Google – Ad Policy Enforcement

[Unfortunately I can’t show you any pictures of the work I did on this team. Please ask me if you would like to learn more.]

My first role at Google was with the ad policy enforcement team. Overseeing a worldwide team of 25 engineers (at max), we built the automation, tools, and reporting used by hundreds of people to review and classify ad content according to Google’s ad policies. Google’s advertising success depends on creating ads users trust and results advertisers believe, and our team was essential to that.

My day-to-day responsibilities were to set the team’s priorities, organize the engineers’ backlog, be the main point of contact for other teams (legal, operations, policy, and other ads teams), coordinate new ad format launches, implement policy changes, all while maintaining a consistent level of enforcement on the hundreds of millions of new ads that arrived every week. With so many internal and external stakeholders, prioritizing tasks for the engineers was always difficult. I often had to say "no" to many great ideas due to our limited bandwidth.

Some highlights of my time there include:

  • launching a new, more scalable pipeline for incoming ads including machine learning based detection
  • shipping ad policy enforcement for dozens of new ad formats and policy changes
  • taking ownership of Google’s trademark policy enforcement systems
  • managing an internal project to unify policy enforcement policies and classification across Google ad systems
  • established myself as the resident expert on Google ad policies and policy enforcement systems
  • as I left, starting development on new review tools and reporting systems which I designed

It was a rewarding but stressful job. Every day held something new — for example, a problem with the automated system or some policy issue that needed immediate addressing. I earned the respect of my peers by being cool under fire and always taking time to listen to their needs. Besides being recognized by my peers verbally and with awards, my favorite compliment came from a long time engineering director who called me “one of the best product managers I’ve ever worked with.” I’m proud of the work I did with this team, and I’m happy that I left them in a better place than when I started.

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