Google has updated its definitions of top ads, which are those that appear either above or below organic search results for certain queries.

For advertisers, Google maintains that the update won’t impact calculation of performance metrics, meaning no firm adjustment to how search ads are placed.

A Google spokesperson told PMW: “We updated our definition of top ads in our Help Center to better reflect how ads can appear in Google Search today. This is a definitional change that doesn’t affect how performance metrics are calculated.”

As ad placements continually evolve on search, Google has further said it remains “dedicated to connecting advertisers with users interested in their products and services”.

The update to top ads’ definition closely preceded Google’s launch of its annual Ads Safety Report, an internal review of how the search giant has been investing in ensuring that the ads on its platforms are safe and trustworthy.

Across the topline for 2023’s report, Google said it blocked or removed over 5.5 billion ads for violating its policies, suspended more than 12.7 million advertiser accounts for egregious policy violations – nearly double the amount suspended in 2022 – removed ads from over 2.1 billion pages and added or updated 31 policies for both advertisers and publishers.

Generative AI bolsters enforcement

Duncan Lennox, VP and GM of Ads Privacy and Safety at Google, said in a blogpost: “The key trend in 2023 was the impact of generative AI. This new technology introduced significant and exciting changes to the digital advertising industry, from performance optimization to image editing. Of course, generative AI also presents new challenges. We take these challenges seriously and will outline the work we are doing to address them head-on.

“Just as importantly, generative AI presents a unique opportunity to improve our enforcement efforts significantly. Our teams are embracing this transformative technology, specifically Large Language Models (LLMs), so that we can better keep people safe online.”

Looking ahead, Google will need to remain nimble when it comes to ensuring ad safety for publishers and advertisers, particularly with the ongoing rise of Made For Advertising (MFA) websites.

This story first appeared on Performance Marketing World.