Where There's a Will, There's a Way
Can you or can't you? It seems to be the question crypto advertisers ask themselves these days. In an environment where bannings, regulations, and restrictions are starting and then starting crypto advertising, many advertisers feel like they are getting whip-lash with their advertising strategies.
However, where there is a will - there's a way - and crypto advertising still lives within the digital space - albeit in more creative locations.
If you are a crypto business and want to promote your business, there are still ways to run ads and promote your business.
Even with all of the regulation and red tape - you can still run advertisements through Google, Facebook, and YouTube - you just need to think creatively and know what to advertise and what not to advertise.
Cryptocurrency Advertising Regulation
The quick rise of legitimate crypto businesses has created a darker side of the crypto coin and fostered a web of get-rich-quick schemes and scams. When these scams came to light, and regulatory agencies caught wind of consumers losing more than eighty million dollars on cryptocurrency investment scams between October 2020 - March 2021, they took notice.
These regulators began to guard the financial markets against making sure they are safe from fraud and manipulation. Unfortunately, the challenge to regulate crypto has been fraught with more setbacks than wins.
It would be an understatement to say that the regulations around cryptocurrency and its use are documented, systematic, and easy to follow. As it stands, the S.E.C. has yet to set clear rules on cryptocurrencies, and they are struggling to regulate the currency. This lack of clear direction has created a trickle down effect on digital businesses owners.
Owners are concerned about the lack of crypto purchase protections, lack of education, or the scammers and sketchy startups using this currency to trick consumers out of their money.
With the lack of understanding around crypto, businesses began to place restrictions and regulations all across the digital space.
The problem here is that legitimate crypto businesses have a challenging time advertising and promoting their business in the wake of the regulations and restrictions.
Can you Run Ads for Crypto?
Over the last ten years, the cryptocurrency market has grown from a small project to a massive and largely unregulated industry. With regulators looking for guidance on what makes sense regarding regulation, companies have started to loosen up the strict ad regulations they imposed in the past.
Google Ads Crypto Policy
In 2018, Google updated its ad policy to ban all ads about cryptocurrency-related content, including wallets, initial coin offerings (I.C.O.s), and trading advice across any of its ad platforms.
This initial banning policy directly resulted from the "questionable" nature of the products being advertised.
Google's Director of Sustainable Ads, Scott Spencer, mentioned cryptocurrency advertisements as another example of "new threats" to the Google user experience, and the company rallied behind the ban. The main focus was on scams and misinformation, and Google wanted to stop the spread.
Flash forward to August 2021, where Google has since drastically revised its policies to run crypto ads. Although running a crypto ad with Google has specific caveats attached, such as meeting the following specific requirements and is certified by Google.
These requirements include:
- Be duly registered with
(a) FinCEN as a Money Services Business and with at least one state as a money transmitter; or
(b) a federal or state-chartered bank entity.
- Comply with relevant legal requirements, including any local legal requirements, whether at a state or federal level.
- Ensure their ads and landing pages comply with all Google Ads policies.
If you are a crypto advertiser and meet these requirements, you can advertise exchanges and wallets. However, Ads for initial coin offerings, Defi trading protocols, or promoting the purchase, sale, or trade of cryptocurrencies or related products are still not permitted.
YouTube Ads Crypto Policy
The updated crypto regulation changes to Google also affect how you can advertise crypto on YouTube. Google will let wallets run ads through YouTube and other properties as long as they comply and go through the company's certification process.
This also means that while you can run crypto ads, you must comply with what you cannot advertise, including broker reviews, cryptocurrency trading signals, investment advice, or affiliate sites containing related content.
Facebook Ads Crypto Policy
Facebook was the first media giant to first ban crypto back in 2018. Their policy prohibited ads that promoted financial products and services associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, and cryptocurrency.
However, like those that Google enacted, these regulations have been rolled back, and Facebook has started to let advertisers run crypto ad campaigns on the platform. Facebook's crypto advertising policy states the following:
"Advertisers planning to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency mining software and hardware, and cryptocurrency investment advice must first receive confirmation for eligibility."
TikTok Ads Crypto Policy
Taking a different position in 2021, TikTok recently prohibited influencers from promoting cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency-related financial services.
As of June 2021, TikTok updated its policy to remove cryptocurrency within its acceptable topics. This move was very similar to why Google initially banned crypto, which was to end the increasing rate of crypto-related scams and schemes promoted on the social network.
How to Advertise Crypto
Time to start thinking seriously about how to generate excitement around your crypto offering. Reaching new users is tricky because the crypto industry faces shifting regulations and the unique challenge in educating the masses.
Ready to aim for the moon? Read Colormatics’ Ultimate Guide to Cryptocurrency Advertising in 2022.