Google tweaks brand safety rules for publishers, with focus on pages instead of websites

Google tweaks brand safety rules for publishers as it focuses on individual pages instead of entire websites

Google has announced two updates to its Adsense network today which will allow it to address violations on a more granular level, and increase transparency for website publishers around policy enforcement.

Announcing the news in a blog post, the internet giant said it has updated the tech behind its publisher network Adsense in order to allow it to remove ads from individual pages if publishers fall foul of the rules. Previously, Google would remove ads from every page of a website in the event of a policy violation, rather than just blocking ads on the pages featuring offending content.

“We want to be as surgical and narrow as possible when we take policy action against violations,” said Scott Spencer, director of product management for sustainable ads at Google.

Google has also responded to publishers' demands for greater transparency, revealing plans to roll out a new policy centre tool in AdSense which will launch in the next few weeks to let publishers know more about why ads were pulled from their pages.

Google is billing the toolkit as a "one-stop shop" for publishers, with Spencer saying: "We have been piloting this Policy Center with thousands of AdSense publishers, who have been very positive about these changes—and provided great feedback and suggestions on how to make the Policy Center more useful."

The policy center has been designed with website publishers in mind, but some YouTubers also monetize their videos through AdSense. While the company has yet to comment on how the changes will affect creators Spencer has said that "later this year, we’ll be adding policy centers in other publisher platforms in addition to AdSense," but he didn't specify which ones.

Google doesn't know how many pages will be removed under this policy change, but it's reasonable to estimate that a single-page approach will lessen the financial impact of bad ads for both Google and the publishers using AdSense. More than 2m websites use the service.

Google's move to streamline facilities for publishers follows on from a brand safety furore earlier this year in which many advertisers including the UK government, McDonald's and Marks & Spencer pulled or suspend campaigns from YouTube and Google's Display Network in response to concerns over brand safety.

The business reacted with a three-pronged strategy to address concerns, as well as an updated YouTube Partner Program (YPP) aimed at reducing the likelihood of ads being served against inappropriate content.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering events in Europe and the US like Ad Week, Dmexco, Dreamforce and Ciclope.

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