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Google's new ad policies for financial services and products

Written by Natalie Ng

From the 6th of September, Google will begin enforcing New Certification Requirements for Financial Services Advertisers in the UK.

This will take place based on the policy changes planned for the 30th of August 2021. From then on, companies will have to prove that they are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK FCA). Besides advertisers offering financial services (or any approved by company third parties), this also applies to advertisers who do not promote financial products but target users who appear to be seeking financial services.

How to prepare?

This new advertiser identity verification process will require companies to provide personal identification or business incorporation documents to prove their legitimacy. This means that companies must provide proof of their operating location and the services they offer. With this, Google aims to protect users, publishers, and advertisers from financial product scams. Anybody involved in promoting financial services in the UK will have to undergo this process, and there will be a time limit of 21 days to submit the verification form once received.

Although Google has published several articles about their policy, verification process, and necessary documentary (and most likely will publish more), it is important to understand the coming changes right now. To run ads, businesses will need to provide accurate details during the verification process. All business information must match exactly with business details available on the UK FCA registry or records. It is also worth reminding those who did not go through Google’s advertiser identity verification process so far that now is the right moment to do it.

It is important to be prepared, as business accounts may be suspended if any details are missing or incorrect. And of course, leaving things as they are is not an option, as Google will notify account owners of their obligation to send in their forms within 7 days once it has judged that the account has violated its policy.

It also has to be clearly said that regarding this policy update, Google has mentioned that products in the scope of the following 4 categories are exempt:

  1. Debt services
  2. Complex financial products (CFDs, rolling spot forex, financial spread betting)
  3. Gambling and games
  4. Cryptocurrency, credit repair, binary options

However, products in these categories still have to comply with other Google Ads policies.

Let’s talk about other countries

Beginning August 3rd, companies advertising stock exchanges and wallets in the US and Japan will be able to advertise their products and services if they meet the requirements and are certified by Google. For US-based companies, this means being registered with FinCEN as a financial service firm and as a money remitter in at least one state, or being a registered banking entity on either a federal or state level. Regardless, all companies must comply with Google Ads policies and are subject to local laws.

Even with this policy change, many products are still forbidden, such as Coin Offerings—either ICOs or DeFi trading protocols. Google still does not allow the promotion of any cryptocurrency-related services, so this change seems to be beneficial for only some businesses.

As for other countries, there are no new announcements yet. This means that advertisers outside of the UK will still have to meet their local licensing requirements previously shared by Google.

More details can be found in this Google article:

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Natalie Ng

Head of Asia & PPC

Based in Hong Kong, Natalie leads our PPC international team. Before MediaGroup, Natalie worked in various digital agencies in the UK and Hong Kong. Natalie holds an MA from the University of Warwick in Electronic Business Management. Her experience working and studying abroad has prepared her to lead a multi-national team of PPC experts.

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