Policy for advertising based on interests and location

This policy applies to advertisers using one or more of these AdWords features:

  • remarketing
  • affinity audiences
  • custom affinity audiences
  • "In-market audiences"
  • similar audiences
  • demographic and location targeting

Requirements may apply to all aspects of interest-based advertising, including remarketing lists, ad content, data feeds and advertiser websites

Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange clients should refer to the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange Programme Guidelines for relevant policies.

Policy requirements

  • Your Privacy Policy must include information on any use of the AdWords features above which happens on your website or app
  • You aren't allowed to run interest-based advertising campaigns that collect personally identifiable information (PII), including but not limited to email addresses, telephone numbers and credit card numbers
  • You aren't allowed to use or associate personally identifiable information with remarketing lists, cookies, data feeds or other anonymous identifiers
  • You aren't allowed to use or associate targeting information, such as demographics or location, with any personally identifiable information collected from the ad or its landing page
  • You aren't allowed to share any personally identifiable information with Google through your remarketing tag or any product data feeds which might be associated with your ads
  • You aren't allowed to send Google precise location information without obtaining people's consent.
  • You must abide by the policy for sensitive categories outlined below
    • When creating a remarketing list, you can't use any sensitive information about your website or app visitors, whether you collected it directly or associated it with a visitor, based on the visitor's profile or behaviour on your website or app
    • Restrictions on list creation may apply to both individual web pages and entire websites or apps
    • Ad content may not imply knowledge of personally identifiable or sensitive information
  • Google may include in-ads notice labels to disclose interest-based advertising to our users
  • Google reserves the right to display to users which remarketing lists they're on, along with the corresponding domain name
  • You aren't allowed to modify or obscure these notices
  • You can implement your own in-ads notice with written consent from Google, and the label must comply with relevant industry standards

Other requirements

Using remarketing lists created via DoubleClick remarketing and other remarketing list services:

You may not use a remarketing list created via DoubleClick’s remarketing feature (formerly known as Boomerang) or other remarketing list service for the purposes of AdWords remarketing campaigns, unless the websites and apps from which those lists were compiled meet the requirements of this policy.

Sharing of data in your remarketing lists

Google won't allow another advertiser to use your remarketing lists or similar audience's lists without your consent.

Restrictions that apply to sensitive categories in interest-based advertising

When creating remarketing lists or creating your ads, you can't use any sensitive information about website or app visitors. For the purposes of this policy, sensitive information includes:

  • Interest or participation in adult activities (including alcohol, gambling, adult dating, pornography etc)
  • Sexual behavior or orientation, such as sexual orientation inferred from a user's visit to a particular website
  • Racial or ethnic information, such as from websites or apps that collect affirmative racial or ethnic identification from visitors
  • Political affiliation (other than the public registration information of United States voters), such as from websites or apps that solicit or store people's affirmative political stances
  • Trade union membership or affiliation, such as a user's visit to a trade union's website or app
  • Religion or religious belief, such as from websites or apps that collect people's affirmative information on religion or religious beliefs
  • Negative financial status or situation, such as information indicating that a user has a low credit rating or high debt load
  • Health or medical information, such as from websites or apps that market to a specific health-related group
  • Status as a child under 13
  • The commission or alleged commission of any crime, such as information indicating that a user has a criminal record

As an advertiser using any type of interest-based advertising, you're restricted from:

  • Running ads that collect personally identifiable information
  • Using interest-based advertising or implementing the remarketing tag on any website or app directed at children under 13 or which shops or solicits age information from people under the age of 13
  • Creating a remarketing list or creating ad content that specifically seeks to reach people in ways that are prohibited
  • Creating ad content which implies knowledge of personally identifiable or sensitive information about the website or app visitor, even when the remarketing list has been created without using such information
  • Including products which fall into these sensitive categories (such as pharmaceutical products) in any data feeds

Additionally, any ads that are already prohibited by our AdWords content policies are prohibited for remarketing campaigns.

Gambling

Definition:

Websites, apps or services which allow someone to risk money or something of value on an activity with an uncertain outcome in order to win additional money or value. Gambling games which allow people to accumulate points that can be used for additional play also qualify. This includes, but is not limited to ads, websites or apps which offer: sportsbooks and sports betting; lotteries; bingo; poker; tips, odds and handicapping; software facilitating online casinos and gambling; gambling tutorials; gambling-related eBooks; "play for fun" casino games; games of skill, when money or prizes can be won; or affiliate websites or apps with the primary purpose of driving traffic to online gambling websites or apps.

