Google Updates Inappropriate Content Policy

In the rapidly evolving digital world, there is an upcoming Google update that could directly impact your small business’ Google ads campaign. Google is set to roll out a crucial update to its Inappropriate Content Policy in February 2024 that will provide a clearer definition of “Sensitive Events”. 


To help you understand what this means to your Google ads strategy, we’ll break down Google’s latest announcement and focus on how this updated Google policy could influence your online advertising.

inappropriate content policy update

Understanding Sensitive Events and Your Google Ads

It’s always important to understand Google ads policy updates and their impact, so let’s define Sensitive Events in the eyes of Google. According to Google, a “Sensitive Event” is defined as “an unforeseen event or development that creates significant risk to Google’s ability to provide high quality, relevant information and ground truth, and reduce insensitive or exploitative content in prominent and monetized features.”  


In other words, Google considers an event with a significant social, cultural or political impact that can affect the quality of digital content as a Sensitive Event. 

So, why does this matter to your small business? During these types of events, Google wants to make sure that your ads and the information they carry remain high-quality, relevant and more importantly, responsible.


Actions During Sensitive Events and Your Google Ad Strategy

When it comes to marketing a small business, you’re probably wondering what actions will Google take during a Sensitive Event and how it will relate to your Google Ads campaign. The upcoming Google ads policy update will define the actions the search engine plans to take, however, the update aims to minimise exploitative or insensitive content and ensure that your ads align with their vision of a responsible digital space. 


Examples of Prohibited Content and Your Google Ad Content

If you’re planning on marketing for small business success, let’s look at what kind of content to avoid during sensitive events and how it can impact your Google ads. This list is not exhaustive, but here are some examples of content Google will prohibit.

  • Google will prohibit any product or service that exploits or dismisses the gravity of a Sensitive Event. Think price gouging, inflating prices, or attempting to use keywords to ride the wave of a crisis. 
  • Google will also prohibit the sale of services and products which may not be able to meet high demands during a sensitive event. Your ad content needs to steer clear of inadequate products or services during these times.
  • Avoid ad content that suggests the victims of a sensitive event were responsible for their own tragedy. Also steer clear of claims that suggest victims don’t deserve relief or support, ad content that blames victims from certain countries for the event or claims they are deserving of a global public health crisis.


In a nutshell, your Google ads campaign needs to reflect sensitivity and responsibility, avoiding any content that might encourage misinformation or harm your brand image.


How Can Small Businesses Adapt Their Google Ads Strategies?

Understanding and aligning with the updated Google policy is the first step. It’s about creating ad content that resonates responsibly, maintaining visibility without exploiting crises. Google’s Inappropriate Content Policy update is a call for businesses, especially small ones, to be mindful in the digital space.


If you’d like some support and prefer to leave your Google ad management to the experts, SEM Consultants are here to help. We have a team of Google-certified account managers who can help you navigate the constantly changing digital landscape. We will help you to ensure your ad content meets the requirements of this Google ads policy update and any other Google updates in the future. For more information about managing your Google ads campaign, contact our PPC team who will be happy to help.