Google has started to roll out updates to their category exclusions for campaigns on the Google Display Network (GDN).

As part of their response to advertisers pulling their ads from Google owned YouTube due to their ads appearing next to extremist or controversial content, Google wants to make it easier for us to protect brand safety.

So what exactly has changed?

Google is simplifying the site category exclusions part of a campaign setup. They have rolled together some similar categories, added new ones and removing unnecessary categories.

Here are the five primary changes:

  • A new category “Sensitive social issues” has been added. This includes content “related to discrimination and identity relations, scandals and investigations, reproductive rights, firearms and weapons and more.”
  • Another new category has been added called  “Content suitable for families.” Note that if you exclude “General audiences (DL-G),” that will also exclude content suitable for families.
  • Google is combining the “Crime, police, and emergency,” “ Military and international conflict” and “Death and tragedy” categories into one “Tragedy and conflict” exclusion category.
  • Google has removed the gambling and error pages categories. This is because Google already restricts ads on those types of content.
  • They have also removed the Forums, Social networks, Photo-sharing pages, and Video-sharing pages options. Instead, Google are recommending that we use “Digital content labels” such as Mature audiences and Content not yet labeled, and other “Sensitive content” exclusions to restrict ads from showing on various types of user-generated and social content.

So when is all of this happening? Google began showing the updated site category options (now called Content options) last week. All users should see the options very soon for new campaign setups.

For already existing campaigns, Google will be switching everyone over to the new categories by early 2018.

These are all steps in the right direction and hopefully, will go part way to alleviating advertiser concerns.