How to Get Political Verification for Google Ads
NATIV3 has needed to politically verify dozens of candidates and causes to run ads. It is a tedious process, requiring multiple steps of verification – first for the candidate or organization, then for the person/organization running the ads. Keep in mind, Google’s ad platform is massive. If you plan to run display ads, YouTube ads or Google Search Ads for a candidate or cause, you’ll need to go through this verification process. It’s a little more arduous than Facebook’s verification process, which we’ve already wrote about here, here and here!
I want to give you a quick primer on what to expect when attempting to get verified for political ads. Step by step, I’ll outline how we quickly get approval and get ads running for you, your candidate or your cause.
STEP ONE – CREATING THE ACCOUNT
Creating a google ads account is fairly simple. Go to Google ads and click “get started”. Once you do that, you’ll be asked some preliminary information about the type of campaign you’ll want to run. If you’re hankering for a YouTube campaign or a Google Search campaign, the platform will help walk you through getting it up and running. The FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT part of this process is selecting the appropriate type of “Payment Profile“. Getting verified, this will come up later.
STEP TWO – SELECTING THE APPROPRIATE PAYMENT PROFILE
Whenever you create a Google ads account, you create a “payment profile” which is the preliminary information needed to charge an account. It’ll ask you questions like “are you tax exempt?”, “what kind of entity are you?”, and get your credit card/bank account to charge for the ads. NOTE: it’s extremely important for this information to be accurately reflected. If you’re a 501c3/c4 organization or a congressional candidate with an EIN-numbered organization, you’re going to want to select the type “Organization”. If you’re a local candidate or are just missing any piece of official business information, you’ll want to select the type “individual”. You cannot change your payment profile and your political verification RELIES on it later on. Select wisely and be sure you have ALL appropriate business information if you select “organization”.
STEP THREE – CREATING YOUR ADS
The best way to trigger a verification process is to start creating your first ads. Be it Google display ads, YouTube ads, or Google Search ads – you’ll want to make sure you try to get a campaign up and running and allow Google to tell you FIRST you need to apply for ad verification. A great resource on creating your first campaign can be found in this video.
STEP FOUR – RESPONDING TO THE NOTIFICATION
Within 24 hours, if your ads are deemed political in nature, you’ll get a notification that says “Election advertising in the United States”. There will be a green checkmark next to that notification; it does NOT mean you’re verified or you’re good to go to run political ads. I know; it’s confusing. Anyhow, Google will give you a number of confusing prompts which ultimately lead you to the certificate of verification application. That link is here.
STEP FIVE – APPLYING FOR THE CERTIFICATE OF VERIFICATION
This is the first of two steps which actually involve you proving you’re not a Russian Bot attempting to confuse or confound the American electorate. Just like the Patriot Act, it’s a type of new regulation which allows us to feel “safe” political advertisers are not nefarious actors sewing discord. Sorry. Rant over. Anyhow, this is a section that requires you to be prepared! You need to have ready a PDF proof that you’re a candidate, the relevant FEC filing numbers (if you’re a federal candidate who has one), an EIN number if appropriate, and a link to the Secretary of State website (or a campaign finance body website) to show you’re a candidate or cause. It will make you choose “individual” or “organization” once again in this application – and if your answer is different than your payment profile (remember when I mentioned that?), you’ll be unable to get verified for political ads and will, in all likelihood, need to create a new Google account. If you’re ever unsure you might have all the information necessary to meet Google’s requirements, select “individual” and be prepared to account for personal information later in the process. When Google asks you to submit proof of candidacy, a paper-scanned PDF of your Affidavit of Candidacy works very well. I’ve linked Minnesota’s, but each state has their own. If you’re running for State House, or County Commissioner, or City Council, selecting an “individual” payment profile and an “individual” certificate verification is the easiest way to go.
STEP SIX – PERSONAL VERIFICATION
After about 2 days of processing, you’ll get another notification saying Google needs you to edit something about your Certificate of Verification or that it’s been approved. If it’s been approved, you’ll then be required to submit a personal verification, which is used to identify the person handling the ad account and managing ads. They, again, must ensure you’re not a Russian Bot hellbent on running ads to undermine the national security of the United States of America. This will come in the form of an in-account notification. You’ll again be required to prepare some materials for this step in the verification process. You’ll need to determine if the candidate should submit THEIR information or you’re willing to submit YOUR information. Either way, this step is going to require submitting your driver’s license AND your birth certificate. Both photos or scans of the materials must be high definition and legible, AND they must not be cutting off any corners. If you mess this up, you’ll be forced to do it over again. The information you submit (address, social security, and the corresponding materials uploaded to Google) does NOT necessarily need to match then information chosen on the “payment profile”. It does, however, need to accurate to the “T”. The address you enter must match that of your driver’s license (or the driver’s license of the candidate you’re advertising for).
STEP SEVEN – ADS ARE APPROVED
Once the political approval and the personal approval are accepted, your ads will begin running immediately. From there on out, you’ll be able to run ads for your political candidate or cause! It’s a bit tedious, but we’ve found at NATIV3 this is the most streamlined and effective way to get approval in a clunky process.