrency businesses will be affected by the new policy, Google has provided an out through licensure and compliance, and applying using their application form once it has been published.