The Google AdWords blog just announced they are now allowing search ads for hard alcohol and liqueurs. Just a couple months ago, they allowed beer ads and now they have expanded this to hard liqueurs in the US.
Why did they change this? They said based on “advertiser feedback we’ve received over the years.” But if you ask me, it is more about generating more revenue from their search ads, especially these hard times. The company has done a string of rollouts related to showing more ads, as our Drill, Baby, Drill: Google Finance Gets Ads; Google News Testing Them covers.
There is an important distinction. The ads cannot be used for the purpose of selling direct. Instead, they must be for branding purposes. The blog post read:
To comply with the updated hard alcohol and liqueurs policy, advertisers must promote the information about hard alcohol and liqueurs that their websites contain, such as recipes and brand messages. Ads that directly promote the sale of hard alcohol and liqueurs are still not permissible through our program. In contrast, advertisements for beer may directly promote its sale.
You can however advertiser for the sale of beer, but not hard alcohol or liqueurs.
You can read the alcohol policy in detail if you are looking to promote brands that sell these items.
Postscript: When I asked Google if the recession had anything to do with this policy change, they said:
The AdWords program policies are developed based on a combination of factors – and in this case, those included user experience, legal requirements and the fact that many hard alcohol manufacturers have been asking for the ability to promote the alcohol-related information on their sites and reach people who seek that information online.