Category Archives: Inside AdWords

Google’s official blog for news, information and tips on AdWords

Privacy-first web advertising: a measurement update

In January, we shared how Google’s advertising teams have been evaluating the proposals in Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox, an open-source initiative to replace third-party cookies with viable privacy-first alternatives that can support the publishers and advertisers who help keep the web open and accessible.

Today, we’re going to explain how the latest proposals in the Privacy Sandbox can solve for key conversion measurement use cases on the web while preserving privacy – and we’ll also share a new resource to help you learn more about the overall initiative.

Conversion measurement

Chrome’s conversion measurement proposals center around an API that would have the capability to report both event-level and aggregated information. Event-level information is helpful when businesses need data to be more granular, such as deciding how much to bid on impressions or modeling conversions. Aggregated information is important for summarizing campaign performance, like reporting total conversion value or return on investment.

To make sure that the API preserves privacy, and that any data reported can’t be used to track individual people as they move across the web, the API uses one or more of the following techniques:

  • Aggregate the data that is reported so that each person’s browsing activity and identity remain anonymous among a large group of conversions.
  • Limit the amount of information reported about each conversion, so it’s not possible to expose the identity of the person behind the conversion.
  • Add "noise" to the data reported, which protects an individual’s privacy by including some random data along with the actual conversion results.

The Chrome team recently shared new proposals for how the API could apply these privacy considerations while reporting view-through conversions and cross-device conversions:

For view-through conversion measurement, Chrome proposes that advertisers use the event-level capability of the API to get a report on the conversions that happen on their website and are attributed to ad views across the web. The browser would enable this by registering the ad impressions that take place across websites and then matching any conversions that happen on an advertiser’s website back to the initial views. To prevent any conversion data from being used to track people individually, the Chrome API would limit the amount of information shared about each conversion and add noise to the data. 

Then, when advertisers are interested in reporting on the total number of view-through conversions, for a video ad campaign as an example, Chrome proposes that they can use the API’s aggregate reporting capability. This would allow advertisers to get more precise information on key metrics for the overall campaign without compromising people’s privacy. That’s because aggregate reporting keeps people’s identities and their browsing histories anonymous as it only shares data across a large group of conversions.

For cross-device conversion measurement, Chrome proposes that advertisers use the API’s event-level capability to report on the conversions that happen on their website and are attributed to ad views or clicks that happen on another device. This would only be possible if the people converting are signed into their browser across their devices. Access to this capability would enable cross-device measurement for all participating ad providers and networks.

The proposals in the Privacy Sandbox will change how measurement works for digital ads, but are designed to support key measurement use cases while protecting people’s privacy. We’re beginning to run simulations to understand how different use cases might be impacted by the privacy considerations made in Chrome’s various proposals and we look forward to sharing our findings in the near future.

Resources

We know that there are many questions about the Privacy Sandbox and that there is broad interest in learning more about each of the proposals. The Chrome team recently built a new website, privacysandbox.com, with an overview of this effort, FAQs, and links to additional resources. We’ll also continue to share regular updates about our work across Google’s ads teams to adopt the Privacy Sandbox technologies for our web advertising and measurement products.

Video experiments boost creative performance on YouTube

Experimentation should be a critical part of any successful marketing strategy. Relying on proven results is how leading marketers stay agile in dynamic markets, craft more effective campaigns at scale and identify the true impact of their efforts on business results. 

Knowing the outsized impact of creative on driving sales, we’re launching video experiments globally in Google Ads over the next several weeks. These experiments are easy to set up and quick to deliver results you can act on. So whether you’re looking to understand the impact of different video ads on Brand Lift, conversions or CPAs, you too can make more informed decisions that improve your results on YouTube.

Keep up with the pace of change

Given how rapidly our environment and consumer behaviors are evolving, it can be challenging for marketers to stay on top of how their brands can connect with consumers. But it shouldn’t be a challenge to get results and insights to help guide you. Running an experiment on YouTube means starting with a question or a hypothesis and, often in a matter of weeks or even days, understanding approaches that work and, equally importantly, ones that don’t. 

Take Decathlon, for example. The sporting goods retailer was interested in seeing if video creatives customized for key audience segments would be more effective than using a single standard creative. Thanks to video experiments, they were able to learn that the customized approach resonated much more with audiences and drove business impact: they saw 175% more incremental online conversions at a 64% lower cost-per-conversion and boosted return on ad spend (ROAS) by 51%. 

Improve creative and business results

In global studies we ran in 2019 and 2020, advertisers who successfully used video experiments to optimize for lower funnel performance on YouTube saw a 30% lower median cost-per-acquisition from the better performing creative. And those who used video experiments to optimize for upper funnel impact saw a 60% higher ad recall from the better performing creative. (Successful experiments were those with a significant difference in Brand Lift between experiment arms.)

