Google has released its end-of-year report detailing the amount of advertisers and advertisements that were removed or penalized from the company’s vast advertising network for exposing users to spam, malware, counterfeit goods or services, and other malicious content. While the amount of individual ads that were pulled from the system shot up significantly, the number of bad advertisers banned from Google was actually less in 2013 than 2012.
Google removed 350 million bad ads in 2013, up 59% from the 224 million pulled the year before. The number of illegitimate advertisers shrank to 270,000 from the over 850,000 identified in 2012. The substantial drop has been attributed to Google’s improved safety screens.
Furthermore, the amount of advertisers banned from Google’s system for selling counterfeit goods dropped 80% over the course of a year, with the total number of counterfeiters equaling 14,000. Google also reported an 82% drop in counterfeit goods being sold through Google AdWords in 2013, and a 78% reduction in user complaints about counterfeit scams.
However, the downward trend did not cross over into Google AdSense. 250,000 publisher accounts were pulled from the system for policy violations, including 5,000 for copyright violations – a 25% increase from 2012. Additionally, over 200,000 publisher pages were blacklisted, and more than 3 million requests to join AdSense were rejected. A complete breakdown of the Bad Ads Report highlights exactly what triggered Google to pull the bad ads, pages, and advertiser accounts.
What does all of this mean for advertisers? Google is increasing its vigilance across its organic and paid search systems to protect users from poor content and spammy ads. While this is good news for consumers and for the majority of advertisers on the system, it does mean that brands need to be even more diligent in observing SEM best practices and to protect their reputations.
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