Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Ads has updated its Inappropriate content policy. The updates take aim at keywords around sensitive events, price gouging and more.
The update, released Tuesday and effective immediately, does not specifically mention coronavirus, but the change is clearly aimed at preventing advertisers from trying to capitalize on the outbreak. Google banned ads for face masks earlier this month.
Why we care. Digital platforms have struggled to stay ahead of misinformation and fraudulent claims as well as price gauging by advertisers trying to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis. This policy update may appear subtle, but it gives Google a clearer path to take action against bad actors and prevent advertisers from advertising on coronavirus-related keywords during this pandemic.
The update. The new language adds the mention of “public health emergency”: “Content that potentially capitalizes on or lacks reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, public health emergency, or other tragic event.”
The examples have also been expanded to include price gouging, the sale of products or services in high demand during a sensitive event and the use of “keywords related to a sensitive event to attempt to gain additional traffic.”
The old policy. The sensitive events section simply read, “Content that may be deemed as capitalizing on or lacking reasonable sensitivity towards a natural disaster, conflict, death, or other tragic event,” according to a December snapshot.