In a bid to ensure transparency in the election advertising, search giant Google on Tuesday announced that it will introduce an India-specific Political Advertising Transparency Report and searchable Political Ads Library ahead of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha election. The report and library will provide comprehensive information about who are purchasing election ads on Google platforms and how much money is being spent. The report and ads library, which will go live in March 2019, will enable voters to get the election-related information they need.
Google has also updated election ads policy for India which will require advertisers that are running election ads in India to provide a ‘pre-certificate’ issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) or anyone authorized by the ECI, for each ad they wish to run. Further, Google will also verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms.
The advertiser verification process will begin on 14 February.
“In 2019, over 850 million Indians are expected to cast their vote to elect the country’s next government. We’re thinking hard about elections and how we continue to support democratic processes in India and around the world. In line with this, we are bringing more transparency to election advertising online, and surfacing relevant information to help people better navigate the electoral process," said Chetan Krishnaswamy, director - public policy, Google India.
Apart from details on the ads being run across its platforms, Google also said that it will make electoral information from the Election Commission of India and other authoritative sources easily discoverable on search.
Google runs ads across its video streaming platform YouTube, search pages as well as through programmes such as Ad sense and Ad words.
In India, digital advertising is growing at a fast pace. The current digital ad spends stand at ₹ 10,819 crore, contributing 17% to the total expenditure of the advertising industry. This is expected to touch ₹ 14,281 crore by 2019 growing at 31.9%, said the digital ad spend forecast report published by Dentsu Aegis Network. A majority of this spends are expected to come from election advertising this year.