Last week, Finance Magnates broke a story about Google moving to ban advertising on cryptocurrencies, with unofficial actions seeming to already be in place. This week however, Google has been more formal, officially clarifying this advertising stance related to cryptocurrencies, while providing a timetable for the ban that will come in June 2018.
The move does not come as a big surprise, given mounting pressure from Canada and the US to ban ICO advertising. As I eluded to last week, should Google bow to the pressure, it is likely that they will ban this sort of funding across the board and include all trading, wallets, and exchanges.
The unexpected part of the announcement were the restrictions for forex that were thrown in for good measure. In brief the following will be totally banned:
- Cryptocurrencies – blanket ban on ICOs, wallets, exchanges, trading, and trading advice
- Binary Options – blanket ban that comes as no real surprise
- Affiliate sites advertising for practically all forex related activities – CFDs, spread betting and what they term as “rolling spot forex” – although it falls short explicitly mentioning forex trading advice as it does with Crypto (we will need to see what happens in June)
What this means for brokers
Brokers will be able to advertise forex, but they will need to be pre-approved by Google first. In practical terms this will mean that brokers will need to present a valid license from a recognized regulator and will be restricted to advertising in countries where that license applies and is accepted.
Although this may seem tough, it is still much more lax than online gaming restrictions. It will be interesting to see how far Facebook goes in following suit.
The question is not just what the new restrictions are but what will it mean for brokers? As a side note, it would seem that Google and international banks are far more effective in combating unregulated or offshore regulated brokers than the actual regulators.
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The obvious issue is going to be direct customer acquisition. It is not just brokers but their affiliates too. FX Brokers should contact their Google Account Managers already and make sure they get approvals from now – June is right around the corner.
The good news is that they should be able to pick up AdWords traffic in higher quantities and less cost as affiliates who rely on advertising will have their campaigns closed down. If there was ever a time for a broker to start advertising on Google and have not yet started, now is a good time to start. It generally takes two to three months to optimize campaigns, so the timing is right for that too.
Looking for alternatives
It is also time for both forex brokers and anyone in the crypto sphere to look at alternatives outside AdWords and start ramping up activities from now. This can be attacked from many fronts. For advertising the options would appear to be more traditional media buying (although banner advertising has limitations for effect), native marketing (although Outbrain has already stopped financial trading advertising since last year) and offline marketing.
Within Google, search is still open. Healthy ranking on SERPs takes time and needs to be built well in order to be stable. It requires good content onsite, social media, good site performance (especially on mobile), optimized site structure and good authority (or organic and real links back to your site).
Good rankings generally take at least six to eight months to achieve (so if you start in March, you are looking at the end of the year) but SEO traffic converts best with the least cost). Many affiliates have a head start on SEO traffic already.
My personal advice is firstly to breathe so you plan logically. Think about building a strategy that is based on immediate-term, medium-term and long-term. If you have not yet mapped your affiliates, start there.
Affiliates generally work from either databases, SEO traffic or PPC traffic. The PPC affiliates will be able to send traffic until June. The other can continue and help bridge the gap until you get your own PPC and SEO campaigns running and optimized. If you leave questions in the comments below the article I will do my best to answer. In the meantime, good luck!