European regulations overview and guidance

Tools to help publishers comply with the GDPR

Google has a long history of taking a user-first approach in everything we do. As a part of our commitment to users, we never sell personal information and give users transparency and control over their ad experiences via tools like My Account, Why this Ad, and Mute this Ad. We also invest in initiatives such as the Coalition for Better Ads, the Digital News Initiative, the Google News Initiative and ads.txt in order to support a healthy, sustainable ads ecosystem and help you, our publishers, grow. 

In August 2017, we announced our commitment to comply with the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which applies to users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the UK. 

This article provides additional details about how we are supporting impacted publishers. Additionally, we’ve provided answers to some commonly asked questions.

Controller responsibilities

Across our publisher suite (Google Ad Manager, Ad Exchange, AdMob, and AdSense), both you and Google operate as independent controllers of personal data. We operate as a controller because we regularly make decisions on the data to deliver and improve the product — for example, testing ad serving algorithms, monitoring end-user latency, and ensuring the accuracy of our forecasting system. Additionally, we use data to deliver relevant and high-performing ads in features like Optimized Pricing in the open auction. Find out more about how we process data in Ad Manager and Ad Exchange here

The designation of Google’s publisher products as controller does not give Google any additional rights over data derived from a publisher’s use of those products. Google’s uses of data continue to be controlled by the terms of its contract with its publishers, and any feature-specific settings chosen by a publisher through the user interface of our products.

You are not required to seek consent for a user’s activity on Google’s sites (we obtain that ourselves when users visit our sites). We are asking only that you seek consent for your uses of our ads products on your properties. We already require that certain consents are obtained from your users in the EEA and the UK, and we are updating those requirements in line with the GDPR. We encourage you to link to this user-facing page explaining how Google manages data in its ads products. Doing so will meet the requirement of our EU User Consent Policy to give your users information about Google’s uses of their personal data.

Processor features

Google operates as a data processor for some features in Ad Manager, Ad Exchange, and AdMob. As such, Google only processes data on behalf of, and on the instruction of, relevant publishers.

Consent support

The GDPR introduced significant new obligations for the ecosystem (see GDPR legal and regulatory guidance references below), and the changes we announced to our EU User Consent Policy reflect this. We have updated our Help Page for the EU User Consent Policy to address questions we have received from our customers.

We provide a range of optional tools to help you with gathering user consent across your websites and apps, including:

We will continue to engage with IAB Europe on their transparency & consent framework, as well as work to ensure industry solutions are interoperable with Google’s publisher ad serving products (Ad Manager, AdSense).

Control over ads personalization

We also provide publisher controls for ads personalization:

  • Ad Technology Provider Controls (Ad Manager Help Center, AdMob Help Center, AdSense Help Center) give you the ability to select which partners you want to measure and serve ads for EEA and UK users on your sites and apps when inventory is sold via programmatic channels, including Programmatic Guaranteed. You can select your preferred partners from a list of companies that have provided us with information about their compliance with the GDPR - all of whom also have to comply with our data usage policy to help protect your users’ data. The full list of ad technology providers featured in those controls is available in the Help Centers for Ad Manager, AdSense, and AdMob. (Measurement and ad technology partners who have not yet provided this information should reach out using this form).
  • A Non-Personalized Ads solution (Ad Manager Help Center, AdSense Help Center) allows you to present EEA and UK users with a choice between personalized ads and non-personalized ads (or to choose to serve only non-personalized ads to all users in the EEA and the UK). Non-Personalized Ads only use contextual information, including coarse general (city-level) location. ​
    • Although these ads don’t use cookies for ads personalization, they do use cookies to allow for frequency capping, aggregated ad reporting, and to combat fraud and abuse. Consent is therefore required to use cookies for those purposes from users in countries to which the ePrivacy Directive’s cookie provisions apply.

European child privacy regulations

In August 2020, we announced our commitment to comply with the Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC) which applies to users in the United Kingdom, and additional child privacy regulations applicable to users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Under the Age Appropriate Design Code and related child privacy regulations, publishers may not be able to show personalized ads to users under 18 years of age in the European Economic Area, United Kingdom, and/or Switzerland. As a publisher, you can mark an ad request for restricted data processing by using the TFUA tag to indicate a request for a user under 18 years of age. Additionally, Google will implement safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown and will filter creatives based on our policies.

GDPR legal and regulatory guidance references

For more information about the GDPR and its application to digital publishers and advertising:

For regulatory guidance on cookie consent in advertising, refer to:

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