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Microsoft to Implement Advertiser Identity Verification August 1

Starting August 1, Microsoft will only allow ads from advertisers who have completed an Advertiser Identification Verification process.

To make advertising safer for advertisers, publishers and consumers, Microsoft will require that all advertisers be verified before the company will accept their ads. To be verified, an advertiser must prove their legal identity through government-issued, photograph-included personal identity, or business-related documents issued by corresponding regulatory authorities. Testing of the new system, called Advertiser Identification Verification (AIV), was first revealed in June 2022.

“This is one of our key investments to enhance digital advertising safety, which we hope to accomplish in partnership with our advertisers. We encourage all to complete this process to fight misleading ads and deter bad actors. We’ll continue to use our machine-learning algorithms and systems alongside the domain knowledge of our human experts to further enhance this program,” said Neha Garg and Sandeep Krishnan in a June 16, 2022 blog post.

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Advertiser Identity Verification timeline

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Microsoft shared the following timeline for the advertising verification requirement:

  • July 1: New advertisers must be verified before Microsoft will publish their ads. Established advertisers must complete their verification before August 1 to avoid interruption of their ads. Advertisers will be notified when it is time to complete the AIV process, and they will have 30 days to submit the requested information. Microsoft will complete the verification process in three to five business days.
  • July 15: Advertisers whose identities have not been verified should contact Microsoft Support to complete the AIV process.
  • August 1: Microsoft Advertising will only serve ads from verified advertisers.

Right now, individuals and businesses can only apply for verification for one account at a time. They can only be verified for their Microsoft Advertising accounts when the company contacts them to complete the AIV process. Businesses who fail verification may have their accounts paused. They can contact Support to appeal the decision.

Ad transparency

“We want our customers to have choice and control through transparency, so in addition to making our network safer, one of the primary goals of AIV is to increase visibility to those who interact with our ads,” said Sarah Ralston and Sandeep Krishnan in a June 6, 2023 blog post.

To further Microsoft’s transparency goal, ads will include the name and location of the advertisers, the business or the individual paying for the ad, and information about why the consumer is seeing the ad (e.g., targeting parameters).

As an added step, Microsoft Advertising will launch an Ad Library containing ads that have been served in the European Union. Consumers can search the library by the advertiser’s name or words in the ad creative. Advertiser details will be included in the directory.

On their Advertiser Identity Verification page, Microsoft also said that advertisers who target financial services in the UK may also need to complete the UK Financial Services Verification.

Advertiser Identification Verification process

The business verification process has 15 steps, but many of them are simple. The important steps are those where businesses are asked to submit their tax identification number, business documents and website documents, where applicable. The verification process for individuals is 11 steps and simpler. Individuals need to provide documents that verify their identity and provide a photo that matches their current appearance.

Insider Take

We don’t see any downsides to this program. It may require an individual or business to jump through a few extra hoops, but they are not excessive or complicated. Microsoft isn’t the first tech company to employ such Advertiser Identification Verification requirements though. Google Ads has been using a similar process for their unified advertiser verification program. Like Google’s other help screens, it seems like a more complex process, and it is not as easy to follow Google’s directions. We applaud any organization that tries to make the internet a safer place to be. There will always be bad actors, but we appreciate the effort to try to reduce the likelihood they will become part of the advertising ecosystem.

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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