We’re fixing an issue impacting Quality Score reporting in AdWords

If you read Quality Score metrics programmatically from the AdWords API, please be aware that the values reported by the API, starting from around 11am PT on March 26, 2015, may have been artificially low. Correct values are currently being restored, and should be fully stabilized within 24 hours.

This issue is limited to Quality Score reporting only. Auction time signals of quality, which are the signals actually used within the auction for computing Ad Rank and serving ads, are unaffected.

- Adam Ohren, AdWords API Team

IMA Android SDK Beta 10 released

Today we're releasing Beta 10 of the IMA Android SDK. This is primarily a service release to address performance and bug fixes, but the release also includes some API changes to be aware of.

Changes in Beta 10

  • Added ImaSdkSettings.getMaxRedirects and ImaSdkSettings.setMaxRedirects.
  • IMA API classes are now final.
  • The following AdError.AdErrorCode values have been removed:
    • API_ERROR - instead use UNKNOWN_AD_RESPONSE.
    • PLAYLIST_MALFORMED_RESPONSE - instead use UNKNOWN_AD_RESPONSE.
    • REQUIRED_LISTENERS_NOT_ADDED - was not being raised by the SDK.
    • VAST_INVALID_URL - instead use VAST_LOAD_TIMEOUT.
  • Bug fixes.

Download IMA Android SDK Beta 10

You can get this latest release of the IMA Android SDK from our IMA SDK downloads page.

Check out the release notes page to stay up to date on IMA Android SDK releases.

Other questions?

As always, feel free to drop us a line on the IMA SDK forum and follow our Google+ page for other announcements and updates.

Improving targeting options in AdWords Express

Promoting your business is about getting in front of customers in the moments that matter to them—you design your ad so you can show up to the right people, at the right time, and on the right devices. If you use AdWords Express, you simply write your ad, tell us what kind of business you want to promote, and Google does the rest.

But a frequent request we hear from some AdWords Express advertisers is for a way to narrow down the search phrases that cause their ad to show. That’s why today we’re introducing the ability to remove search phrases that may not be the best fit for your business (and add them back if you need to).

This change should provide more freedom to create ads that reach the kind of customers looking for the products and services you want to promote. For example, if you run a bakery and only want to advertise your award winning cakes, you can now remove search phrases about cupcakes or bread.

Today, we’re rolling out this feature to AdWords Express advertisers based in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Click the pencil icon inside the “Search phrases” card and uncheck the phrases you want to remove

Log in to AdWords Express to review the search phrases for your business. We look forward to hearing your feedback and making this feature available in more countries soon.

New features in AdWords Scripts

We are excited to announce two new features for AdWords scripts:

AdWords API v201502 reports

AdWords scripts now support AdWords API v201502 reports. The new version introduces two new reports: USER_AD_DISTANCE_PERFORMANCE_REPORT and LABEL_REPORT. We also introduced several new columns, renamed some columns to make them consistent with the AdWords UI, and removed some duplicate columns. See the AdWords API release notes for more details.

If you use API versioning in your reports, you’ll need to modify your code to use v201502 as shown:

var report = AdWordsApp.report(query, {
apiVersion: 'v201502'
});
If you don’t use API versioning, your scripts will now default to v201502 reports. If your scripts access one of the removed or renamed columns, you may need to fix that column name in your scripts.

JDBC

JDBC allows your scripts to connect to external databases through the JDBC service, a wrapper around the standard Java Database Connectivity technology. In Apps Script, the JDBC service supports Google Cloud SQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle databases. See our guide for more details.

If you have any questions about these features or AdWords scripts in general, you can post them on our developer forum.

Game Performance: Layout Qualifiers

Today, we want to share some best practices on using the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) that can optimize the performance of your game and simplify your workflow. Specifically, Layout qualifiers make your code more deterministic and increase performance by reducing your work.

Let’s start with a simple vertex shader and change it as we go along.

This basic vertex shader takes position and texture coordinates, transforms the position and outputs the data to the fragment shader:
attribute vec4 vertexPosition;
attribute vec2 vertexUV;

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

varying vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
  outTexCoord = vertexUV;
  gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}

Vertex Attribute Index

To draw a mesh on to the screen, you need to create a vertex buffer and fill it with vertex data, including positions and texture coordinates for this example.

In our sample shader, the vertex data may be laid out like this:
struct Vertex
{
  Vector4 Position;
  Vector2 TexCoords;
};
Therefore, we defined our vertex shader attributes like this:
attribute vec4 vertexPosition;
attribute vec2  vertexUV;
To associate the vertex data with the shader attributes, a call to glGetAttribLocation will get the handle of the named attribute. The attribute format is then detailed with a call to glVertexAttribPointer.
GLint handleVertexPos = glGetAttribLocation( myShaderProgram, "vertexPosition" );
glVertexAttribPointer( handleVertexPos, 4, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );

GLint handleVertexUV = glGetAttribLocation( myShaderProgram, "vertexUV" );
glVertexAttribPointer( handleVertexUV, 2, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
But you may have multiple shaders with the vertexPosition attribute and calling glGetAttribLocation for every shader is a waste of performance which increases the loading time of your game.