A creative test entails showing two distinctly different video ads to the same audience. You may choose to experiment with different visual language elements like framing, pacing, brightness or text. That’s what India-based life insurance company Aegon Life did. By experimenting with different text overlays, they were able to drive 139% more conversions and 23% lower CPA. 

No matter what you decide to test, you’ll be on your way to consistently improving your video ads through data, not just gut feelings. The ultimate goal of experimenting is not only about boosting a single campaign’s performance, but also about knowing what works for your brand and audience on YouTube more broadly. That’s why insights from experiments are so essential to helping you make video ads that consistently drive better outcomes for your business. 

Here are three easy experiments, all of which borrow from our best practices for video ads, that can help you find your creative sweet spot on YouTube: 

  1. Supersize text. Does making text elements (including logos) bigger drive more brand awareness?

  2. Tighten framing. Does zooming in on important subjects, whether they’re people or products, drive higher consideration?

  3. Make it easy to buy. Does placing the call to action at the beginning of the video drive more conversions than placing it at the end?  

To learn how to set up a successful video experiment, visit the Help Center.

Discover the best products for everything on Google

When you shop for products — whether for your home, your family or yourself — you should feel confident knowing you’re making a good decision and buying the best product for your needs. Search interest for products like the "best exercise bikes," "best ring lights" and "best air fryers" increased by 100% or more in the last year,  signaling that these days, people are increasingly using the Internet to research and discover products to buy. 


Today we’re making it easier for you to discover top products with the Best Things for Everything Guide, a microsite that highlights 1,000 products based on what’s popular on the web, so you can easily find great choices.

The best products for...everything

For the next several weeks, you can browse the site and discover products, or choose from one of eight product categories, ranging from tech to home to parenting. Looking for a better way to start your morning? You can browse top coffee makers to help get your day started. Want a better way to unwind at night? We’ve highlighted the best pillows to give you a good night’s rest. Once you’ve found a product you like, just tap to find more information on the product description page, including prices, reviews and places to buy. 

An animation showing different products in the Best Things for Everything guide on a mobile phone

If you’re looking for something that isn’t on the site, Google has plenty of tools you can use. Find user reviews right on a Shopping product page, compare prices and check out product availability options both online and nearby: select the “available nearby” filter on the Google Search ‘Shopping’ tab to see local stores, in-stock information and curbside pickup options. 

An animation showing a price tracker set for an Instant Pot, showing up on a mobile phone home screen.

With the Best Things for Everything guide and Google, you can discover top products and the best places to buy them.

Our annual Ads Safety Report

At Google, we actively look for ways to ensure a safe user experience when making decisions about the ads people see and the content that can be monetized on our platforms. Developing policies in these areas and consistently enforcing them is one of the primary ways we keep people safe and preserve trust in the ads ecosystem. 

2021 marks one decade of releasing our annual Ads Safety Report, which highlights the work we do to prevent malicious use of our ads platforms. Providing visibility on the ways we’re preventing policy violations in the ads ecosystem has long been a priority — and this year we’re sharing more data than ever before. 

Our Ads Safety Report is just one way we provide transparency to people about how advertising works on our platforms. Last spring, we also introduced ouradvertiser identity verification program. We are currently verifying advertisers in more than 20 countries and have started to share the advertiser name and location in our About this ad feature, so that people know who is behind a specific ad and can make more informed decisions.

Enforcement at scale

In 2020, our policies and enforcement were put to the test as we collectively navigated a global pandemic, multiple elections around the world and the continued fight against bad actors looking for new ways to take advantage of people online. Thousands of Googlers worked around the clock to deliver a safe experience for users, creators, publishers and advertisers. We added or updated more than 40 policies for advertisers and publishers. We also blocked or removed approximately 3.1 billion ads for violating our policies and restricted an additional 6.4 billion ads. 

Our enforcement is not one-size-fits-all, and this is the first year we’re sharing information on ad restrictions, a core part of our overall strategy. Restricting ads allows us to tailor our approach based on geography, local laws and our certification programs, so that approved ads only show where appropriate, regulated and legal. For example, we require online pharmacies to complete a certification program, and once certified, we only show their ads in specific countries where the online sale of prescription drugs is allowed. Over the past several years, we’ve seen an increase in country-specific ad regulations, and restricting ads allows us to help advertisers follow these requirements regionally with minimal impact on their broader campaigns. 

We also continued to invest in our automated detection technology to effectively scan the web for publisher policy compliance at scale. Due to this investment, along with several new policies, we vastly increased our enforcement and removed ads from 1.3 billion publisher pages in 2020, up from 21 million in 2019. We also stopped ads from serving on over 1.6 million publisher sites with pervasive or egregious violations.

