Clickbait, we’re all familiar with it. You’re scrolling through a website when you see “learn the easy way Kyle lost 20 pounds in two weeks” or “you won’t believe what happened when…” only to click on the link and find out that what happened was completely different. It was normal (and annoying) to find ads with these messages, but not anymore! Following a surprising policy update, Google is banning clickbait ads starting July 2020. 

This falls under Google’s policy of Misrepresentation for advertisers. Google says “this policy covers advertisement which uses sensationalist or clickbait text or imagery which intend to drive traffic to the Ad through pressurizing the viewer to take immediate action in order to understand the full context of the ad.” 

As part of the policy, one of the things that Google will be looking at is whether the text in an ad is sensationalist. Phrases such as “you won’t believe what happened” and “click here to find out” will now violate Google’s policies. They will also be looking out for images that don’t show the full context of an ad, such as zoomed in body parts or before and after shots. 

Google will also be keeping an eye out for the images that are used to depict these ads. From now on, ads using negative life events, such as accidents or illness with the purpose of eliciting strong emotions to prompt engagement with the ad will be banned. 

Check out Google’s update to the Misrepresentation policy to see more examples of what won’t be allowed in your ads. 

This policy update is important for a number of reasons. First of all, users are just tired of finding clickbaity ads! These links may not only waste users’ time, but also sometimes lead to some questionable websites. 

However, it is mainly relevant for people in the online advertising industry. Ginny Marvin wrote an article on Search Engine Land discussing some of the ways this new policy can affect advertisers. 

Mainly, if you are using these tactics in your current ad campaigns, you have some time to think about your action plan from now on. You will likely be able to keep them for the rest of June, but it’s worth it to start thinking about your new plans for future campaigns. 

For advertisers who don’t make use of these tactics, it’s still important to to consider how this update can affect your ads. As Marvin mentions even though “on the face, the policy appears straightforward, but there will likely be scenarios in which advertisers’ ads are unexpectedly disapproved.” 

Even though this update was surprising for some, as Google quietly updated the policy without making any formal announcement, it was perceived as a step in the right direction for many. As the world of online advertising continues to change, remember the importance of trying out new tactics and always testing! 

Tell us, how do you feel about Google’s policy update? We’d love to hear your thoughts