Google Locks up Bail Bonds Ads

Google Locks up Bail Bonds Ads

Mark Irvine
May 8, 2018

Every day, 3.5 billion searches occur on Google, and each has its own intent. While most searches are trivial or mundane, some ask potentially life-changing questions. The results to those queries have potentially serious consequences.

Google recognizes this and frequently introduces new advertising policies to prevent advertisers from manipulating its users when they’re searching for these sensitive services. In the past, Google has introduced restrictions for ads from locksmiths, medical services, payday loans, and rehab services.

Yesterday, Google announced that it will soon ban all bail bond ads from its platforms. In announcing this new policy, Google stated that “Studies show that for-profit bail bond providers make most of their revenue from communities of color and low-income neighborhoods when they are at their most vulnerable, including through opaque financing offers that can keep people in debt for months or years.”

Google’s newest ban on bail bonds ads goes into effect this July and will restrict advertisers from advertising for the following services across all of Google’s properties, including Google Search, Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

  • Bail bond agents
  • Bail bondsmen
  • Bail bond financing
  • Bounty hunters

Google's newest ad policy will not affect advertising for legal services, including criminal defense.

Although these bail bonds services will no longer be able to advertise on Google, there are currently no restrictions preventing them from advertising on Bing or Facebook.

Google’s strong stance on the predatory practice of bail bonds financing was heralded as “…The largest step any corporation has taken on behalf of the millions of women who have loved ones in jails across this country,” by Gina Clayton, executive director of the Essie Justice Group. It’s worth noting that this stance is one that Google will also pay a financial burden for by shunning a good chunk of expensive ad revenue. In 2017, bail bond related keywords were the 2nd most expensive keywords for advertisers on the Google SERP, averaging over $58 per each click!

Mark Irvine

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, focused on research and training for the everchanging world of PPC. He was named the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2017 by PPC Hero.

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