Google pauses all political ads through inauguration

Amidst the volatile US political climate, Google has banned all ads mentioning political topics until after the inauguration.

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30 second overview.

  • Google has temporarily disabled political ads for at least a week beginning January 14. 
  • They say they plan to continually monitor and reassess the decision, so the ban could potentially extend even longer.
  • Ads mentioning politics, impeachment, the inauguration, and the insurrection at the US Capitol will all be halted.
  • The ban includes ads run by news organizations and merchandisers.

Why we care. In a week where social media and PPC practitioners have been juggling national news, overseeing brand safety, and managing their marketing accounts, the Google Ads ban adds another layer to an already complicated advertising environment. Many marketers have paused campaigns or adjusted their paid advertising strategies to ensure they’re not striking potential customers at the wrong time with insensitive messaging.

Read more >> Halting campaigns shouldn’t be your only brand safety precaution

Marketers across the globe are already seeing effects:

This isn’t the first ads ban. Google also stopped political ads last year after polls closed in the Presidential election and held that ban through mid-December. “We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, ‘sensitive’ events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information,” says a Google spokesperson.

No exceptions. Google’s ban is comprehensive and includes ads run by news organizations and merchandisers. According to an email from Google, “Given the events of the last week, we are extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that might reasonably be construed as crossing this line.” Along with preventing misinformation around the current volatile political climate, the company has policies around blocking ads that encourage hate and violence.

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About the author

Carolyn Lyden
Carolyn Lyden served as the Director of Search Content for Search Engine Land and SMX. With expertise in SEO, content marketing, local search, and analytics, she focuses on making marketers' jobs easier with important news and educational content.

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