Fighting bad advertising practices on the web.

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adwords logoEvery once in a while something comes across my computer here at bloomfield knoble that reminds me of  just how big online advertising really is.

Last week I was reading Inside AdWords, Google’s official blog for news, tips and information on AdWords, and I saw the number 524 million. I read this blog, and a lot of other articles about AdWords, because online marketing is a core competency for us at bloomfield knoble. We believe that marketing or advertising campaigns are made better by taking an integrated approach. We work hard to build brand equity across a variety of platforms, including online, search, radio, TV, print and, depending on client, mass, in-store, out-of-home, etc. I tell you this so you know, that we at bloomfield knoble know online advertising.

Anyway, the blog entry is titled, “Fighting Bad Advertising Practices on the Web – 2014 Year in Review” by Vikram Gupta, director, ads engineering for Google. In the article, Gupta writes that Google disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014. Think about that for a minute – 524,000,000 ads were banned from Google. Five hundred . . . twenty four . . . (insert Dr. Evil voice here) MILLION ads. This shocked me for two reasons. The first is that if we figure, just a guess, that 10% of ads are bad, then that means there are about 5 billion ads running on Google. They next time a client asks why we need so much demographic information, I’m going to remind them that we’re competing with 5 billion other ads. The second is that, in my naiveté, I didn’t know that scam artists would put the effort into creating bad ads. I mean, how much money is there to be made in a weight loss scam that a person would go through the effort to set up an account – build creative – manage the process – and everything that goes into getting an ad seen by a potential customer? Some clients say it feels like pulling teeth to get any budget for online advertising, and here are a bunch of bad advertisers churning out 524 million ads. I mean, really?

According to Google, “We work hard to keep our advertising ecosystem clean for users, advertisers, and publishers, and continue to invest substantial resources to stop bad advertising practices. We have a team of analysts who work around the clock to protect users, and continue to hone our detection technology to identify bad ads and stop bad actors as it’s a vital part of keeping our ads ecosystem clean. As an example, last summer our analysis technology flagged a set of accounts as suspicious. To the human eye, the ads looked like ordinary rental property ads that met our policies. After we dug in deeper, we discovered that the system was right to be suspicious – the vacation rentals turned out to be a scam and the rental properties didn’t exist. Our systems learn from incidents like these, helping us more effectively catch and remove bad ads and advertisers. For the past several years, we’ve shared insight into our efforts to fight bad actors on the web. Today, we’re sharing new data on how we fought bad advertising practices over the past year. Overall, we disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014. While this represents a tiny fraction of the total ads on our platform – the vast majority of advertisers follow our policies and act responsibly – we continue to remain vigilant to protect users against bad advertising practices.”

Thank goodness.


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