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Google Ads has new policies, going into effect in May, on advertising government documents and official services.

Government documents and official services now fall under the ‘other restricted businesses’ policy, which means Google will no longer show ads for them.

As stated by Google, this policy applies to the government itself and companies that provide products and services on the government’s behalf.

“Google will no longer allow ads for documents and/or services that can be obtained directly from a government or a delegated provider. This includes offers of assistance to obtain these products or services.”

A “delegated provider” is defined as a company that has been officially entrusted or assigned by the original provider to provide certain products or services on their behalf. In this case, the original provider is the government.

In short – if a document or service can be obtained directly from the government or a delegated provider then it cannot be promoted in a Google Ad.

Here’s how Google phrases it:

“This new policy will prohibit the promotions for documents or services that facilitate the acquisition, renewal, replacement, or lookup of official documents or information that is available directly from a government or government delegated provider.”

This new policy will apply regardless of the price being charged by the advertisers for the product or service, Google says.

Some examples of things that can no longer be promoted using Google Ads includes:

  • Passports and other forms of national ID
  • Driving licenses
  • Travel documents like visas and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs)
  • Social security cards
  • Marriage certificates
  • And so on

It will also be prohibited to promote services that offer assistance with applying or paying for any of the above.

This policy does not prohibit ads for:

  • Tax preparation services
  • Legal services
  • Business-to-business (B2B) / enterprise services
  • Immigration lawyers or immigration consultants where the focus is on consultation only

Google will begin enforcing this policy on May 26, 2020, with full enforcement ramping up over approximately 5 weeks.

Source: Google Advertising Policies

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