Beginning in August 2021, financial services marketers in the UK will need to be verified by Google in order to show advertisements to people seeking financial services online. The verification process will include proving that the advertiser is “authorized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority” or qualifies for an exemption such as “advertisers that do not promote financial services, but that have a compelling reason to target users who appear to be seeking financial services.”
Prevent financial product scams. The move to verify financial services companies is a measure to “help prevent scammers exploiting our platforms,” said Ronan Harris, Vice President and MD, Google UK & Ireland. The goal, Harris said, is to protect users, publishers, and advertisers. Globally, Google has also introduced advertiser identity verification “which requires advertisers to submit personal legal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate.”
Verification process. Financial services advertisers in the UK will need to partake in a two-step process to be certified to show their ads to searchers:
- Apply for verification through the UK Financial Conduct Authority Authorization
- Submit identity verification documentation in addition to providing the UK FCA authorization for your business
You can read more details about each step here.
The policy will be updated on August 30, 2021, and enforcement will begin seven days later, on September 6, 2021.
Products that do not fall under the new UK financial services ad policy. For this particular policy change, Google will not consider the following financial services. However they are still required to comply with overall Google Ads policies and the policies that govern their particular category:
- Products in scope of our Debt services policy
- Products in scope of our Complex speculative financial products policy: contracts for difference, rolling spot forex, financial spread betting. Ads for this category will be able to target UK users seeking financial services as long as they meet the requirements of our Complex speculative financial products policy and complete verification, if requested by Google.
- Gambling (see our Gambling and Games policy)
- Products in scope of our Cryptocurrencies, Credit repair, and Binary options policies
Warning first, suspension later. If your account violates these policies, you’ll first receive a warning and will have up to 7 days to fix the issue before your account is suspended.
Why we care. If you’re an advertiser in charge of financial services accounts, you should check to determine if your business or clients’ businesses fall under these categories. If so, ensure you meet the verification requirements to distinguish yourself from spam financial service advertisers and to prevent suspension.