Advertisements for cryptocurrencies, exchanges, wallets, and related services are often regulated as financial promotions and platforms like Google Ads have specific measures in place to ensure compliance with the rules.
The latest update to Google’s crypto advertising policy classifies a new type of restricted financial product, “cryptocurrency coin trusts”. From January 29, when the new rules come into force, certified advertisers will be able to promote Bitcoin Exchange Traded funds (ETFs), helping expand the cryptocurrency’s horizons across the internet.
In the world of online marketing, it’s almost impossible to bypass Google Ads, which one survey found was used by 99% of all websites. Given the platform’s extensive reach, placing ETF ads via Google could help promote them to a massive audience of potential investors.
Once advertisers start to promote Bitcoin ETFs, it could expose BTC to a new audience, away from the established base of crypto investors.
Commenting on one of Blackrock’s first Bitcoin ETF advertisements, analyst Erich Balchanus remarked: “This is how you market to rich boomers.” In a departure from the style of many crypto ads in the past, the video is understated and grown up. And while it might not appeal to crypto bros or diehard Bitcoiners, they clearly aren’t the target.
By nature, investing in regulated securities markets is a slower, more considered process, with investment advisors and other intermediaries often purchasing shares on behalf of wealthier, more mature clients. Of course, the websites they frequent will be different, as will the aesthetics that appeal to them. Nonetheless, Balchanus’ characterization of BlackRock’s ETF investor profile extends to Google Ads too.
In the US and elsewhere, financial services advertisements are subject to specific rules designed to prevent the misrepresentation of what’s on offer. For example, advisors are prohibited from cherry-picking information to present investments in a better light.
When it comes to crypto advertising, the notion of risk disclosure is especially important. As regulators around the world increasingly include crypto within the scope of financial promotion rules, statements explaining the risks involved have become a common feature of many adverts.
In the latest update to its crypto promotions policy, Google said advertisers must comply with the local laws for any area that their ads target. Ads found to violate local regulations could lead to account suspension, the company stressed.