Google UK admits FS ad clamp down impacts revenue

Google has admitted that its decision to only host adverts for financial services products from FCA approved firms has impacted its revenue.

Following pressure from the regulator, since September last year the tech giant has required advertisers to demonstrated they are on the FCA’s approved list of financial services firms. The move was rolled out to help prevent fraudulent financial advertisement on the platform.

At a session of parliament’s fraud committee inquiry on Thursday, Google’s government affairs and public policy lead on advertising said that the move could also affect smaller businesses.

“We’ve had to calibrate on this issue – the FCA list and the FCA’s authorisation by their own admission isn’t necessarily perfect, it’s kind of jagged and their regulatory perimeter doesn’t include all financial services actors in the UK,” Didi Denham told the inquiry.

“Some businesses, like SME lenders, sit outside of that regulatory perimeter, this may have an impact on legitimate businesses who are able to advertise.”

But she said the move was ultimately about ensuring users are safe on the platform.

“If they don’t trust the ads that they see, they won’t click on ads in the future and this will have a longer term more detrimental impact on our business,” added Denham.

When asked what the company does to compensate people who have been defrauded, the Google advertising lead explained that there was no compensation system but that the company tries to invest as much as possible in preventative measures.

Online Advertising Programme consultation

Denham said that bringing more transparency to online ads through the Online Advertising Programme aligns with what Google is currently doing.

The government says that the new programme, currently in consultation, will review the regulatory framework of paid-for online ads with the aim of tackling “the evident lack of transparency and accountability across the whole supply chain”.

The Google executive said that while the business welcomes the consultation and acknowledges the benefits, it would “encourage the government to take a proportionate approach”.

She also said that Google would appreciate clarity on where different players in the ads ecosystem would sit and the control they would have.

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