How Google’s New Clickbait Ad Policy Affects Your Marketing Campaign

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When you use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, your goal is one thing – clicks.

In the past, companies have used whatever it takes to get people to click their advertisements. Unrealistic offers, clickbait titles, and predatory imagery were all just a part of catching the attention of potential customers. But, not anymore.

In an effort to help protect internet users from deceptive marketing strategies and improve their user experience, Google has implemented new policies that determine what ads are acceptable to promote.

Google’s New Clickbait Policy

The update to Google’s misrepresentation policy, which is set to go live in July 2020, aims to prevent and remove harmful ads from its platform. According to Google, the following are types of ads that are being blocked or removed.

Clickbait Titles

Clickbait titles that require the user to click to receive the full context are one of the most prevalent ads in the market. They use the curiosity of the browser to get clicks which are often directed to a sales pitch or some other landing page that isn’t what they were looking for.

Examples of clickbait titles include:

  • “You won’t believe what happened!” 
  • “Can you believe she said that?”
  • “Scientists don’t want you to know this one trick!”

Deceptive Imagery

Photoshop and other photo doctoring tools have made it hard to tell what is and isn’t real online. However, advertisers that use doctored images or misleading images will have to find another way to catch their target’s eye. Anything that intentionally misleads the viewer with an image will violate the new policy.

Examples of deceptive imagery include:

  • Body or face swaps
  • Photoshopping someone or something into another setting
  • Blurring parts of a photo
  • False before and after


Fear is a great motivator, but scaring people into clicking an advertisement is a no-no as far as Google is concerned. Health products and wellness companies who praise a supplement as a savior or villainize something as the reason people are one way fearmongering is used in ads.

Examples of fearmongering include:

  • Falsely claiming a product or service can prevent or cause injury and/or death
  • Using images of death, disaster, or other negative events in ads to scare viewers into clicking

What You Can Do About Google’s Misrepresentation Policy

If your business is using any of the marketing strategies above, you need a new approach. As of July 2020, you will be forced to get creative with ads to create the same effective impact without the possibility of misleading visitors.

To do this, include facts and legitimate media in your advertisements rather than sensationalizing content. Instead of tricking or scaring viewers, convince them that they want to click. They will trust you more, and those clicks become more valuable, which allows you to increase your return on investment for PPC ads.

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