Google advertisers can now opt out of Search Network

Google is allowing advertisers to opt out of the Search Network.

This decision comes in the wake of an Adalytics report claiming that Google search ads appeared on inappropriate non-Google websites through the search partner sites, creating potential risks for brand safety.

The flagged websites referenced in the research contain pornographic, sanctioned and pirated content.

Although Google refuted the claims, it acknowledged the need for improvements and customer satisfaction. This led to the introduction of the ability to exclude search partners from all campaign types.

Why we care. Ads appearing alongside inappropriate content can damage a brand’s reputation. Additionally, the audience consuming such content is unlikely your target audience, which results in inefficient use of advertising budget, time and resources.

New capabilities. Advertisers can temporarily exclude all campaign types, including Performance Max and app campaigns, from search partner sites. Media buyers reportedly have until March 1, 2024 to opt out PMax campaigns.

Adalytics claims. The Adalytics report, published last week, claimed that an unnamed Fortune 500 company was left “surprised” after learning that its ads were being served on “many” non-Google websites. Such websites included – a site the company had specifically added to its account-level domain exclusion list (i.e. blocklist) several years beforehand. An Adalytics researcher commented:

  • “This raises the possibility that ads were served on websites and publishers despite the brand’s deliberate efforts to achieve brand safety and exercise control over their media investments.”

Dan Taylor, Vice President, Global Ads at Google, denied the claims in the report, calling them “wildly exaggerated” last week.

What Google is saying. A Google spokesperson told Adweek:

  • “Our priority is our partners, and we listen closely to their feedback, which is why we are temporarily offering a new option to opt out.”
  • “Adalytics made wildly exaggerated claims by trying to generate as many negative ad placements as they could, but our own analysis found that those placements rarely occurred before they intentionally triggered them.”
  • “Though we take enormous issue with Adalytics’ methodology and conclusions, we always look to improve our products to meet our partners’ needs.”

Search Engine Land contacted Google for further comment. We’ll update the story if we receive a reply.

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