IPA welcomes Google crackdown on political advertising

Campaigns will no longer be able to match their own database of prospective voters against Google's user base.

The IPA has today (21 November) welcomed Google’s crackdown on political ad targeting and misleading claims, but the professional body for ad agencies continues to call for a platform-neutral, machine-readable register of all political ads and ad data online.

According to Google, as of next week in the UK, campaigns will no longer be able to match their own database of prospective voters against Google's user base, to target individuals across platforms such as YouTube and Google search. Google has also said that it will take action on obviously misleading statements in ads.

On a wider scale, the IPA also welcomes the news that Google will no longer allow political campaigns to target advertising at people based on their supposed political leanings. This is something that has been permitted in the US until now, but not the UK.

Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA: "Google’s announcement marks a significant step in our call to address the lack of transparency, accountability and honesty of microtargeted political ads online - something we have repeatedly questioned. As such, Google should be applauded. However, despite this and other various positive steps being taken in this area, our concern that trust in advertising will continue to be undermined by this form of opaque advertising will remain until there is a universal online register of all political ads – to which all media platforms must comply."