Taylor Pratt discovered a very quiet change made to Google AdWords policy for handling alcohol ads. Now, Google is allowing search ads for beer, wine and champagne to show up on Google.com. Google’s policy says they allow these ads, “since we consider beer, wine, and champagne to be products intended for the sale and consumption by adults, ads promoting these products will be given a Non-FamilySafe status.”
Why did Google make this change? Why did Google first have a ban on beer, wine and champagne ads and now remove that restriction? Why now?
Google sent me this statement:
The Google advertising program is managed by a set of policies which we develop based on various factors, including user and customer experience. We regularly review Google AdWords content policies and make changes to keep them current and effective. This decision only concerns our advertising and in no way affects the search results we deliver. You can learn more about our AdWords content policies here: https://adwords.google.com/select/contentpolicy.html.
As you can see, it really doesn’t answer the question.
Might we presume that Google is looking for more ad revenue? Danny’s AdAge column, Google Gives Marketers More Places to Put Ads where he calls this the “invasion of ads on Google” might give us some insight in why Google is becoming lax about where they put ads. We are seeing ads with images in AdWords, we’ve seen Google play with video in AdWords, and they recently changed their policy to allow gambling ads on AdWords in the UK.
This trend seems to imply to me that Google is trying to increase their ad revenues, especially during these financial times.
Postscript: Google has told me they have always allowed wine and champagne ads, but not beer ads. I am still waiting on feedback on why they are now allowing beer ads.