What's prohibited:

The creation of remarketing lists on websites or apps in this category.

What's allowed:

Nothing

Adult

Definition:

Websites or apps with goods or content which is intended for an adult audience. This includes any websites or apps which are considered "non-family safe" or "adult" by AdSense, or ads which are classified as "non-family safe" or "adult" by AdWords. Examples would include ads, websites or apps for: pornography, adult dating, sexual aids & devices, alcohol, tobacco products, contraceptives, or any websites or apps where a significant portion of the website or app includes partial or complete nudity.

What's prohibited:

The creation of remarketing lists on websites or apps in this category.

What's allowed:

Nothing

Racial or ethnic information

Definition:

Websites or apps that appeal to or market to specific ethnic or racial groups, either entirely or in part. This would include websites or apps aimed at a specific ethnic or racial group, or ads that specifically target a racial or ethnic group. Ad, website or app content might include: information on immigration status, travel and online dating services targeting specific ethnic or racial groups, or other services which are targeted specifically to a particular racial or ethnic group.

What's prohibited:

Websites or apps that solicit or store affirmative racial or ethnic identification from website or app visitors may not use that data to create remarketing lists. Websites or apps which are created to target a specific ethnic or racial audience, such that a person's visit to the website or app implies providing identification (for example, [specific-race]dating.com) aren't allowed to run remarketing or similar audience campaigns.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

Regardless of how an advertiser obtained their remarketing lists, some types of ads aren't allowed to use remarketing. For example, ads that appear to be targeting an ethnic or racial group would not be able to run in remarketing campaigns. Here are some sample ads which imply knowledge of a user's racial or ethnic information and wouldn't be appropriate to run as part of an interest-based advertising campaign:

                                           

Irish Expat? Green cards
Need help to prepare and complete
your US Form I-90? We're here!
www.example.com/greencard

This ad implies knowledge that a person is Irish.

Jamaican Dating website
Browse Photos, Chat & Connect.
Meet Jamaican Singles Here!
example.com

This ad implies knowledge that a person is Jamaican.

 

What is allowed:

 

Websites or apps that don't solicit or store people's affirmative racial or ethnic identification (unless the website or app as a whole is specifically targeted to an individual ethnic or racial group or grouping) may create remarketing lists. Websites or apps that do solicit or store affirmative ethnic or racial identification from visitors may create remarketing lists, provided that they don't use that sensitive information when creating their lists.

Ads that don't imply knowledge of a user's racial or ethnic group (for example, by using benign or non-identifying calls to action) may run using remarketing. Ads that don't target an ethnic or racial group or grouping may be allowed to run, such as "Information about Green Cards". For example, the ads below do not imply knowledge of a user's racial or ethnic information and would be appropriate to run in a remarketing campaign:

                                       

Study Jewish History
with a teacher individually, 1:1
Register for the class and free materials
www.example.com

Though the ad mentions a particular religion, it doesn't appear to imply knowledge of any details about the person's religion.

Black Movers and Leaders
Find out about Civil Rights Leaders
Who've changed the US forever!
example.com

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of the user's ethnic identity, but features general information for people interested in the topic.

Political or trade union information

Definition:

Ads, websites or apps promoting political figures, opinions or issues, such as websites or apps for political candidates, political groups, political cause awareness, advocacy groups, union memberships or government service agreements.

What's prohibited:

Websites or apps that collect/store people's affirmative political stances can't create remarketing lists using that sensitive information. Websites or apps that include pages where people can provide an affirmative political stance can't create lists of visitors to those sections of their websites or apps. For example, it's prohibited for a political website or app to create a list of all its visitors who have made donations or signed up for a mailing list.

What's allowed:

Advertisers are allowed to use the public registration information of United States voters to create remarketing lists.

Websites or apps that don't solicit or store people's affirmative political stances can create remarketing lists. Additionally, if political websites or apps want to create a remarketing list of visitors to their website or app, they may do so provided that they aren't creating lists of visitors to pages within the website or app where a visit by a user indicates an affirmative political stance (for example, donation pages, mailing list sign-up pages or pages where they sign a political petition).

