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14.05.2024 | by Lili


Google takes a stand against fraudulent ads




  • Google removed 5.5 billion and restricted 6.9 billion fraudulent ads over the course of one year
  • The tech giant adjusted its policies to better respond to new threats
  • Monitoring the usage of your IP assets is crucial in the fight against fake ads




Google has published the newest edition of its annual Ad Safety Report. This document contains all relevant data Google had collected over the course of the previous year, as well as the company’s take on current and future trends in online ad safety.



Google ads in numbers

The previous year saw a rise in fraudulent ads. In 2023, Google removed 5.5 billion ads (up from 5.2 billion in 2022), restricted a further 6.9 billion of them (up from 4.3 billion), and suspended over 12.7 million advertiser accounts (a serious increase from the 6.7 million recorded in 2022).


Graphic created by globaleyez, which shows the key figures for Google’s fight against fraudulent ads in 2023

Graphic created by globaleyez, which shows the key figures for Google’s fight against fraudulent ads in 2023


The 5.5 billion removed ads corresponds to an average of 9,000 ad removals per minute, an impressive feat for Google’s Ad Privacy and Safety Team. Based on the number and characteristics of intercepted ads, Google has named generative AI the most important emerging trend in advertising technology.


Like any other major technological advancement, generative AI provides both challenges and opportunities for advertisers and regulators alike. Google’s Ad Safety Team intends to maximise generative (or gen) AI’s advantages to speed up its enforcement processes (more on that below).



New ad safety guidelines

Google has updated its advertising policies to incorporate and effectively respond to emerging trends and the latest challenges.



Limited Ads Serving

Launched in November 2023, the Limited Ads Serving policy aims to curb the number of confusing and/or misleading ads. In practice, this means that Google may restrict the reach of new advertisers on the platform for a limited time and in limited scenarios. The company refers to this as a “get-to-know-you” period that allows new advertisers to build a track record and establish trust with their customers and business partners.


The Limited Ads Serving policy usually kicks in in cases where no clear connection can be established between the advertiser and the brand/product in question. Since this description definitely includes fraudulent sellers advertising IP infringing products, we online brand protection experts warmly welcome this policy.


However, it may also lead to the unfair treatment of new and inexperienced vendors who are fully authorised to sell a product. To minimise this impact, Google offers tips for well-intentioned advertisers, like pinning their domain to the title of the ad.


Advertisers’ track records are thus very important to avoid triggering the Limited Ads Serving policy. Google bases track records on user feedback, advertising history and advertiser identity verification. This latter is key to building trust with Google and internet users, which is why completing it is very important for honest advertisers.


Find out how marketplaces authorise their sellers!



Updated Misrepresentation Policy

As Google noticed in late 2023/early 2024, an increasing number of scams try to earn the trust of customers by claiming an association with or the endorsement of a well-known public figure, brand or organisation. Fraudsters often use AI technology and deepfakes to make their scams even more believable.


This led to the update of the company’s Misrepresentation Policy, which now immediately terminates the account of users who violate this policy and ban them from the platform.


The policy update resulted in the blocking or removal of 206.5 million ads. An additional 273.4 million ads that violated Google’s Financial Services policy were blocked, while the company removed over 1 billion ads for abusing the ad network. This latter offence includes promoting malware.



Related topics

Trademark infringements in ad campaigns


What is Google Shopping?


Find out why the EU categorised Google as a gatekeeper and what that entails



Infringements in Google ads

Over the course of our work, we often come across ads (whether on Google or on any other platform) that infringe on our clients’ IP rights. These may include infringements on your trademarks, copyrights, and much more.


Learn all about trademark infringements on Google Ads!


With important elections coming up in both the EU and the US, political infringements and misrepresentations are also on the rise. To curb the threat of misinformation, Google is reinforcing its transparency requirements and identity verification methods. These include the obligatory disclosure of the person/organisation paying for a political ad.


As a result, Google removed over 7.3 million ads whose advertisers failed to complete the verification process.



AI against fraudulent ads

As mentioned earlier, Google expects generative (gen) AI to become the most important trend in advertising and its task force already uses this type of AI to detect and block fraudulent ads.


Historically, Google mostly relied on machine learning to enforce its policies. While also quite effective, machine learning has its limitations. Google’s experts spent a long time training the company’s machine learning-based AI applications to recognise an ad as fraudulent. 


Illustration of an AI-generated image

Illustration of an AI-generated image


Today, gen AI, especially its LLM (Large Language Model) variant, has a solution for that problem. LLMs can review and interpret web content without extensive training, which makes them faster and more effective at their job than machine learning-based applications.



Related topics

SHEIN accused of violating copyright via AI


AI and online brand protection


Protecting your trademarks and copyrights in the age of AI



Another highly visible problem created (and possibly solved) by AI is that of deepfakes spreading misinformation. Therefore, major tech companies, including Meta, Google, Amazon, Adobe, X (formerly Twitter), OpenAI, Microsoft and TikTok adopted a Tech Accord against deepfakes in political election campaigns.


The Accord’s action plan outlines methods to discover and tag deceptive deepfakes and other AI-generated content to alert consumers that what they’re seeing is not real. While it certainly helps consumers to know that a piece of content was created by AI, the Accord was criticised by analysts as it doesn’t directly ban the use of deepfakes and other AI-based content. Moreover, adhering to the Accord is voluntary, which means that even the parties signing it can ignore its provisions without any repercussions.


Find out what the EU’s doing to make tech giants play fair!



Online brand protection against fraudulent ads

We at globaleyez know perfectly well how harmful fake ads are, which is why we welcome Google’s initiatives. However, brands can’t just sit back and relax, letting Google do this job for them. Fraudsters are inventive and quite likely won’t be deterred by Google’s actions.


Which means you need to be proactive and take steps to protect your brand’s IP rights. Luckily, you won’t need to do this alone.


globaleyez’s image monitoring service, for instance, is perfect for detecting fraudulent ads anywhere on the internet. Since fraudsters often use stolen or copied imagery to appear genuine, our service will quickly find ads that feature your copyrighted images. Thanks to powerful filter options, we can disregard authorised images and focus on users you didn’t give a green light to use your imagery.


Similarly, our domain monitoring service detects websites that use your brand or product name (or any other keyword you want us to look for) in their domain name, meta description or html text. We also offer marketplace monitoring on over 150 online marketplaces (including Google Shopping), to track down unauthorised product listings that infringe on your IP rights.


Finally, we’re happy to enforce your rights and demand the removal of any infringing content from the internet.




Google’s Ad Safety Report highlights the growing number of fraudulent ads flooding the internet. Don’t let fraudsters steal your revenue and ruin your reputation!


Contact us and let’s create your brand’s unique online brand protection programme, perfectly tailored to your needs.