Google is set to show what ads politicians and parties are running on Google, how they’re targeting them and how much they’re spending when they introduce their political ad transparency program in Australia.
On Tuesday, Google Australia’s government affairs and public policy manager, Hannah Frank, confirmed the program — which is already running in the U.S., E.U., India Israel and New Zealand — will be rolled out down under.
Google's political ads transparency program is coming to Australia. Advertisers can register now, and we'll start publishing ad creative, spending and views in our transparency report next year. See what it looks like: https://t.co/RtZe4T5SrM. Get verified:https://t.co/7yBH8Lbp9T
— Hannah Frank (@hannahfrankau) November 17, 2020
“Google’s political ads transparency program is coming to Australia. Advertisers can register now, and we’ll start publishing ad creative, spending and views in our transparency report next year,” she tweeted.
Google’s ad transparency programs will apply to ads that feature “a political party, current elected officeholder, or candidate for the House of Representatives or Senate”.
Anyone who wishes to run a political ad on Google — like on their Google Search or on YouTube — will need to have their identity verified by Google.
Once they do, they will go into a database of election ads that can be accessed by any person.
Users can search this database for advertiser name or advertisement keyword. Google will also display information about what information was used to target the advertisement, when it ran and how much was spent.
People will also be able to see a general report of how much was spent on political ads during a time period and who the top spenders were.
This program broadly brings Google’s political ad transparency features in line with Facebook’s similar features in Australia. Facebook’s Ad Library has been an important source of transparency for digital election advertising, which can be otherwise difficult to follow.
Google has been criticised for lagging behind Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies on its policies around misinformation and political advertising.
This latest feature at least brings the search giant in line with its peers.