Using layout qualifiers you can change your vertex shader attributes declaration like this:
layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;
To do so you also need to tell the shader compiler that your shader is aimed at GL ES version 3.1. This is done by adding a version declaration:
#version 300 es
Let’s see how this affects our shader, changes are marked in bold:
#version 300 es

layout(location = 0) in vec4 vertexPosition;
layout(location = 1) in vec2 vertexUV;

uniform mat4 matWorldViewProjection;

out vec2 outTexCoord;

void main()
{
  outTexCoord = vertexUV;
  gl_Position = matWorldViewProjection * vertexPosition;
}
Note that we also changed outTexCoord from varying to out. The varying keyword is deprecated from version 300 es and requires changing for the shader to work.

Note that Vertex Attribute qualifiers and #version 300 es are supported from OpenGL ES 3.0. The desktop equivalent is supported on OpenGL 3.3 and using #version 330.

Now you know your position attributes always at 0 and your texture coordinates will be at 1 and you can now bind your shader format without using glGetAttribLocation:
const int ATTRIB_POS = 0;
const int ATTRIB_UV   = 1;

glVertexAttribPointer( ATTRIB_POS, 4, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
glVertexAttribPointer( ATTRIB_UV, 2, GL_FLOAT, GL_FALSE, 0, 0 );
This simple change leads to a cleaner pipeline, simpler code and saved performance during loading time.

To learn more about performance on Android, check out the Android Performance Patterns series.

Posted by Shanee Nishry, Games Developer Advocate

Solutions Guide for Implementing Google Analytics via Google Tag Manager

Marketers, developers, and practitioners of analytics depend on having the right data at the right time - but implementing analytics code or AdWords pixels can be a less than fun (or easy) experience. Google Tag Manager makes tagging simple and fast by letting you add tags with a simple UI instead of code, while also offering advanced tracking features used by some of the web’s top sites.

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the Solutions Guide section on the Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager Help Centers. The Solutions Guide area is focused on providing actionable, hands on, step-by-step instructions for implementing Google Analytics, AdWords, DoubleClick, and other third party tags via Google Tag Manager. 

In this guide, you’ll learn:
  • When and why to use Google Tag Manager
  • Best practices for naming conventions and setup tips
  • When to choose the Data Layer or the Tag Manager UI
  • How to implement GA event tracking, custom dimensions & cross-domain tracking
  • How to setup AdWords, Doubleclick, and Dynamic Remarketing tags in GTM
We’re thrilled to share this with you and hope you find it helpful as you implement Google Tag Manager.

Check out the new GTM Solutions Guide today!

Happy Tagging.

Posted by Krista Seiden, Analytics Advocate

Happy 3rd Birthday, Campus London!

When we opened Campus London in 2012, right in the heart of Tech City, we wanted to offer founders and startups a support network, education, mentoring and more. And most of all, we wanted to provide a physical space so that the startup community could gather, work together and grow.

So we’re delighted that in just three short years, 41,000 people have joined our community, from old hands to first timers, investors to founders, designers to developers and doers. As the London startup scene accelerates in pace, so does the community; in 2014 alone, startups within the Campus London network created over 1,200 jobs and raised over £41 million in capital, doubling the growth from 2013 and demonstrating strong ecosystem health.
Campus London’s meeting spaces have had a clear impact too. For example, Give Me Tap, a recent Y Combinator graduate, was conceived in the Campus Cafe because founder Edwin was trying to drink enough water to hone his stomach into a rippling six-pack. Coffee Labs, a connection platform built around coffee, aims to help others have the same kind of serendipitous encounters that its founders were having inside Campus. And Code Club has now outgrown the Campus cafe and become a nationwide network that’s inspiring thousands of kids to create through code.

The Campus Community is increasingly diverse and inclusive - in London it now includes 29% women - that’s a 9% increase in just one year. There’s more to be done but, with Women @ Campus providing networking and inspirational talks, and 110 graduates of baby-friendly startup school Campus for Mums, we hope to inspire even more women to become entrepreneurs.
Our education programmes, including mentoring from Google staff, are a key part of the Campus offering. In 2014, we provided over 1,100 hours of mentoring; enabling our startups to get one-to-one advice on anything from marketing to software development, and training on Google products like Analytics.

Campus London is part of a growing global network of startup communities. Campus Tel Aviv launched in 2012, and in coming months, we’re launching four more, with Campus Seoul opening in a few weeks and Madrid, Sao Paulo and Warsaw coming later this year.

