In a blog post today, Google’s Director of Product Management, Ads Integrity. John Canfield, announced that the company will be extending its identity verification policy for all advertisers. Introduced in 2018, the feature required political advertisers to go through a verify their identity, which was then displayed as part of the ad itself.
The process was designed to created increased transparency, amid growing mistrust around the sources behind political ad buys in recent years. Moving forward, the company will make identity verification a required part of the ad buying process, regardless of topic.
Personal identification and business incorporation documents will be required for all parties buying an ad on Google’s network. That information will begin popping up in the ad unit units over the summer, letting users click through to view information including the name and location of the party that purchased the ad.
“This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls,” Canfield writes. “It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”
The political verification process is currently in place in 30 countries. The wider push will begin in the U.S. and build out from there. Google says it expects the entire thing to take “a few years” to be in place globally, given the massive scale of its advertising network. Once advertisers have been notified, they will have 30 days to fill out the form. The documents will then be vetted by a Google employee.
Tying advertisements to real people and businesses could go a long way in identifying bad actors on the massive network.