For example, if the website or app is for a candidate or political position/movement, the website or app could create a list of visitors to an informational page. Ads that don't imply knowledge of a user's political stance may use remarketing. For example, ads which use a non-identifying call to action such as "learn more" would be acceptable. The ads below don't imply knowledge of a person's political affiliation:

White House Information
What will the Prime Minister do next?
We have the latest news.
example.com/Politics

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of a person's political opinions or affiliations.

2012 General Election
Track your local MP's campaign
get updates on the 2012 election campaign
www.example.com/election2012

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of a person's political opinions or affiliations.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

Ads that imply knowledge of a person's identified political opinion or stance can't run. For example, ads that use calls to action such as "vote for your party's slate" or "support candidate xyz again" will be excluded from using remarketing, regardless of how the advertiser obtained their remarketing lists.

Examples of unacceptable ads include:

Labour Party Website
Support Your Party this Week.
Vote LABOUR and Make a Difference.
www.example.org

This ad implies awareness of a person's political affiliation by using terms such as "support your party".

World Hospitality Union
Member, come out and show support.
Rally for health care, insurance. protection
example.com/whu

This ad implies knowledge that the person is a member of a union.

Religion and religious beliefs

Definition:

Ads, websites or apps promoting religions, religious institutions, organisations or advocacy groups.

What's prohibited:

Websites or apps that collect/store people's affirmative information on religion or religious beliefs can't create remarketing lists using that sensitive information. Websites or apps that include pages where people can provide affirmative information on their religion or religious beliefs can't create lists of visitors to those sections of their websites or apps. For example, it's prohibited for a website or app for a religious institution to create a remarketing list of all the visitors who have made donations or signed up to a mailing list.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

Ads that mention a person's identified religion or religious belief can't run. For example, ads that use calls to action such as "support religion xzy" or "join our church" will be excluded from using remarketing, regardless of how the advertiser obtained their remarketing lists.

Examples of unacceptable ads include:

Christian singles?
Join our premier dating website
to meet like-minded partners.
example.com/Religion

This ad implies knowledge of a person's religion.

Support Islam
Embrace Islam as your faith
and change your life
www.example.com/religion

This ad implies knowledge of a person's religion.

   

What's allowed:

Websites or apps that don't solicit or store information on affirmative religious or philosophical beliefs from visitors can create remarketing lists. Additionally, if websites or apps for institutions or organisations want to create a remarketing list of visitors to their website or app, they may do so provided that they aren't creating lists of visitors to pages within the website or app where a visit by a user indicates an affirmative religious or philosophical belief (for example, donation pages, mailing list sign-up pages or pages where people can create an account for the website or app itself).

For example, if the website or app is for a particular institution or organisation, the website or app could create a list of visitors to an informational page. Ads that don't imply knowledge of a person's religious or philosophical beliefs may use remarketing. For example, ads which use a non-identifying call to action such as "learn more" would be acceptable. The ads below don't imply knowledge of a person's religious affiliation or identity:

Information on Catholicism
Want to learn about Catholicism?
Come to our website.
example.com/Catholicism

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of a person's religion.

Jewish Community Center
Learn more about activities
and classes in your neighbourhood.
www.example.com/afterschool

This ad does not imply knowledge of a person's religion.

  
Negative financial status or situation

Definition:

Ads, websites and apps for companies in the insurance or finance business, websites that include an element of finance or insurance-related information or products. This may include, but is not limited to: websites or apps for banking services, insurance companies, loans, mortgages, credit score companies; car companies that offer credit services; news or informational websites or apps about finance; stock trading/information; credit card offers or bail bonds.

What's prohibited:

Websites or apps that solicit or store information about a person's financial status or situation can't use that sensitive information to create remarketing lists that target ads at people on the basis of a negative financial status or situation. Examples include: credit card ads targeted at users with low credit ratings, debt consolidation services targeted at people with high debt loads, or legal service ads targeted at those who have provided financial information that shows that they're at a higher risk of bankruptcy.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

Ads that imply knowledge of a person's negative financial status or situation cannot use remarketing. For example, ads which indicate that the person has a "low" credit score are not allowed in remarketing campaigns. Additionally, websites or apps for bankruptcy information (even with benign calls to action like "get bankruptcy information"), debt consolidation, short-term loans or credit repair can't be used in a remarketing campaign. Here are some example ads that shouldn't run with remarketing campaigns, as they imply knowledge of a person's financial situation:

Acme Card Holder!
You can get better rates by
upgrading to platinum, 6% APR
www.example.org

This ad implies that it knows which credit card someone has and what the person's current APR is on that card.

