Given how much many of us depend on Google's services, its in the company's interests to ensure its platforms don't serve us bad ads that could be out to fool us. With such a sprawling portfolio of products, that's no mean feat, and in 2019 that meant a total of 2.7 billion ads blocked and removed by various teams at Google. If the scale of that is hard to fathom, it works out as 5,000 ads per minute.
Policy violations caused Google to suspend the accounts of almost one million advertisers. Not to mention the 1.2 million publisher accounts that were terminated because of continuous violations and rogue ads on 21 million webpages that needed to be removed. As with email, phishing is a popular tactic in adverts too, with services pretending to help with passport renewal in order to steal credit card details marked by Google as one of the most devious. Trick-to-click ads that mimick OS warnings or buttons also became more prominent.
A new team formed within Google last year set about monitoring patterns for faster identification of both phishing and trick-to-click ads, which led to a decrease of almost 50% of these ads being observed by users 2019 versus the previous year. More than 45 million were blocked, in total.
We've all seen dodgy personal loan ads, and this was another area Google focused on last year. Any ads of this nature must adhere to an updated policy whereby they must clearly state all fees, risks, and benefits on their app or site to ensure users aren't tricked into making a poor financial decision. In turn, 9.6 million ads that didn't comply were taken down. In select countries, a certification program for debt management advertisers was also launched to help protect vulnerable users.
The coronavirus pandemic has no doubt added to Google's workload in 2020, with an ever-increasing number ads for face masks in particular need of rigorous vetting in recent months. A COVID-19 task force has therefore been set up to ensure related adverts aren't out to get users. New detection technology is already being implemented by Google to go along with an increase in its messaging around the topic.