Updates To Google Advertising Policy

Please contact Justin Freid, VP Search & Emerging Media, with any questions: jfreid@cmimedia.com

As a preferred Google Partner, CMI was notified of upcoming changes to Google Adwords ad formats that will be rolled out in two phases over the next few months. These changes have a large impact on the pharma industry, and will result in the need for paid search text ads to be re-reviewed through the legal and regulatory process.

–          Black Box Ad Format Changes

–          Vanity URL Changes

What This Means To Pharma Advertisers

Black Box Drugs: Current pharma advertisers leveraging Google’s Black Box ad format will no longer to be able to utilize the custom ad format as of July 20th, 2015. CMI’s search team will be proactively reaching out to all brand teams who currently leverage this ad format and begin the process of creating, submitting and reviewing ads that follow Google’s new ad policy formats.

Currently, underneath the standard text ad, an additional line of text is shown. An example of this text is shown below:

With this option no longer available after July 20th, 2015 Google’s new policy suggests leveraging this or similar text within the headline and description lines of the ad. An example of this could be as follows:

Please note, it will be important for CMI’s search team to communicate with your legal and regulatory departments to find an ad format and verbiage that will meet the FDA’s guidelines.

As mentioned above, the timeline for this change is short. CMI’s search team will be proactively reaching out with recommended changes to ad text that will need to be reviewed by legal and regulatory as soon as possible to prevent having to take pause ads on July 20th, 2015.

Vanity URL Changes: As a best practice, when targeting unbranded or disease state search queries, pharma advertisers often show an ad that does not contain the brand name. An example of this concept is as follows:

When the ad is clicked on, the user is directed to the brand website. Even though the ad shows www.disease-state-info.com. The ‘vanity URL’ redirects to the brand website. Outside of pharma, using redirects in this fashion is against Google’s advertising policies.

In place of vanity URLs, Google has provided pharma advertisers with three potential options:

–          Utilizing the business or parent company name

–          Utilizing the business name

–          Utilizing Static Text

A potential example of the new format could look the following mock-up:

Note the current ad format does not allow for capitalization of the destination URL. Users will still be directed to the brand website.

With this change not occurring until January 12th, 2016, immediate updates to live assets are not needed. CMI recommends that all future product launches and refreshes leverage this new format well in advance of the deadline.

Next Steps:

The CMI SEM team will be proactively reaching out to all brand teams and internal marketing departments that currently leverage the black box ad format that will be discontinued July 20th, 2015. Additional details on editing and resubmitting updated ads will be provided.

Regarding the changes to the Vanity URL policy, the CMI search team will reach out to all search clients to begin the conversation about standards to be leveraged across each client’s entire company, to ensure all brands follow a similar procedure.