Remaining nimble when faced with new threats

As the number of COVID-19 cases rose around the world last January, we enforced our sensitive events policy to prevent behavior like price-gouging on in-demand products like hand sanitizer, masks and paper goods, or ads promoting false cures. As we learned more about the virus and health organizations issued new guidance, we evolved our enforcement strategy to start allowing medical providers, health organizations, local governments and trusted businesses to surface critical updates and authoritative content, while still preventing opportunistic abuse. Additionally, as claims and conspiracies about the coronavirus’s origin and spread were circulated online, we launched a new policy to prohibit both ads and monetized content about COVID-19 or other global health emergencies that contradict scientific consensus. 

In total, we blocked over 99 million Covid-related ads from serving throughout the year, including those for miracle cures, N95 masks due to supply shortages, and most recently, fake vaccine doses. We continue to be nimble, tracking bad actors’ behavior and learning from it. In doing so, we’re able to better prepare for future scams and claims that may arise. 

Fighting the newest forms of fraud and scams

Often when we experience a major event like the pandemic, bad actors look for ways to to take advantage of people online. We saw an uptick in opportunistic advertising and fraudulent behavior from actors looking to mislead users last year. Increasingly, we’ve seen them use cloaking to hide from our detection, promote non-existent virtual businesses or run ads for phone-based scams to either hide from detection or lure unsuspecting consumers off our platforms with an aim to defraud them.

In 2020 we tackled this adversarial behavior in a few key ways: 

  • Introduced multiple new policies and programs including our advertiser identity verification program and business operations verification program

  • Invested in technology to better detect coordinated adversarial behavior, allowing us to connect the dots across accounts and suspend multiple bad actors at once.

  • Improved our automated detection technology and human review processes based on network signals, previous account activity, behavior patterns and user feedback.

The number of ad accounts we disabled for policy violations increased by 70% from 1 million to over 1.7 million. We also blocked or removed over 867 million ads for attempting to evade our detection systems, including cloaking, and an additional 101 million ads for violating our misrepresentation policies. That’s a total of over 968 million ads.   

Protecting elections around the world 

When it comes to elections around the world, ads help voters access authoritative information about the candidates and voting processes. Over the past few years, we introduced strict policies and restrictions around who can run election-related advertising on our platform and the ways they can target ads; we launched comprehensive political ad libraries in the U.S., the U.K., the European Union, India, Israel, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand; and we worked diligently with our enforcement teams around the world to protect our platforms from abuse. Globally, we continue to expand our verification program and verified more than 5,400 additional election advertisers in 2020. In the U.S, as it became clear the outcome of the presidential election would not be determined immediately, we determined that the U.S election fell under our sensitive events policy, and enforced a U.S. political ads pause starting after the polls closed and continuing through early December. During that time, we temporarily paused more than five million ads and blocked ads on over three billion Search queries referencing the election, the candidates or its outcome. We made this decision to limit the potential for ads to amplify confusion in the post-election period.

Demonetizing hate and violence

Last year, news publishers played a critical role in keeping people informed, prepared and safe. We’re proud that digital advertising, including the tools we offer to connect advertisers and publishers, supports this content. We have policies in place to protect both brands and users.

In 2017, we developed more granular means of reviewing sites at the page level, including user-generated comments, to allow publishers to continue to operate their broader sites while protecting advertisers from negative placements by stopping persistent violations. In the years since introducing page-level action, we’ve continued to invest in our automated technology, and it was crucial in a year in which we saw an increase in hate speech and calls to violence online. This investment helped us to prevent harmful web content from monetizing. We took action on nearly 168 million pages under our dangerous and derogatory policy.

Continuing this work in 2021 

We know that when we make decisions through the lens of user safety, it will benefit the broader ecosystem. Preserving trust for advertisers and publishers helps their businesses succeed in the long term. In the upcoming year, we will continue to invest in policies, our team of experts and enforcement technology to stay ahead of potential threats. We also remain steadfast on our path to scale our verification programs around the world in order to increase transparency and make more information about the ad experience universally available.

As CTV viewership surges, YouTube is people’s Main Stream

The last year marks a massive paradigm shift on the TV screen, as more people than ever turn to YouTube on connected TVs (CTV) not only to find happiness and be entertained, but to feel connected and fulfill their needs. Whether it’s leaning back with a good movie, dancing along to the hottest music video with roommates or finding their zen with a guided meditation, YouTube is people’s Main Stream — with over 120 million people streaming YouTube and YouTube TV on their TV screens in December 2020 in the US.1

Today we’re sharing new consumer trends and insights, and spotlighting new measurement solutions to help brands tap into the streaming boom on YouTube.