Debt Consolidation Online
You're buried in debt and drowning!
Start Reducing Your Debt Today!
example.com

This ad indicates it knows that a person is struggling with debt problems.

Even with your bad credit...
We can help you get a credit card!
9.9% APRs. Approved in seconds.
example.com/badcredit

This ad implies that a person has bad credit.

ACME Luxury Cars
You make over 100K
This is the kind of car that you need!
example.com

This ad implies knowledge of the person's level of income.

What's allowed:

Websites or apps that solicit or store information about a person's financial status, such as their income level, credit score or financial circumstances, may create remarketing lists as long as they don't use that sensitive data in creating a remarketing list. For example, a financial website or app may create a list of visitors to their website or app, and then use that to reach people with tailored ads – as long as the ads don't violate these requirements.

Ads which don't imply knowledge of a person's negative financial status or circumstances are generally acceptable. For example, acceptable text might include "Take advantage of low mortgage rates" or "Get your credit score". Ads like the ones below, which don't appear to specifically target people by their financial status or imply knowledge of that status, would be acceptable:

Acme Credit Cards
Want to get a better APR?
Learn about how credit affects you.
example.org

This ad does not imply knowledge of what card someone has or what the person's current APR is.

Mortgage Refinance 4.25%
Up to £200.000 at Low Monthly Rates
Save Now, Apply Online Today!
example.com

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of any information about the person, though it does note some details about a loan available to most people.

Stocks at example.com
Commission-Free Trades and Tools.
Get Personal Service. Sign Up Now.
example.com

This ad doesn't imply knowledge of a person's financial portfolio or situation.

Pharmaceuticals or health information

Definition:

Ads, websites and apps which seek to reach people based on health conditions and/or collect people's health-related information on their website or app, either purposely or not. This may include health information about users of pharmaceutical drugs, over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies, depending on the nature of the information which is collected and used to create a remarketing list. Some examples would include:

  • Websites or apps that market prescription drugs to consumers or pharmaceutical professionals
  • Websites or apps promoting disease prevention/awareness to consumers or medical professionals
  • Websites or apps that sell or market products designed for users in a specific medical category or group
  • Corporate pages for pharmaceutical manufacturers which include advertising about specific drugs or treatments
  • Websites or apps not in the pharmaceutical industry, but which collect or store information about a person's medical or health conditions, such as a law firm whose clients are involved in mesothelioma cases
  • Websites or apps that sell wellness-based products for sensitive conditions or uses, such as over-the-counter erectile dysfunction treatments, incontinence pads, hearing aids, haemorrhoid cream or condoms

What's prohibited:

In creating remarketing lists, websites or apps that specifically advertise either a pharmaceutical drug or run awareness pages for disease information or prevention aren't permitted to use remarketing. For example, these websites or apps wouldn't be allowed to create remarketing lists:

  • Websites or apps promoting awareness about diseases
  • Websites or apps for drugs marketed directly to consumers
  • Websites or apps selling wellness-based products that are sensitive in nature
  • Websites or apps that sell medical devices for the treatment of a specific medical condition (such as sleep apnea)
  • Websites or apps that market to a specific health-related group (such as those with incontinence or other conditions)

Additionally, websites or apps that collect or store health information about visitors aren't permitted to create lists using that sensitive information.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

In creating ads for remarketing campaigns in this category, the ad content should not imply knowledge of a person's medical history or health conditions. For example, if a pharmaceutical manufacturer wanted to market a prescription drug to people who had viewed their informational website or app, this wouldn't be permitted. All of the ads below would not be allowed to run in a remarketing campaign:

You Use Catheters
Save money on supplies now!
NHS and Private Health Cover accepted
example.com

This ad implies knowledge that a person requires a specific medical device.

Anxiety Information
Learn tips for treating yourself
and get news on the latest treatments
example.com

This ad implies knowledge that a person has anxiety issues.

Diabetes Patients
Currently treating Type 2 diabetes
Visit us online for extra help.
example.com

This ad implies knowledge of a person's medical situation.

