Drink Up! Alcohol Ads Coming to Ad Exchange

Ad Exchange Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: August 22, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on August 22nd, 2019

Speaking of inappropriate ads, don’t be surprised if you see booze ads on Google Ad Exchange in the near future. In an effort to cash in on the lucrative alcohol advertising industry, Google has introduced restricted categories for sensitive ads.

If you opt for this program, these restricted ads will appear on your site.

alcohol adsAt this point, alcohol advertisements seem inherently contradictory to Google’s Ad Exchange program. That’s because, for years, Google has blocked alcohol ads on its ad networks.

This was primarily to avoid the legal complexities involving jurisdictions’ various rules regarding alcohol advertisements. Now that Ad Exchange is a mature product, though, Google is comfortable adding alcohol ad support to Google Ad Exchange, however slowly they may do so.

For legal reasons, only publishers that have implemented age controls for their sites will be permitted to participate in this beta, because laws and regulations regarding alcohol ads vary across regions and jurisdictions. So if you have an adult-oriented (though not pornographic) website, you can run ads for alcohol products and reap the benefits of the cash this industry is willing to spend on advertising.

Don’t expect to just be able to run alcohol (and soon, gambling) ads on a whim, though. Google is implementing very strict controls for compliance. They’re starting with their own YouTube, and slowly allowing other publishers to display these types of ads. Contact your Google Technical Account Manager to see if you are eligible for approval to this beta.

Since alcohol advertising is banned in certain countries, be aware that if you opt into this program, individuals in certain regions will see different ads instead of the booze ad. That’s because, in order to run these restricted ads, advertisers will have to manually exclude countries from seeing their sensitive ads.

We think that if you’re eligible to run these ads, you should go for it! Make sure you’re compliant and then start running these ads (assuming they won’t offend your audience members — but if you have an age-restrictive site, that’s unlikely). Google’s flexibility when it comes to the types of ads that can be run (and the websites on which they can be displayed) is heartening. It shows that Google is actually listening to the demands of its advertisers and publisher.

And of course, there’s no pressure to run any ads you aren’t comfortable with. If you think it would offend your audience members — or, heck, even yourself — don’t run these types of ads. No harm, no foul; there are plenty of other ads to go around without having to compromise your values or personal standards.

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