Personalised advertising

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Personalised advertising is a powerful tool that improves advertising relevance for users and increases ROI for advertisers. Because it works by employing online user data to target users with more relevant advertising content, it can provide an improved experience for users and advertisers alike.

When employing user behaviour or interest data to provide more relevant ad content, it’s important to handle that information appropriately. We recognise that certain interests are sensitive and that targeting based on them could negatively impact user experience.

With this in mind and based on the sensitivities associated with user ad targeting, we’ve identified policy standards for all personalised advertising targeting features. These standards do not replace our other advertising policies (for example, for Google Ads or Shopping), and advertisers are still responsible for complying with all applicable advertising policies, in addition to personalised advertising policies. Advertisers are also required to comply with our policies for European Union user consent, where applicable.

Google's privacy policy applies to all Google features and dictates how Google collects, uses and protects user data. Learn about what happens if you violate our policies.

Personalised advertising policies
Personalised advertising content policy principles Personalised advertising data collection and use policies
Restrictions based on personalised advertising targeting feature
Policy principles: Sensitive interest categories
 

Personalised advertising content policy principles

Sensitive interest categories are restricted in personalised ads. We define sensitive interest categories in terms of the following content policy principles:

Legal restrictions: Ads must comply with the law.

Personal hardships: Ads shouldn’t target users in ways that exploit their difficulties or struggles.

Identity and belief: Ads shouldn’t target users based on categories prone to systemic discrimination or unfair stigmas.

Sexual interests: Ads shouldn’t target users based on inherently private sexual interests or experiences.

Access to opportunities: Ads shouldn’t limit access to opportunities by leveraging unfair societal biases when targeting users with specific content categories.

Restrictions based on personalised advertising targeting feature

Personalised ads policies apply differently depending on the targeting feature used. For all targeting features, there are 2 components:

  • Targeting users, which refers to the groups of users you've chosen to see your ads and includes all aspects of creating or selecting those groups.
  • Promoting products and services, which refers to the specific content in your ad or on your landing page.

Depending on whether the targeting feature is an advertiser-curated audience or a Google-curated audience, personalised ads sensitive interest categories may or may not apply to promoting products and services.

  • For all personalised ads targeting features, we don’t allow targeting users based on sensitive interest categories.
  • For advertiser-curated audiences, where advertisers can customise, curate or upload their own audiences, advertisers are also not allowed to promote products and services from sensitive interest categories.
  • For Google-curated audiences, where Google manages full development or curation of the audience, advertisers are allowed to promote products and services from sensitive interest categories.

Effect of the policy

Advertisers promoting products and services that fall within sensitive interest categories are unable to use advertiser-curated audiences. However, all advertisers are allowed to use Google-curated audiences, even if they promote sensitive interest categories.

See the following non-exhaustive list of targeting features and how personalised ads policies apply.

Advertiser-curated audiences

If you’re an advertiser who promotes products and services in sensitive interest categories, you’ll be unable to use the following targeting features.

Google-curated audiences

All advertisers are able to use the following targeting features, including advertisers who promote products and services in sensitive interest categories.

  • In-market
  • Affinity
  • Demographics
  • Detailed demographics
  • Life events
  • Location targeting
 

Sensitive interest categories

Legal restrictions

Ads must comply with all applicable laws and regulations for all the locations where your ads are showing.

We don’t allow targeting users based on legally restricted content, as defined in the following sensitive interest categories. Depending on the targeting feature used, you also may not be allowed to promote products and services in the following sensitive interest categories.

You are responsible for ensuring your ads comply with policy where required. See below for specific examples of what we don't allow.

 
Troubleshooter: How to comply with policy
  1. Read the policy below to learn what we don't allow. Ensure that your ads, site or app comply with personalised advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
  2. Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don't allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You'll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.
  3. Remove that content from your ad.
    If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.
    • On your 'Ads' page, hover over the ad that you want to edit.
    • Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
    • Click 'Save' when you've finished.
  4. Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 working day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If you've removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, you can request a review of your ad.
  5. Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with personalised advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with personalised advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren't able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.

