Understanding Google's new Abortion Ads Certification
Updated July 2, 2019
Until June 2019, organizations using Google Ads to advertise abortion information have had to have keywords and ad text reviewed and approved by Google, and often the ads were only shown to a restricted audience.
Google rolled out a new policy in June 2019 which requires organizations such as pregnancy centers who use Google Ads for topics related to abortion to self-identify as not being an abortion provider.
All businesses and organizations which advertise for abortion-related content will need to certify in order for the ads to be shown, regardless if the advertiser is a center/clinic that serves clients onsite or a research organization, hotline, etc. that does not serve clients onsite. Abortion providers will have a tag reading "Provides abortions," and non-abortion providers will have a tag reading "Does not provide abortions." Examples are below:
Action item: All pregnancy centers using Google Ads to promote information about abortion have three choices:
1. Complete the Abortion Ads Certification Form and self-identify as “my organization does not provide abortions.”
2. Remove all abortion-related keywords from Google Ads campaigns and do not complete Google's Abortion Ads Certification Form.
3. Make no changes to your ads or keywords and see if Google allows the ads to continue showing.
Pregnancy centers have always been encouraged by Care Net to promote themselves as a place for abortion information and never pose as or be vague about being abortion providers when crafting Google Ads text and landing page text. Care Net's standards of affiliation already require centers to provide disclaimers on pages discussing abortion that the center does not provide or refer for abortion.
If organizations are following Care Net’s best practices for ethical advertising, then this new tag on Google Ads should not take away from what pregnancy center have been promoting through Google Ads. In fact, pregnancy centers can continue to describe themselves as the best authority in their location communities for information on unplanned pregnancies. Pregnancy centers are not abortion providers or adoption agencies, so they can provide provide compassion, hope, and help to anyone considering abortion without bias from a financial incentive to sway clients’ pregnancy decisions.
Here are the details Google provided about the policy:
Advertisers who want to run ads using keywords related to getting an abortion will first need to be certified as an advertiser that either provides abortions or does not provide abortions.
To get certified advertisers must submit an application where they self-declare as an organization that either provides abortions or does not provide abortions. The application will require some basic information about your organization. Once your submitted information has been reviewed and verified, you'll receive a certification.
Depending on how you’re certified Google will automatically generate one of the following in-ad disclosures for your abortion product or service ads: “Provides abortions” or “Does not provide abortions.”
The disclosures will show on all Search ad formats. This added transparency will help ensure that users have the necessary information to decide which abortion-related ads are most relevant to them.
What's not changing:
According to the description provided by Google, it seems the Google tag “Does not provide abortions” will be placed on Google Ads, but it will not be placed on the organic listings of a pregnancy center’s website which appear in Google search results. Having a website with a high SEO score continues to be important for pregnancy center marketing. The first step to achieving a high SEO score is to have a website with mobile-responsive design containing popular abortion-related keyword phrases on the pages of the site, in meta-descriptions, and in the URLs for the pages. Care Net’s website templates give you the tools to build a strong foundation for SEO optimization on your pregnancy center's website.
If you have any questions about online marketing to reach women and men considering abortion, please reach out to Care Net. Contact us here.