   

What's allowed:

We generally allow websites or apps that are non-medical in nature and don't collect personal medical information to use remarketing. Examples would include: websites or apps directed at health-care professionals; websites or apps which provide information on a multi-purpose pharmaceutical drug; or other websites or apps which provide information which is not specific to any particular disease (such as websites or apps which provide information to hearing aid users or websites or apps which provide business listings for doctors). Additionally, websites or apps for over-the-counter medications that don't collect people's health information would generally be allowed to create lists.

Ads which don’t imply knowledge of a user’s medical situation would be allowed to run. For example, medical ads which are clearly aimed at healthcare providers or industry professionals (and not consumers) would be allowed. For example, if a pharmaceutical distributor wanted to target ads at medical professionals or hospitals, this would be permitted. Ads for products which are non-sensitive and not related to any specific disease or condition are also generally allowed. For example, if an optician or glasses boutique wanted to run an ad for a specific style of glass frames to a person who had viewed the product page on the website or app, this would be allowed.

Examples of ads which fall within these guidelines include:

Designer Eyeglasses
£10 Off your first order frames
Free delivery on all Designer items
example.com

This ad for glasses doesn't note that the user may have vision problems.

Type 2 Diabetes Info
Healthcare Professionals - Learn
about Type 2 Diabetes treatments.
example.com

This ad is specifically targeted to healthcare professionals.

Digital Thermometer - £15
Rechargeable Thermometer – £14.98
Free Ordering. Fast Delivery
example.com

This ad features a product available over the counter that isn't sensitive in nature.

X Pharma Company News
Merger with Company Y
See how this affects your shares
example.com/pharma

This ad is about the pharmaceutical company itself and not specifically pharmaceutical drugs.

Ads or content appealing to children
 

Definition:

Websites or apps directed to or appealing to children under 13.

What's prohibited:

Because of numerous laws around marketing to children in the US (including the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA) and elsewhere, we've prohibited the use of remarketing in campaigns which are directed at children under 13 and interest-based advertising on websites and apps that are directed at children.

Even if the remarketing list is created without any sensitive information, some types of ad content are still prohibited:

Ads which are directly marketed at users under 13, or that are primarily appealing to those under 13, like the ones below, are not allowed to run in conjunction with remarketing.

Kitten Games for Girls!
Pet and Feed Virtual Kittens
Over 1000 Free Girls' Games!
example.com

This ad appears to be specifically directed to younger people and may be appealing to those under 13.

Great science fair ideas
Need an idea for your elementary
school science fair? Visit us now!
example.com

This ad indicates it's directed to a younger person looking for help with school work, rather than to a parent or guardian.

What's allowed:

Websites or apps that are not directed at children under 13, and which don't store or solicit age information from individuals under the age of 13, are permitted. Ads that don't imply knowledge that a person may be under 13, and don't appear to try to reach people under 13, may run in conjunction with remarketing or interest-based advertising. For example, an ad for at adults, such as "Get tickets for [G-rated movie X]".

Ads that may appeal to younger people are allowed to run if they adhere to our rules around creating remarketing lists. For example, toy ads which cater to parents, or an ad for a children's film targeted at a person who had viewed the website would be allowed to run if the ad clearly doesn't target children. Ads which directly try to reach parents or all visitors to a website are allowed to run:

Tutor to success
Aid your child in keeping up
and getting ahead – Save 15%.
example.com

This ad is clearly aimed at parents.

Christmas Toys Galore!
Get gifts and free delivery,
Dolls, games, action figures!
example.com

This ad doesn't specifically target younger people.

What happens if I violate this policy?

  • Ad disapproval: Ads that don't follow this policy may get disapproved. A disapproved ad won't be able to run until the policy violation is fixed and the ad is approved.
  • List disabling: Lists that don’t follow this policy may be suspended. This means that these lists can no longer be used with ad campaigns and new users won’t be added to the lists.
  • Domain disabling: We may suspend websites that violate this policy. This means that the website can no longer use AdWords remarketing or other interest-based advertising features until the problem is fixed.
  • Account suspension: An account may get suspended if you have several violations or a serious violation. If this happens, all ads in the suspended account will stop running and we may no longer accept advertising from you. Any related accounts may also get permanently suspended and your new accounts may get automatically suspended at setup.

Next steps

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