YouTube launches a free, DIY tool for businesses in need of short videos ads.

Last week, YouTube launched a new tool aimed at small businesses that need a simple, low-cost way to create videos, but may not have the creative experience or technical know-how required to do so. The YouTube Video Builder has been in testing with a small group of customers for months but has been rushed to launch more publicly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, where in-person video shoots are no longer an option, and many small businesses are strapped for cash.

The tool can help businesses of all sizes who need quick videos, especially now, when they need to update their messaging to customers quickly and easily.

To gain access to the tool, the business will need only a Google Account that can be used to log into Google’s services, like Gmail and YouTube. And to save and publish the video, the business will need its own YouTube channel.

Using the tool is fairly straightforward. It can animate a business’s static assets — including images, text, and photos — which can be set to music from YouTube’s free audio library. Users can also select from a variety of layouts based on their messages and goals, and then customize their colors and fonts quickly to generate either a six-second or 15-second video.

When finished, the video can be uploaded to the business’s YouTube Channel. The video can then be used wherever the business sees fit, including embedded on other websites or shared elsewhere on social media. And if the business chooses, they can run the videos as ads through Google Ads.

The YouTube Video Builder is still in beta, but you can sign up and request access to it today.


Google to require all advertisers to pass an identity verification process

Google will soon require all advertisers to verify their identity, the company said this week.

It’s making the change to prevent advertisers from misrepresenting themselves and so that consumers can see who’s running ads and which country they’re located in.

Consumers have seen an increase in ads for products from suspicious advertisers, like fake vaccines and fake businesses.

Existing advertisers will have 30 days to complete the verification process. If they don’t submit the documents by then, Google said it will suspend the account and the advertiser’s ability to serve ads until they provide it.

The company said consumers will start seeing disclosures that list this information on the advertiser when they click “Why this ad?” on placements beginning this summer. Google will begin by verifying advertisers in the U.S. and will expand globally, expecting that the process will take a few years to complete.

This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.

Once the documents are submitted, advertisers have to commit an “in-account identity check” to confirm they’re legitimate. Organizations are required to submit personal legal information (like a W9 or IRS document showing the organization’s name, address, and employer identification number).

An individual from the organization also needs to provide legal identification on the organization’s behalf. Individuals have to show a government-issued photo ID like a passport or ID card. Google said it previously had collected basic information about the advertiser but didn’t require documentation to verify.

Google will give feedback or provide approval within three to five business days, using a combination of human and tech reviews. Documents are approved by humans, a spokeswoman said.

All advertisers on its platforms will be required to complete the process. Advertising agencies will need to complete verification on behalf of each of their advertiser clients, a spokeswoman said.

This will be part of a phased rollout starting this summer.