Google Ads’ [Clickbait Ads Policy 2020]

Are you using clickbait tactics for your law firm?

If you are, you will have to put those tactics ads aside due to the new Google Ads’ Clickbait Ads Policy.

Google announced this week that in July 2020, Google will be moving away from ads that contain clickbait. This new Clickbait Ads Policy is located under the Google Ads Misrepresentation policy. Google wrote,

“this policy covers advertisement which uses sensationalist or clickbait text or imagery which intend to drive traffic to the Ad through pressurizing the viewer to take immediate action in order to understand the full context of the Ad.”

So what exactly is clickbait?

Google Ads Clickbait Policy - Juris Digital

Clickbait defined

Clickbait is a form of false advertisement; an intentional act of overpromising or otherwise misrepresenting. Clickbait can be used in the headline, an image, or some combination in order to get a click or a conversion.

Here’s what Google considers to be clickbait:

  • Sensationalist text or imagery. For example, an ad that claims to reveal secrets, scandals or similar information about the product or service being advertised. Oftentimes, the ad will say “click here to find out,” “you won’t believe what happened,” or other similar phrases that bait people into clicking on an ad. Additionally, these ads often use images of altered, zoomed-in body parts, mugshots, accidents, or disasters.
  • Using negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions. Ads that use this type of clickbait pressure the user to purchase, subscribe, or stop using something to avoid harm. These ads use imagery and words that depict severe distress, pain, or shock.

What will change for law firm pay-per-click ads?

For lawyers, Google’s definition of clickbait is often a reality. A lot of cases involve “negative life effects,” and the consequences are imminent for everyday people.

Google seemingly references the legal industry directly within their statement: “… ads that use negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions to pressure the viewer to take immediate action.” 

The practice area ads that we assume will be impacted by this new clickbait policy are personal injury, criminal defense, and possibly divorce and immigration.

At Juris Digital, we don’t use clickbait-type headlines. Instead, we focus on using natural, empathetic language which directly addresses the searcher’s intent. Unfortunately, this will impact a lot of advertisers that do focus on clickbait headlines, but we don’t see this impacting much of our pay-per-click content moving forward.

As this continues to roll out in July, we will give an update on the results we are finding and the impact that the policy puts into place.


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Leann Pickard

Leann Pickard is the Director of Advertising at Juris Digital. Leann brings extensive PPC experience is backed by a fundamental understanding of SEO, which all contributes to exceptional success for Juris Digital clients. With over 7 years running pay-per-click + social media campaigns, she prides herself on optimizing campaigns so attorneys can sign more clients.