Google took down more than 3.2 billion ads in 2017, according to its latest “bad ads” report, up from 1.7 billion the previous year and equating to 100 ads removed per second.
The ads in question included those automatically sending users to malware sites (79 million), “trick to click” ads, which frequently appear as system warnings to entice users to click (66 million), and ads with the motive of getting users to install unwanted software (48 million). The cull also led to the removal of 320,000 publishers from its network, considered to be exacerbating deceptive content for commercial gain, while nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 apps were also blocked.
All this purging amounted to the removal of two million pages for policy violations a month in 2017, while after expanding its policy against “dangerous and derogatory” content to cover additional forms of discrimination and intolerance, Google removed ads from 8,700 pages. A further 12,000 websites were blocked for duplicating and copying content from other sites.
The search giant also claimed to have suspended 7,000 AdWords accounts for “tabloid cloaking” violations - up from 1,400 in 2016 - where scammers try to sell diet pills and weight-loss products by buying ads that look like sensationalist news headlines but ultimately lead to “something other than news”.
New year, new measures
Following the scorched-earth measures, Google has added 28 new policies for advertisers and 20 for publishers in efforts to further combat the latest threats to its online advertising experience. There are also plans to introduce a number of new policies this year to address ads in “unregulated, overly complex, or speculative financial products”, such as cryptocurrencies and foreign exchange markets.
This year, Google plans to add several new policies that “will address ads in unregulated, overly complex, or speculative financial products” like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference.
Google’s fight for the better ad experience will, of course, also be aided by the role out of its Chrome ad blocker, which filters out intrusive ads deemed to interrupt the user experience online as well as those not conforming to the Coalition for Better Ads standards, however, it has been estimated that just 1% of publishers will be affected.