Google will ban clickbait on ads from July 2020

Starting next month, Google Ads that rely on Clickbait in the text or image will no longer allow. We show examples of what is then no longer possible.

Clickbait is still widely used by some publishers and advertisers to generate valuable clicks or traffic. This strategy is misleading for users. Therefore, from July 2020, Google will tighten its misrepresentation policy and prohibit any type of clickbait in ads. In future, advertisers will no longer be allowed to add lurid headlines or negative life events such as death or illness to their ads in order to urge users to interact as quickly as possible.

No more clickbait allowed with Google Ads: This is prohibited from July

On the official Google Ads Advertising Policy Help website, the search engine company announced an update to the misrepresentation policy for July 2020. According to Google, it applies to advertising “with texts or images that are lurid or contain clickbaiting and encourage users to click on the ad for more information”.

Since this classification leaves room for interpretation, Google provides a number of examples of clickbait tactics, which will lead to ads no longer being accepted from July. There are two categories:

  1. Ads that use clickbait tactics or lurid text or images to generate traffic
  2. Ads that use negative life events such as death, accident, illness, arrest, or bankruptcy to fuel fear, guilt, or other strong negative feelings, and put pressure on the user to act immediately.

As examples of ads in the first category, Google lists the following ad versions:

  • Ads that claim to disclose secrets, scandals, or other lurid information about the advertised product or service
  • Ads that use clickbaiting-like phrases like “Find out here”, “You never believe it”, or synonymous or similar phrases that encourage users to click the ad to get the full context of the ad understand
  • Ads that advertise products or services using the following types of photos: photos that clearly show enlarged and altered body parts, police photos, and photos of real accidents or disasters
  • Ads with before and after photos that promote significant changes to the body

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Ads depicting suffering, shock, and pain are also prohibited – if they promote clickbait

Google then gives two concrete examples for the second category:

  • Ads that urge users to buy, subscribe, or stop using a product or service to protect themselves from harm
  • Ads showing severe suffering, pain, fear, or shock to promote a product or service

Google emphasizes that the examples given are not complete. Accordingly, any other ad variations that contain clickbait in any form will no longer be permitted in the future. If advertisers have previously used comparable elements in their advertising, they need to rethink this approach quickly. Otherwise, advertising on Google will no longer be possible in around two weeks.

It can be assumed that even with the updated guideline there will be some ads in Google’s advertising cosmos that could be potentially misleading on a more subtle level. But the clear ban on clickbait in Google Ads is a sign of a strengthening of seriousness in Google’s advertising environment; and for a development of the digital advertising market towards more user friendliness. One can criticize and question Google’s actions and the company’s dominance in this advertising market. Nevertheless, the company can be attested that it always tries to make content more user-friendly.



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