‘Not a deal breaker’: Google’s crypto ad ban to have little effect on ICOs and cryptocurrencies
- Google's crypto ad ban was praised by many in the crypto community who feel it's a way to route out scams
- Google's ban follows similar moves by Facebook and could offer opportunities to develop guidelines for crypto ads
Google is shutting the door on crypto ads — but it might not make much of a difference.
In a policy update Wednesday, the company announced that as of June, it won’t be allowing ads related to cryptocurrencies, including initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice. The ban is part of a bigger push to fight emerging threats, including “unregulated or speculative financial products,” the company said in a separate statement, likely in response to mounting public pressure on digital giants to crack down on online scams, fake news and hate speech.
Google’s ban comes on the heels of a similar move from Facebook, which last month banned ads for coin offerings and crypto couching. Following the Google ban announcement, bitcoin prices tumbled below $9,000 for the first time in a week. But despite advertisers’ reliance on Facebook and Google (they made up of more than 60 percent of digital ad spend last year), the ban on Google crypto ads isn’t likely to make much of a difference to businesses operating in the space. Cryptocurrency companies are marketing their products on Telegram groups, online chatrooms and invitation-only forums, according to Ryan Gilbert, a partner at Propel Venture Partners.
For marketers that work with crypto businesses, the move means pushing some clients to pivot their ad strategies. To cryptocurrency marketing agency CoinPoint, the impact on client businesses is likely to be small, and for those currently advertising on Google, it gives them time to shift their strategies to other platforms.
“We are getting ready, but it’s not a deal breaker,” said CoinPoint CEO Oron Barber. “We talked to customers, diverted some budgets and planned towards the summer to change channels and focus on other sources — things like Telegram, Slack and Medium are performing very well for crypto merchants.”
In addition, a large number of sites will still let them run native ads, with the top sites being Bitcoin IRA, Palm Beach Research Group, Choose Yourself Financial, Money Morning US, and Early Investing, according to ad-tracking company Pathmatics. And getting rid of crypto ads won’t affect Google’s ad revenue, the lion’s share of which is driven by major consumer brands like Amazon, according to eMarketer.
Google’s removal of crypto ads is temporary and gives it it time to formulate guidelines to root out scams, especially in light of enhanced SEC scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges. The regulator said earlier this month that online trading platforms for cryptocurrencies need to register with the SEC as regulated national securities exchanges or alternate trading systems. Google or Facebook ads won’t have much of an impact because they’re most likely going to be tools that target inexperienced investors who may easily fall prey to fraud schemes.
“Only scams do the ads,” said Monetizr CEO Andris Merkulovs. “Ads are a cheap way to acquire ‘regular people’ who are not investors — companies have to build the product, have traction and raise money through credibility and results.”