Stuck in quarantine, people are spending more time online than ever before. According to major mobile and landline internet providers, in the last week of March, the overall bandwidth usage was on average 30% higher than the month before. Many advertisers are taking advantage of this situation — and we fully support that when-life-gives-you-lemons attitude!
But there’s one category of ads that’s been having a hard time lately — products related to coronavirus itself. All advertising platforms, from giants like Google and Facebook to smaller networks, have updated their policies with COVID19-specific guidelines to prevent the spread of panic and not allow advertisers capitalize on such a sensitive issue.
So, to spare you the disappointment of your campaigns being rejected over and over again, and prevent you from having trouble with local authorities — we’ve prepared a quick summary of what you CAN’T advertise during the coronavirus pandemic.
What the big guys like Google and Facebook are saying
The bigger the platform, the more unclear are its guidelines. In the advertising world, it seems to be a general principle these days. However, during the pandemic, ad networks were pretty clear about what COVID-19 materials are not allowed for publication.
Apart from being the largest ad network in the world, Google is also the primary (if not the sole, for many) information provider. So, its official standards in terms of COVID19-related information are very strict.
In short, the Big G doesn’t allow any ads related to coronavirus due to their Sensitive events policy. This regulation prohibits all content that potentially capitalizes on natural disasters, conflicts, and tragic events. And the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the vast majority of the world’s population definitely qualifies as such.
However, Google is famous for going where the money is, so it was very much in their fashion to lift the veto on coronavirus-related ads. This easing only applies to ads from “authoritative sources”, or in other words, a handful of companies that Google finds trustworthy.
Facebook has taken serious measures to ensure the well-being of local businesses and communities affected by coronavirus. And as other major ad networks, it’s been on the lookout for people trying to capitalize on the pandemic.
In general, Facebook’s policies prohibit exploitative tactics in ads. This applies to the ad images and titles, the landing page’s content and the products that the ads promote. In particular, FB bans all ads of medical face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and COVID-19 test kits.
Tabools is a large native advertising platform that links a user to related slideshows, articles, or videos within and outside the site.
Compared to other networks, Taboola has much clearer guidelines for what they’re expecting from advertisers who want to catch a little bit of the COVID-19 hype.
Summing it up, Taboola doesn’t allow:
- clickbait titles
- pandemic-related images (especially if they have nothing to do with the content of the site)
- any fool-proof promises
Moreover, the ad should NOT:
- create the sense of urgency, scarcity or cause panic
- be pointing out sensitive groups (e.g. elderly people).
When the first wave of COVID19-related ads hit us, we realized that our regular advertising policy was elaborate enough to filter out potentially harmful ads.
But to help you navigate the minefield of new offers popping up as the virus continues its destructive march over the world, we’ve prepared the examples of certain products that won’t pass our moderation.
So, here is what you can’t advertise on our platform:
- COVID19 prevention procedures/products
- Medical institutions providing COVID19-related procedures
- Medicine, supplements, and vaccines against COVID-19
- False information/unproven facts about COVID-19
Checking local legislation is your responsibility
Apart from being morally dubious, such ads can draw the attention of local authorities. Since the rise of the epidemic, each country has been introducing new measures to prevent the spread of misinformation in the society. For example, on April 1st the Russian government introduced an “anti-virus” package of laws, which includes a criminal charge and a jail sentence of up to 5 years for spreading fake news and any other unproven information about the coronavirus.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to research the current legislation in your target GEOs and make sure that your ad doesn’t violate it. So, unless you’re willing to risk it and possibly deal with the authorities, we recommend that you stay on the Light side of good old iPhone sweepstakes.
Stay home — and keep advertising!
Coronavirus has changed and keeps changing the world. As governments all over the world are taking new measures to stop the pandemic, it’s hard to predict what effect they will have on the online businesses. So far, affiliate marketing has been doing just fine, but we’re always on the lookout for what comes next.
So, for now, stay home and keep making money while other businesses are struggling to make the ends meet.
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