Google’s advanced verification requirements are going to start impacting more advertisers that utilize AdWords across the United States early this year. Prepare your business by understanding what advanced verification is, why Google has made this change, and what to expect as an advertiser.
When you “Google” something, do you expect the results that populate to be relevant to what you’ve just typed into the search box? You most likely answered “yes”, and anyone completing one of the over 2 trillion searches Google handles a year would probably say the same. Taking that a step further, do you expect the businesses you find on Google to be legitimate, real businesses? You probably never think about it, but you would answer “yes” to that question too. In fact, you don’t ever think about it precisely because it’s an automatic expectation. If Google didn’t provide relevant, trustworthy search results, you’d look elsewhere to find the information you’re looking for.
That’s where advanced verification comes in. Google knows you are answering “yes” to those two questions, but unfortunately, has “identified a number of fraudulent advertisers who use false identities” (Source: Google). As a result, Google is introducing advanced verification as a way to reduce fraud and create a better experience for both consumers and advertisers. The advanced verification process entails advertisers submitting their information to Google through an application that includes business type, owner name and contact information, license type, number, and expiration date.
Advanced verification is not new to Google, as they’ve been testing it since 2016 in different industries and locations as well as within different sections of their results page. Most of this testing was limited to advertisers in the California area, specifically San Diego and LA, but as of early 2018 Google has expanded the program to be nationwide.
Advanced verification is currently impacting two industries across the United States: garage door services and locksmith services. These two verticals were selected due to the volume of fraudulent advertisers Google has already uncovered within each of them and also, of course, because security is of the utmost importance in these industries. This list of industries could certainly expand as we get further in 2018, but time will tell how the rollout nationwide will impact advanced verification as a whole.
If you are new to advertising on Google in the impacted industries, as soon as your campaign has been set live, your Google AdWords account will be flagged for disapproval. This may also happen to existing advertisers for campaigns that are already running. Once your account is flagged, you can begin the advanced verification process.
To start the process, you would submit your advertiser account information through the advanced verification application. Applications are said to be reviewed within 2 weeks. Google’s support page on advanced verification notes that all information submitted through an application is strictly confidential.
Once the application has been reviewed, the timeframe to get through the process is dependent on your responsiveness. You may be asked to do a phone or video interview. It does vary by business and there are no clear guidelines on what to expect, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
• If a video conference is needed, a business owner may have to do a Google Hangout to show their business, license, etc.
• The business owner must be on-site at their location for the video/phone interview.
• If an advertiser misses a phone or video interview, they may be fully declined and ineligible to run ads on Google.
It is very important to be engaged and on top of your advanced verification process, as it is required to pass in order for you to continue running paid search ads. If you’re working with a company like ThriveHive to manage your search engine marketing they should be able to guide you through the process.
As a consumer, you should feel confident that Google is putting your needs first, making sure that they continue to offer high-quality search results to those using their search engine. As an advertiser, you might have some extra work to do but you can rest assured that any of your competitors are going to have to go through the same process. Your ad will only be shown next to other, legitimate businesses.