In an effort to improve security, and in their words, transparency, Google Ads will be extending its identity verification program to all advertisers. Google’s John Canfield, Director of Product Management & Ads Integrity, made the announcement on Google’s “Ads Blog” on April, 23rd. Let’s break down this change, what it means for advertisers and users, and what the expected timeline is.
What Advertisers Will Need to do for Identity Verification
The good news is that you do not have to do anything just yet. Google plans to start the verification process in the United States and then expand it globally, and in the U.S., this will be rolled out in phases. Google says it will notify businesses when it is their turn to be verified, and they will have 30 days from notification to submit all documentation.
Once you are selected, you will receive a notification in your account as well as an email. From here you will have the 30 days to complete the two-step verification process and failure to do so will result in the ads being stopped. Here is what you will need.
Step 1: Complete the form included in the verification email and submit all requested information and documentation. For this step, you will need to verify your address, business name, and submit registration documents. Acceptable documents include either a W9 or an IRS document that contains your organization name, address, and EIN. Your application will be reviewed, and you will be notified of its acceptance in 3-5 business days.
Step 2: You will need to complete an identity check with documents and ID. Individuals and authorized representatives of the company need to submit a United States issued government ID. Once this step is complete, Google will again alert you of its acceptance within 3-5 days.
For more information on this process, you can visit the Google Support page.
What Identity Verification Means for Users
Google says that the benefits of this change will be making it easier for users to understand who is behind the ads they are seeing and it will help Google detect “bad actors and limit their attempts to misrepresent themselves.”
Some of the key features will be disclosures and being able to see the advertiser’s name, country location, and will have an opt-out option. This will be available under “Why this ad?” and “About the advertiser”.
Timeline for Roll-out
As mentioned earlier, this will start rolling out in the United States and in phases. There is no definitive timeline here, but Google says that it plans to scale the program while working with advertising partners and balancing the needs of its users. All in all, they expect the whole process to take a few years.
This change will have an impact on both users and advertisers, but it will not happen overnight. Make sure to keep your eye out for notifications from Google, especially if you are in the United States.