In 2018, Google took down 2.3 billion “bad ads,” according to its annual report on actions it took to address policy violations on its ad platforms.
This is a million fewer ads than it removed a year ago in 2017. Even in this case, according to Google, the number of advertiser accounts in terminated last year nearly doubled from the previous year to almost 1 million.
Some of the sectors that Google focused on in 2018 included for-profit bail bond services, addiction treatment services, third-party tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and some local services such as garage door repair.
It banned bail bond ads effective July 2018 and restricted ads for addiction treatment services to those certified by LegitScript (after suspending them in 2017). Thirty-one new policies went on the books to address abuses by the other industries listed.
There was about 734,000 publisher and app developers that were removed from its ad network, and ads were removed entirely from nearly 1.5 million apps, Google said.
Google added the ability to identify and remove ads from specific web pages that violate its publisher policies in 2017, instead of removing ads from an entire site. The company said that, with that technology, coupled with manual reviews, it removed ads from over 27 million pages that violated its policies last year.
The spread and monetization of fake news and misinformation have been a focus for both Google and lawmakers for more than two years now. New policies were added in 2017, and highlighted its efforts in this year’s report, noting it took down ads on roughly 1.2 million pages, 22,000 apps and 15,000 sites for violating policies around misrepresentative, hateful or low-quality content.
Election ads policies in the U.S. were launched ahead of the midterm elections last year and created a political ads transparency report to provide more information about who bought election ads. Google said it verified nearly 143,000 election ads in the U.S.
It’s also regularly updating its ad policies, which can sometimes accidentally affect good actors. On Thursday, Google announced the launch of a new Policy manager to help advertisers navigate policy decisions and restrictions in their accounts.