Bing has reportedly blocked millions of cryptocurrency ads in 2018 alone in a lingering element of the year’s great crypto ban.
According to a post by the Microsoft-owned search engine reviewing its year in advertising, the platform has prevented cryptocurrency-related advertisements from appearing to the tune of 5 million during 2018 alone. Bing viewed the relative lack of regulation and pseudonymous transactions as reasons to ban the advertising from the platform:
“Cryptocurrency as an asset class saw a bull run in 2018, increasing valuations multi-fold. The high returns and volatility of cryptocurrencies invited a lot of interest from retail investors and speculators looking to make a quick return. There wasn’t much regulatory oversight, and the overall pseudo-anonymity built into currencies like bitcoin made cryptocurrency a prime target for fraudsters and scam artists to defraud end-users. Bing Ads therefore decided to ban cryptocurrency content from our advertising platform and blocked more than 5 million ads containing cryptocurrency content.”
Cryptocurrency ads remain banned on the platform. Other key areas of focus were disallowing advertisements for weapons and tech support scams.
Cryptocurrency’s rough time with advertisements in the past
Cryptocurrency projects has dealt with difficult times in the past with advertising platforms. In early 2018, Facebook banned all cryptocurrency-related advertising content. In June, Google followed suit by rolling out a series of advertising guidelines, specifying that advertisements related to ICOs, cryptocurrency wallets, exchanges, trading advice, and more (though not limited to these categories) would be excluded from the platform. The combination of Google and Facebook, two of the largest online advertising platforms, significantly hampered the efforts for cryptocurrency projects to gain visibility through advertising.
Since then, both platforms partially reversed those bans with updated terms. Certain regulated exchanges were allowed to advertise on the platforms, though only through prior explicit approval. ICO advertisements are still banned from both platforms however, as well as most cryptocurrency content, especially without pre-approval.
Advertisement’s role in mass adoption
A large portion of cryptocurrency’s reach has been through earned media and grassroots activism, with Bitcoin building a strong brand and presence in the global psyche. Other projects, however, have struggled to reach the same levels of organic growth, and many have instead relied on advertising and other methods to gain exposure. In particular, mass adoption teams on the ground in Venezuela have employed advertisements in the past to gain public awareness, putting up physical billboards and other advertising in high-traffic areas, as well as radio and other advertising.