What is Advertiser Identity Verification?
Google has launched a new verification process that requires advertisers to verify their identities for ads served on Google platforms. As part of the Advertiser Identification Verification (AIV), advertisers will be required to disclose their legal name and location. According to Google, this verification is part of Google’s commitment to provide users transparency, choice and control in the ads they see across their platforms.
There are several components to AIV:
- For marketers, agencies, and advertisers: Google will verify the identity of the advertiser that is running ads through Google Ads and Display & Video 360. Advertisers will be required to submit documentation proving their legal name & address.
- For consumers: AIV will enable users to see the advertiser paying for any ad served through Google Ads or Display & Video 360 through an ad disclosure linked from the “Why This Ad” button.
The new AIV process will roll out in phases over the coming months and years, and will start with U.S. advertisers within a small group of 'mandatory verifications' across all of Google. Google expects it will take a few years to cover all current advertisers globally.
Keep in mind that advertisers cannot proactively complete verification at this time. Advertisers will be alerted if their account(s) will be included in an upcoming phase. Google will send an automated email request to all users added to the account regardless of permission level.
Advertisers will have 30 days from the date the email is received to complete the process. The verification process must be completed at the individual advertiser level and is currently not available to be completed in bulk at the MCC level.
Google will ask advertisers to provide a combination of personal identification, business incorporation documents, and other information that proves their identity. For most advertisers, documentation will be tax documents as well as a government-issued ID or U.S. residence permit. Agencies will be asked to work with or provide documentation on behalf of their clients.
How it appears on the SERP
Users will begin to see a small drop-down arrow and disclosures in the “Why this ad?” menu that explain the advertiser’s name and the country they are based in.
Why is it being implemented?
Verification will potentially increase trust in ads by making it easier for users to understand the advertiser behind each ad they see on Google.
There are three primary reasons for the new identity verification measures:
1. Limits fraudulent advertisers from misrepresenting brands and advertisers
2. Empowers consumers to make better choices when using already existing controls like Ad Setting to customize ads personalization
3. Increases trust in ads by making it easier for users to understand the advertiser behind each ad they see from Google
What is the expected impact?
Although the new feature provides additional transparency, there is no evidence that verified advertisers will have better performance vs. non-verified advertisers (for example better CTR). However, because users will have the ability to opt out of ads from the advertisers, audience sizes could potentially decrease over time.
The ad disclosure will not change the look of ads—with the exception of the drop-down arrow—and should not impact how ads serve. However, if an advertiser (or agency) does not complete the documentation required for AIV within 30 days, ads are no longer able to serve from that advertiser until AIV is completed.
Overall, Google AIV is good news for authentic advertisers who are driving traffic to a verified company website. This process could remove low quality, fraudulent competitors from the space. It remains to be seen what percent of users will actually notice the drop-down arrow, which you would have to click to verify information.
The information advertisers are being asked to provide is minimal and agencies will easily be able to provide their client’s documentation to Google. For the majority of advertisers, the process will likely go into effect within the next few months and should be something that is handled with urgency as soon as they’re notified.
If this process truly increases trust in ads, as Google suggests, we should expect an increase in CTR overtime.
Additional reporting by Justin Colbert, Manager, Search Marketing & Jennifer Gasbarro, Analyst, Search Marketing