Google steps up targeted ad data to comply with new EU rules

Google plans to share more insights into how targeted ads are served to users in the European Union.

The search engine is going to provide access to additional data and also roll out a new transparency center in a bid to comply with evolving EU online content rules.

Under the new regulations that roll out on Friday, known as the Digital Services Act (DSA), more onus is being put on large platforms that have more than 45 million regional users, such as Google and Meta.

Platforms that don’t adhere to the rules and violate EU regulations could face significant financial penalties of up to 6% of their worldwide annual turnover.

Why we care. Improved insights into targeted ad performance enables advertisers to optimise campaigns more efficiently, leading to an increased ROI, and also provides reassurance that campaigns are being served in brand-safe environments, boosting trust and potential ad spend as a result.

What’s new? Google is taking the following actions to ensure its programs are in line with the DSA’s specific requirements:

  • Increased ads transparency: The search engine is expanding its Ads Transparency Center to provide additional information on targeted ads served in the European Union.
  • Improved data access: Google is expanding data access for marketers to provide more insight into how Google Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play and Shopping operate.
  • Policy transparency: The search engine is introducing a new Transparency Center to provide information on its policies on a product-by-product basis. This tool will also enable people to easily access:
    • Google reporting
    • Google appeals tools
    • Transparency Reports
    • Policy development process information
  • Increased transparency reporting: Google is set to expand the scope of its transparency reports in the coming months, by including information about how it handles content moderation across services like Google Search, Google Play, Google Maps and Shopping.
  • Risk analysis reports: Google will analyze risks to its platforms (such as illegal content and dissemination) and then file reports of its findings to regulators in the EU, and independent auditors, before going on to publish a public summary.

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What has Google said? A spokesperson for Google said:

  • “We will be expanding the Ads Transparency Center, a global searchable repository of advertisers across all our platforms, to meet specific DSA provisions and providing additional information on targeting for ads served in the European Union. These steps build on our many years of work to expand the transparency of online ads.”
  • “As with any new regulation, this is only the beginning of the road. We will continue our conversations with the European Commission, Coimisiún na Meán (Ireland’s media commission) and other regulators, as well as with technical, policy and online safety experts. And in line with Google’s founding goal of using technology to benefit the lives of people around the world, we will continue working to make the internet more transparent and helpful for all of us.”

Deep dive. Read Google’s Digital Services Act announcement in full for further information.

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About the author

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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