Google’s 2023 Ads Safety Report unveiled a significant increase in action taken against advertisers. It
revealed that 12.7 million advertiser accounts were either blocked or removed, nearly double the figure
from the previous year. Furthermore, Google blocked or removed 5.5 billion ads for policy violations,
slightly exceeding the previous year’s count.

Why it matters: Combatting fraudulent accounts is essential for brand safety and fosters a secure
environment for consumers to engage in online transactions confidently. However, reliance on AI for
enforcement poses a potential risk, as it could erroneously suspend legitimate advertisers and ads.

Key findings from the 2023 Google Ads Safety Report include:

  • Blocking or removal of 206.5 million ads for misrepresentation, encompassing various scam
  • Blocking or removal of 273.4 million ads for violating the financial services policy.
  • Blocking or removal of over 1 billion ads for abusing the ad network, including malware
  • Blocking or restricting ads from appearing on over 2.1 billion publisher pages.
  • Broader site-level enforcement action on more than 395,000 publisher sites, showing a significant
    increase from 2022.

In 2023, Google observed a surge in scams and fraud across all platforms. To address these challenges, it
implemented 31 updates to its Ads and Publisher policies, including:

  • Enhancements to suitability controls for advertisers, facilitating quicker exclusion of undesired
    topics on YouTube and Display inventory.
  • Updates to the misrepresentation policy for swift suspension of malicious accounts.
  • Introduction of the Limited Ads Serving policy, limiting the reach of less familiar advertisers to
    protect users.
  • Launch of the Ads Transparency Center, allowing users to easily search and access ads from
    verified advertisers across platforms like Search, YouTube, and Display

AI: The report underscores AI’s pivotal role in Google’s efforts to combat malicious actors. Google asserts
that AI enables the identification and suspension of fraudulent accounts before they access its platforms
or swiftly removes them upon detection.

Future plans: While Google didn’t disclose specific details regarding upcoming updates for 2024, it
confirmed its ongoing investment in policy development, detection, and enforcement.

Appeals: Should you disagree with Google’s decisions and believe your ad didn’t violate its policies, you
can appeal any enforcement action. Google will review your appeal, utilizing instances of incorrect
decisions to improve its systems.

Google’s Message: Duncan Lennox, VP & GM of Ads Privacy and Safety, emphasized:

  • “Our aim is to intercept malicious ads and suspend fraudulent accounts before they infiltrate our
    platforms, or promptly remove them upon detection. AI is enhancing our enforcement efforts
    across the board.”
  • “To illustrate AI’s impact: over 90% of our publisher page-level enforcement last year was initiated
    by machine learning models, including our latest LLMs.”