Users under 13 in personalised advertising

Collecting personal information from children under 13 or the applicable age in their country, or targeting interest content to children under the age of 13 or the applicable age in their country.

Restricted drug terms in personalised advertising

Prescription medications and information about prescription medications, unless the medication and any listed ingredients are only intended for animal use and are not prone to human abuse or other misuse. Learn more

Clinical trial recruitment in personalised advertising

Promotion of clinical trial recruitment

Alcohol in personalised advertising

Alcoholic beverages and drinks that resemble alcoholic beverages

Gambling in personalised advertising

 Gambling, including online and offline gambling; online gambling-related information; online non-casino games played for money or prizes; and online casino-based games, regardless of whether money is exchanged

Location-based gambling in personalised advertising

Physical casinos that explicitly promote gambling

 

Personal hardships

We understand that users don’t want to see ads that exploit their personal struggles, difficulties and hardships, so we don’t allow personalised advertising based on these hardships. Such personal hardships include health conditions, treatments, procedures, personal failings, struggles or traumatic personal experiences. You also can’t impose negativity on the user.

We don’t allow targeting users based on personal hardships, as defined in the following sensitive interest categories. Depending on the targeting feature used, you also may not be allowed to promote products and services in the following sensitive interest categories.

You are responsible for ensuring your ads comply with policy where required. See below for specific examples of what we don't allow.

Troubleshooter: How to comply with policy
  1. Read the policy below to learn what we don't allow. Ensure that your ads, site or app comply with personalised advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
  2. Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don't allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You'll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.

  3. Remove that content from your ad.

    If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.

    • On your Ads page, hover over the ad that you want to edit.
    • Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
    • Click Save when you've finished.

    Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent to us for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 working day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If we find that you've removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, we can approve your ad to start running.

  4. Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with personalised advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with personalised advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren't able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.

Health in personalised advertising

Personal health content, which includes:

  • Physical or mental health conditions, including diseases, sexual health and chronic health conditions, which are health conditions that require long-term care or management. 
  • Products, services or procedures to treat or manage chronic health conditions, which include over-the-counter medications and medical devices.
  • Any health issues associated with intimate body parts or functions, which include genital, bowel or urinary health.
  • Invasive medical procedures, which include cosmetic surgery.
  • Disabilities, even when content is directed towards the user’s primary caretaker.
    • Examples: treatments for chronic health conditions like diabetes or arthritis, treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, counselling services for mental health issues like depression or anxiety, medical devices for sleep apnoea like CPAP machines, over-the-counter medications for yeast infections, information about how to support your autistic child

Negative financial status in personalised advertising

Personal financial distress, difficulties or deprivation

  • Examples: bankruptcy services, welfare services, homeless shelters, unemployment resources, predatory lending products and services

Relationship hardships in personalised advertising

Personal hardships with family, friends or other interpersonal relationships

  • Examples: divorce services, books about coping with divorce, bereavement products or services, family counselling services

Commission of a crime in personalised advertising

Personal criminal record, crimes committed, criminal allegations or criminal charges

  • Examples: bail bonds services, criminal defence lawyers

Abuse and trauma in personalised advertising

Personal status as a victim of abuse, crime or other traumatic event

  • Examples: domestic abuse shelters, victim advocate services

Imposing negativity in personalised advertising

Imposing negativity on the user or using a negative perspective or bias to promote any content category

  • Examples: body shaming, negativity related to physical attributes or social interactions, suggesting negative outcomes for users if they don’t take specific actions
 

Identity and belief

We consider identity and belief systems to be deeply personal and complex. They’re highly dependent on diversity of cultural norms, geography, history and personal life experiences. We also understand that how one identifies or what one believes can be used to segment users based on judgments or stigmas.

We want ads to provide a positive experience and to be informed by users’ interests rather than by who they’re perceived to be as a person, so we don’t allow personalised advertising based on a user’s fundamental or intrinsic self-identity or their belief systems. Such identities and beliefs can include inherently private classifications of one’s self; classifications susceptible to stigmas, discrimination or harassment; membership within groups that are susceptible to stigmas, discrimination or prejudices; and personally held belief systems.