The opportunities for startups in our network are not limited to Campus buildings. As part of our wider Google for Entrepreneurs network, founders and entrepreneurs are able to tap into a broad range of programs and networks. Our Campus Exchange program brings together six startups from around the world for an intensive week of mentoring and networking.

As we launch new Campus sites, we want to connect the dots and empower founders in these locations to inspire each other and grow - locally, and globally.

Here’s to year four!

Stunning new Street View imagery gives tourism boost to Greece

Just in time for spring vacation planning, Street View imagery of Greece has arrived in Google Maps. Starting today, travelers can get an immersive look at the Greek landscape, unveiling some of the country’s major cities, tourist destinations, cultural and historic sites, and natural landscapes. Collected with the the Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top, this imagery allows potential tourists to virtually walk through the mountainous and winding pathways of Greece, enticing them to visit in person.

This imagery update is part of Google’s commitment to help the Greek tourism sector grow, bringing more local content online as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative, which provides Greek tourism entrepreneurs free trainings and online tools to grow their business throughout the year.

To get a glimpse of some of the country’s highlights, travelers can begin their Greek journey at Meteora, which literally translates to “middle of the sky.” This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos.

Then tourists can enjoy the view of Athens from Lycabettus hill. According to Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena dropped this mountain in surprise after hearing bad news from a raven. No matter its origin, the vistas are a beautiful place to enjoy the warm, Greek sun above and the urban landscape below.

Next, travelers can cruise to a lagoon called Balos off the coast of Crete. This islet forms part of a cape through the lagoon called Cap Tigani (which means "frying pan" in Greek).

Continuing their exploration of Crete, tourists can also traverse the Samaria Gorge, a National Park and a World's Biosphere Reserve, with a length of 18 km.

This is just a sample of all the wonderful views available now in Street View in Google Maps. To explore more of the collection, view this Greek gallery.

And businesses can also benefit from Street View technology by embedding Google Maps directly into their website for free, helping to promote these locations -- whether it’s a hotel chain, tourist destinations or a local library, museum or restaurant.

Feature parity for multi-domain Google Apps instances

Complex businesses can require multiple Google Apps domain instances to meet their needs. Previously, certain domain management functionality was restricted to primary domains only, making managing multiple domains a bit cumbersome. With today’s launch, we’re extending several key features to secondary domains to make managing multiple domain instances more seamless:

  • Custom app URLs―make it easy for people in any of your domains to find your core Google Apps services by creating custom web addresses to each service. For example, mail.primarydomain.com or mail.secondarydomain.com.
  • Web address mapping―have your Google Sites appear under custom URLs for all of your domains, such as hr.yourdomain.com, hr.yourdomain.in or hr.yourdomain.fr.
  • Group renaming―create a Google Group in a primary domain and move it to a secondary domain. For example, rename the group users@yourdomain.in to users@yourdomain.fr

Check out the Help Center links below for more information.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Custom app urls
Web address mapping
Group renaming


Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
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Measuring the Impact of YouTube Ads on Brand Metrics

For online video platforms like YouTube, engagement metrics (such as views, likes, shares, comments, and watch time) provide a basic barometer to how an audience responds to videos. While these metrics are important to inform strategies and creative direction, when it comes to measuring effectiveness views and shares are often a proxy for brand metrics such as awareness, perception, and audience interest.

In the past, gaining insight into brand metrics has been tricky. While you could get instant feedback in the form of clicks and views, it was difficult to measure brand impact without expensive, time-consuming testing, and sometimes those results wouldn’t come in until the campaign was over. When it comes to YouTube ads, that’s no longer the case: our Brand Lift solution allows you to gather brand metrics about YouTube ads in a matter of days. Advertisers across a variety of verticals have used the tool to test and optimize their online video content.

To understand how our Google Preferred offering performed for advertisers, we conducted several different meta-analyses using Brand Lift data. After analyzing around 50 campaigns from Fortune 100 brands and category leaders running on Google Preferred (some of YouTube’s most popular channels), we found that 94% of the campaigns drove a significant lift—an average of 80%—in ad recall. We also found that 65% of Google Preferred ads saw an increase in brand awareness, with an average lift of 17%. This is particularly impressive considering that the brands in the study were already well-known.

We also measured YouTube’s impact on what we call “brand interest,” or interest in a brand as measured by an increase in organic searches for it on Google. Looking at more than 800 Brand Lift studies, we found that 65% of YouTube TrueView campaigns drove a significant lift in brand interest, with an average lift of 13%. These numbers tell a compelling story. YouTube advertising is about more than lean-back impressions; after YouTube viewers see ads they love, they lean in and search for those brands and products.

Content may be king, but brand metrics play an integral role in everything from planning quarterly media spend to creative direction. With tools like Brand Lift, brands can now have access to brand metrics that matter in near real-time. See how brands are using Brand Lift to move the needle, and get tips on how to drive impact with Brand Lift on YouTube in our YouTube Insights report for March.