Starting in July, Google will ban the use of so-called ‘clickbait’ copy in advertisements shown on their network.

Speaking on the announcement, the search giant said that the new policy will ban any “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.”

Whilst many firms are unlikely to be engaging in such tactics on Google’s advertising networks, it’s worth keeping an eye on your ‘disapproved ads’ status when the change rolls out with such policy changes sometimes resulting in unexpected dissaprovals.

Google has provided a list of examples of ‘clickbait’ in ads, including:

  • Ads that claim to reveal secrets, scandals or other sensationalist information about the product or service being advertised
  • ads which use clickbait messaging such as ‘‘Click here to find out”, “You won’t believe what happened” or phrases synonymous or similar to encourage the user to click on the Ad in order to understand the full context of the ad
  • Ads that pressure the user to purchase, subscribe to or stop consuming a product or service in order to avoid harm
  • ads which use depictions of severe distress, pain, fear or shock to promote a product or service.

Analysis – time for a check-up

Whilst most advertisers in the financial space won’t knowingly be producing questionable advertising copy and messages, there is the potential for firms to fall foul of Google’s new policy unwhittingly.

Simply by using a phase such as ‘click here to find out’, an advertiser may be at risk of having their ads disapproved.

The advice here is simple: if you know that you engage in producing ‘clickbait’ advertisements, now is the time to reassess. Otherwise, if you’re confident that your current approach falls in line with this new policy, it’s still advisable to check you ad status when the change comes into effect in July.