We don’t allow targeting users based on identity and belief, as outlined in the following sensitive interest categories. Depending on the targeting feature used, you also may not be allowed to promote products and services in the following sensitive interest categories.

You are responsible for ensuring your ads comply with policy where required. See below for specific examples of what we don't allow.

Troubleshooter: How to comply with policy
  1. Read the policy below to learn what we don't allow. Ensure that your ads, site or app comply with personalised advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
  2. Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don't allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You'll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.
  3. Remove that content from your ad.
    If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.
    • On your 'Ads' page, hover over the ad that you want to edit.
    • Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
    • Click 'Save' when you've finished.
  4. Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 working day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If you've removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, you can request a review of your ad.
  5. Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with personalised advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with personalised advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren't able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.

Sexual orientation in personalised advertising

Sexual orientation, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning or heterosexual orientation

  • Examples: information about revealing your homosexuality, gay dating, gay travel, information about bisexuality

Political affiliation in personalised advertising

This Personalised advertising policy does not apply to Gmail ads, but it applies to all other targeting features. See the policy below for political content in Gmail ads.

Political affiliation

  • Examples: political ideologies, political opinions, political parties, political organisations, political campaigns, engagement in political discourse

Political content in personalised advertising

This Personalised advertising policy not only applies to Gmail ads, but also to all other targeting features.

Political affiliation

  • Examples: political ideologies, political opinions, political parties, political organisations, political campaigns, engagement in political discourse

Trade union membership in personalised advertising

Trade unions and ads that imply knowledge of a user's trade union membership

  • Examples: trade union sites, information oriented towards members of trade unions, trade union blogs and trade union support for work disputes

Race and ethnicity in personalised advertising

Personal race or ethnicity

  • Examples: racially or ethnically oriented publications, racially or ethnically oriented universities, racial or ethnic dating

Religious belief in personalised advertising

Personal religious beliefs

  • Examples: places of worship, religious guidance, religious education or universities, religious products

Marginalised groups in personalised advertising

Membership in a marginalised or vulnerable social group, such as social castes, immigrants or refugees

  • Examples: products oriented towards users based on social caste, services for immigrants, legal services for refugees

Transgender identification in personalised advertising

Personal identification with a gender different from the gender assigned at birth, or a gender that does not conform to singular male or female identification

  • Examples: information about gender transitioning, transgender discrimination lawyers
 

  Sexual interests

We understand that sexual interests are inherently private and, depending on cultural norms, not often candidly discussed. We believe in maintaining the privacy of a user’s sexual interests, so we don’t allow personalised advertising that targets users based on their personal sexual interests, experiences, activities or preferences. Such interests include sexual behaviours, activities or products used when having sex. Additionally, we don’t allow categories that are sexually suggestive or intended to sexually arouse.

We don’t allow targeting users based on sexual interests, as outlined in the following sensitive interest categories. Depending on the targeting feature used, you also may not be allowed to promote products and services in the following sensitive interest categories.

You are responsible for ensuring your ads comply with policy where required. See below for specific examples of what we don't allow.

Troubleshooter: How to comply with policy
  1. Read the policy below to learn what we don't allow. Ensure that your ads, site or app comply with personalised advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
  2. Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don't allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You'll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.
  3. Remove that content from your ad.
    If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.
    • On your 'Ads' page, hover over the ad that you want to edit.
    • Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
    • Click 'Save' when you've finished.
  4. Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 working day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If you've removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, you can request a review of your ad.
  5. Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with personalised advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with personalised advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren't able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.

Birth control in personalised advertising

Devices intended to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases

  • Examples: condoms, oral contraceptive pill, contraceptive sponge

Sexual content

 All sexual content as defined in the Google Ads Sexual content policy.

If the Sexual content policy and the Personalised advertising sexual interests policy differ on how each treats a category, the Personalised advertising sexual interests policy takes precedence over the Sexual content policy with respect to how the category can be used for targeting and personalised ads.

 

Access to opportunities

We believe access to social and economic opportunities is fundamental for individual well-being, social status and quality of life. We also recognise that historic discrimination and societal biases have resulted in some segments of society having unequal access to these opportunities. 

