As a financial services marketing agency, we should be keeping our clients in FS marketing up to speed, right? Definitely. So, let us tell you about the Google Ads Financial Products and Services Policy.
As it often does, Google is changing things around and if you’re a financial services digital marketer, you need to be in the know. Google will be updating the Google Ads Financial Products and Services policy in August, 2021, to introduce new verification requirements for Financial Services advertisers targeting the UK. Google will publish the policy update on August 30, 2021, and enforcement will take effect a week later. Advertisers will no longer be allowed to show financial services ads of any kind in the UK, (even including showing ads to UK users who appear to be seeking financial services), which have not successfully completed the updated verification process by the date of enforcement.
What’s required and how do you initiate verification? You can find out here.
So what are the details of the updated policy?
So, you’re a financial services marketer, you’ve found the best financial services marketing agency your budget can buy and you want to advertise? Well of course, why wouldn’t you. Well, first of all you have to be verified by Google, if you’re even thinking of showing ads to UK users—and yes, even those who appear to be seeking your services.
As part of that verification process, you as an advertiser must show that you are authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Either that or qualify for one of the exemptions described here on the UK Financial Services verification page. Please note that this requirement covers financial services regulated by and not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
You, as an advertiser can initiate verification. Alternatively, Google may require you to jump through that hoop. Whichever, if you fail to polish off step 2 of the process, your account will be put on hold. Get the lowdown on UK Financial Services verification, here.
Anything else you need to know?
There’s a bit of nitty gritty you need to know, especially if you’re wondering whether your marketing falls within this policy change, or not. The following categories, whilst not considered under the new policy changes described above are still required to comply with other Google Ads policies:
- Products in scope of Google’s Debt services policy
- Products in scope of Google’s 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 so long as they meet the requirements of Google’s Complex speculative financial products policy and complete verification, if requested by Google.
- Gambling. See more about Google’s Gambling and Gaming Policy, here.
- Products in scope of Google’s Cryptocurrencies, Credit Repair, and Binary Options Policies.
You do have over 20 seconds to comply. But not much. (Image from Robocop, Warner Bros. Films)
What happens if you violate the policy?
Don’t panic. Yet! A violation of the policy won’t mean immediate account suspension—as Google says—without prior warning!
According to Google, any warning will be issued at least 7 days prior to suspension, so it’s not a case of the Internet giant, rocking up and removing the fuse from your advertising box. But it’s pretty stark.
Google explains further, “Please review this policy update to determine whether or not any of your ads fall within the scope of the policy. And if so, please complete UK Financial Services verification or remove your ads before September 6, 2021.”
So, the message is clear. So clear that you can bet, in our role as a financial services marketing agency, we will be letting all our FS clients know.
Stay safe—and FCA compliant, out there, folks.