If you are in the pay-per-click payday loan space, the market has just undergone a major upheaval. Google has now banned AdWords ads for payday loans from search results and on partner sites.
Of Google ad:
we prohibit advertisements for payday loans and certain related products from our advertising systems. We will no longer allow advertisements for loans that are due for repayment within 60 days of the date of issue. In the United States, we also ban advertisements for loans with an APR of 36% or more. When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payments and high default rates for users. So we will update our policies globally to reflect this.
Google notes that these changes do not affect other types of loans, including mortgages, auto loans, student loans, business loans, or credit cards (revolving lines of credit).
This targets specific ad types, so we might see some creative ways for advertisers to get around the new changes once they go into effect. We have also seen some advertisers attempting to bait and change, with landing pages offering those that meet the requirements, but then offering those that are against the site’s guidelines.
The changes will come into effect on July 13, 2016.
Interestingly, Google is targeting payday loans, for what many see as moral motives. But Google has a habit of preventing AdWords ads on a wide variety of other products and services that many consider to be for moral reasons, such as guns and ammunition, drug paraphernalia and services. like false papers.
Here are the other types of products and services that are also not allowed to advertise on Google AdWords.
- Counterfeit goods
- Dangerous products and services
- Recreational drugs (chemical or herbal); psychoactive substances; equipment to facilitate drug use; weapons, ammunition, explosives and fireworks; instructions for making explosives or other noxious products; tobacco products
- Products or services that allow dishonest behavior
- Hacking software or instructions; services designed to artificially inflate traffic to advertisements or websites; false documents; academic cheating services
- Offensive or inappropriate content
- hatred; violence; bullying; racism; sexual, religious or political intolerance, or organizations with such views
- content that may shock or disgust
- content that exploits or appears to be unfairly leveraged to the detriment of others
It also means that the organic search results for these terms will become even more competitive, if at all possible. And I suspect we’ll see more black hat tactics in the payday loan market, because there are so many businesses out there that will no longer be able to “buy their way” into search results through AdWords.
Bing Ads still allows ads to run for payday loans, so those ads will likely increase costs as well, as businesses shift their pay-per-click budgets. However, volume can still be a challenge for some search results, but with the number of searches for payday loan terms, there could be a large number of impressions available.
Google says it “will continue to review the effectiveness of this policy, but hopefully fewer people will be exposed to deceptive or harmful products.” Does that mean it’s possible that they will push him back? Hard to say, but it’s a pretty bold decision to come back next.
Jennifer Slegg is a longtime speaker and search engine marketing expert, working in the industry for almost 20 years. When not sitting at her desk writing and working, she can be found having latte at her local Starbucks or planning her next trip to Disneyland. She is a regular speaker at Pubcon, SMX, State of Search, Brighton SEO and more, and has been present at conferences for over a decade.