Protecting publishers: How Advertising Policies & Policy Enforcement Work

Online advertising helps to support the services we all enjoy and enables businesses to grow.  While the vast majority of our online publishers are terrific partners, not every publisher has the best intentions. That’s why we invest a lot of time and effort in our people, policy and technology to maintain the quality of our network so that it continues to be a safe and effective place to learn, create and advertise. On March 14 we shared information about our work protecting publishers and advertisers on our network; in this post I’d like to share more detail about how our policies and policy enforcement work.



We continuously monitor ads and content for policy compliance. Our policies cover a range of content and behaviors when making money with Google ads.

  • For publishers, our AdSense program policies outline the kinds of websites and content we allow to show Google ads.  For example, our dangerous and derogatory content policy prohibits publishers from running Google ads on content that promotes discrimination against marginalized groups. 
  • For advertisers, our AdWords policies determine which ads are acceptable and what types of products or services can be promoted with Google ads. For example, we prohibit technologies that attempt to deceive users or abuse our network, like auto-redirecting ads, malware-laden sites, or “trick-to-click” ads. 

When creating AdSense policies, we try to strike a balance between the needs of users, advertisers, and publishers with two main goals; protecting users and respecting their experience online, and preventing inappropriate content from damaging the long-term success of the digital advertising ecosystem. To do so our policy team is comprised of professionals from a diverse array of backgrounds to help them work with a wide variety of stakeholders to craft fair and effective policies.


 To enforce these policies, we use a combination of people and technology. This isn’t a simple effort, which is why we have thousands of Google employees working to maintain a safe and secure ads ecosystem. Google has over 2 million publisher relationships. In order provide defenses against bad actors, we invest heavily in technology - which enables us to monitor the clicks and impressions we receive, and also to scan our partners’ sites. These tools operate at the click, page, site, and account levels, so we can pick up bad content and bad practices (like non-human traffic) at a very granular level.


Every publisher has their own set of brand values that inform where what types of ads they will allow on their site or app. After we evaluate ads and sites for policy compliance, we provide advertisers controls they need to manage where and when their ads appear, and provide publishers the ability to control the type and format of ads appearing next to their content. We provide publishers with comprehensive controls to help publishers automatically block ads they do not want to appear on their sites, and over the last year we made changes to significantly improve the accuracy and quality of our automated filters.

The Future

Creating good policies, enforcing them consistently, and fighting invalid traffic is an ongoing investment, and something that we are proud to embrace. To help facilitate a healthy digital advertising ecosystem, we are investing more money, and more people to help detect bad content and be faster in how we handle escalations. Additionally, we are developing new technology which will allow us to be more precise in how we disable ads.  

Over the coming year, we will continue to work with industry bodies in ways that help the ecosystem thrive, and make things more difficult for bad actors. We’ll continue to add new features, and controls to help advertisers, and publishers fine-tune where they want ads to appear. And lastly, in the coming months, we’ll be simplifying, and consolidating our policies, to help publishers better understand the basics of our policies, across platforms, and products.

We see our relationships with publishers as a partnership, which requires publishers to do their part. Publishers need to follow best practices, understand where their traffic is coming from, and adhere to our policies. To assist publishers, we provide as many resources as possible to help them succeed. We offer a Policy Help Center, an AdSense Forum, a AdSense YouTube channel, our Inside AdSense blog, and our social channels. In addition, we speak at conferences, and host publisher events at our offices globally.