Therefore, in an effort to improve inclusivity for users disproportionately affected by society’s biases, we don’t allow some categories of products or services to be targeted to specific audiences. This is in addition to existing ads policies that prohibit discrimination and personalised ads policies that prohibit use of Identity and Belief categories. See below for specific examples of what we don't allow.

Countries: United States, Canada

In the United States and Canada, the following sensitive interest categories cannot be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status or postcode.

Housing in personalised ads

Homes for sale or rental, where a home is defined as a place a person would reside. This includes products or services enabling the sale or rental of homes. 

  • Examples: housing listing sites, individual houses for sale or rental, real estate services

Employment in personalised ads 

Employment opportunities or hiring a person for a job.* 

  • Examples: ads for jobs, job recruitment sites, job listing sites

*A subset of pre-determined US government advertisers promoting employment in personalised ads are permitted to target restricted audiences under specific conditions. If the targeting is based on a bona fide occupational qualification for a government job, which is defined under US law as a qualification that is reasonably necessary for normal function of the job, these identified US government advertisers may target restricted audiences. 

Credit in personalised ads

Offers of credit or products or services related to credit lending. 

  • Examples: credit cards, loans including home loans, car loans, appliance loans, short-term loans



Personalised advertising data collection and use policies

These policies define requirements for data collection and use in personalised ads. They apply in addition to the Google ads policies for data collection and use.

You aren't allowed to do the following:

Run ads that collect or contain personally identifiable information (PII), unless using an ad format provided by Google and designed for that purpose

  • Examples: Collecting email addresses, telephone numbers or credit card numbers within the ad itself

Use or associate PII with remarketing lists, cookies, data feeds or other anonymous identifiers

Share PII with Google through remarketing tags or any product data feeds that might be associated with ads

Send Google precise location information without first obtaining users' consent

Use a remarketing list that targets an overly narrow or specific audience. This includes the case where combining a remarketing list with other targeting criteria (such as geographic limitations or other user segmentation) results in an ad targeted to a relatively small number of users. Learn more about remarketing list size requirements.

For remarketing

  • You can choose to disable the collection of remarketing data for users who do not wish to view personalised ads by using the parameter: allow_ad_personalization_signals. Learn how to modify the global site tag in order to disable the collection of remarketing data for specific users.
  • When using remarketing, re-engagement or Similar Audiences features, you're required to include specific information in your privacy policy.
  • Google may include in-ad notice labels to disclose personalised advertising to our users, and we may display to users which remarketing lists they're on, along with the corresponding domain name. You must not modify or obscure these notices. If you want to implement your own in-ad notice, it must only be done in compliance with relevant industry standards.
  • Google will not allow another advertiser to use your remarketing lists or Similar Audiences lists without your consent.
Troubleshooter: Personalised advertising policies for data collection and use
  1. Read the policy below to learn what we don't allow. Ensure that your ads, site or app comply with personalised advertising policies. Note that even if ads are not targeted using sensitive categories, some types of ad content are still prohibited.
  2. Remove that content from your site or app. If your site or app has content that we don't allow, remove all content that doesn’t comply with this policy. You'll then need to request a review before moving on to the next step of checking your audience lists.

  3. Remove that content from your ad.

    If your ad violates this policy, edit it to make it comply.

    • On your Ads page, hover over the ad that you want to edit.
    • Click the pencil icon next to your ad to edit it.
    • Click Save when you've finished.

    Once you edit and save your ad, it's sent to us for review. Most ads are reviewed within 1 working day, though some can take longer if they need a more complex review. If we find that you've removed the unacceptable content from your ad and its destination, we can approve your ad to start running.

  4. Disassociate or remove ad groups targeting audience or remarketing lists. After we review the site or app, the associated lists will be enabled. Ensure that the ads using these lists comply with personalised advertising policies. If the ads do not comply with personalised advertising policies, please remove the ad groups or targeting that uses the audience or remarketing lists.
If you aren't able to fix these violations, or you choose not to, please remove your ad to help prevent your account from becoming suspended in the future for having too many disapproved ads.

Need help?

If you have questions about our policies, let us know: Contact Google Ads Support
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