The nature of paid advertising is ever-changing, so instead of you having to trawl blogs and articles for this months news, I’ve taken the liberty of providing a summary for you right here. I wanted to focus on something that has been creating a buzz, especially on forums and LinkedIn and that is Google cracking down on firms masquerading as debt-free charities by tightening the rules within the Google Ads Policies.
Firms have been popping up and promoting themselves using Google Ads in order to appear in searches for Charities such as the National Debtline and StepChange. Advertising in the financial services market is already tough, competition is extremely high which pushes the cost per click to extortion. StepChange claimed they were having to pay over the odds just so they were able to appear above the “copycat firms”.
The problem with this kind of advertising is that people who have debt issues have come to Google to search for support or advice and end up being tricked by these companies. It’s been reported that users are paying hundreds of pounds for debt management plans, mistaking them for a Debt Charity. These kinds of scams most often are targeted at the most vulnerable, the elderly and the ones in the most need, when these are the people that should be supported and protected.
So what is Google doing about it? As of November, they are rolling out an update to the financial products and services policy. This will restrict the advertisement of debt settlement, management and credit repair services. The only companies that will be able to advertise for debt management or debt settlement services are those that are certified by Google, adverts for credit repair services will be completely banned. To be Google certified, advertisers have to be licensed, registered or approved by regulatory authorities in their respective country.
It seems like Google is continuing to take steps in improving its advertising standards and promoting fair play after already restricting advertising in ticket resale and addiction recovery centres. Someday in the not too distant future, we may move out of Misleading Metropolis and slowly into a noise-free, straightforward advertising utopia. Stay tuned.