YouTube CTV watch time continues to grow fast

People are choosing to watch YouTube on connected TVs more than any other ad-supported platform because it has the content that is relevant to their lives and passions. According to Comscore, YouTube is #1 in reach and watch time among ad-supported streaming services, and is #1 in growth by watch hours over the past two years.2  

This is driven in part by a new wave of viewers who choose to watch YouTube primarily on the TV screen. In December 2020, a quarter of logged-in YouTube CTV viewers watched content almost exclusively (more than 90%) on the TV screen.3 For brands, this underscores the importance of connected TV campaigns to reach larger and incremental audiences across YouTube, and engage audiences with bigger creative formats.

Image shows a TV screen with a pilates instructor. Image has text that says "In December 2020, over a quarter of logged-in US YouTube CTV viewers watched content almost exclusively (>90%) on the TV screen.

People are choosing to experience their favorite YouTube content on TV more and more because they are spending more time at home and want to enjoy a big screen viewing experience, or more importantly, they want to experience the content with others. In a recent custom Nielsen study commissioned by Google, we found that 26% of the time, multiple 18+ viewers are watching YouTube together on the TV screen, compared to 22% on linear TV.4 

Over the last year, we've seen huge surges in viewership for content that people like to watch together including music, cooking shows and comedy or humor. Additionally, we’ve seen people transport themselves at home to faraway places with an increase in travel content watch time, and further their education in the living rooms with education-related videos.

Image has thumbnails from various YouTube videos. Image has text that says "What people are watching on TV screens in the US as of December 2020(footnote 5). Music +50% YOY. Travel +40% YOY. Education +50% YOY. Humor +60% YOY. Cooking +40% YOY.

Nielsen measurement soon available on CTV campaigns 

As YouTube CTV viewership continues to grow, we know it’s important for advertisers to be able to measure the impact holistically alongside other devices and platforms. As a result, for the first time ever advertisers will be able to measure their YouTube CTV campaigns in Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) and Total Ad Ratings (TAR). This includes all ways to buy on the YouTube main app, including YouTube Select CTV, and YouTube TV. 

The first phase of measurement in Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings starts with YouTube TV.  Measurement for YouTube main is estimated to be added ahead of the 2021-2022 Upfront season.


Brands find new audiences and
efficiencies with YouTube CTV Ads

Early studies have shown that YouTube CTV campaigns are driving incrementality across linear TV and YouTube desktop and mobile campaigns. Christina Seidner, Senior Brand Manager, Kimberly-Clark, turned to YouTube for their Pull-Ups campaign as an efficient way to reach new audiences.

“We believed YouTube CTV would boost our Pull-Ups campaign in a cost-effective way as our customers continue to shift attention from traditional TV to streaming platforms. What we found is that what's true about YouTube overall is true about YouTube CTV - it delivers unique reach to TV,” says Ms. Seidner. 

But, the real learning for us was in the incrementality CTV provides to our other YouTube cross-device buys - our CTV only campaign delivered an incremental reach of 36% to our core cross-device campaign. Christina Seidner
Senior Brand Manager, Kimberly-Clark

While viewers turn to YouTube on the TV screen for what they need and want in the moment, it’s also helping brands reach new audiences and achieve better results. Reach out to your Google sales team to learn more about YouTube CTV Ads, and the new features shared today to support your campaigns.

Read more on the latest streaming trends on the YouTube blog.


1. In the US, over 120M people streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens in December 2020. (YouTube Internal Data, US, December 2020)
2. Comscore, OTT Intelligence, Sep. 2018, Sep. 2019, Sept. 2020, U.S.
3. YouTube Internal Data, US, December 2020
4. Custom Nielsen study commissioned by Google. Custom YouTube cTV match to Cross-Platform Homes Panel. Coviewing percentage is calculated as the percentage of minutes when a P18+ is watching with another P18+ in the same household. YouTube commercial viewership identified by matching served time of the cTV ping with Cross-Platform Homes Panel viewership during that minute. Linear TV is based on Live Total Day viewing of commercial minutes across all broadcast and cable networks. One minute qualifier. 11/5/2019-11/28/2019; 2/14/2020-2/29/2020. Results among US TV Households
5. 1) Watch time of music content on TV screens has grown over 50% year over year in the US as of December 2020. 2) Watch time of travel content on TV screens has grown over 40% year over year in the US as of December 2020. 3) Watch time of education related videos on TV screens has grown over 50% year over year in the US as of December 2020. 4) Watch time of humor content on TV screens has grown over 60% year over year in the US as of December 2020. 5) Watch time of cooking content on TV screens has grown over 40% year over year in the US as of December 2020. (YouTube Internal Data, US, Dec 2020 vs. Dec 2019)

More choice for travelers with free hotel booking links

While the past 12 months have been difficult for both travelers and the travel industry, we’re optimistic about the road ahead. People are eager to know when they can travel again, and travel companies are wondering how they can best meet consumer needs once the pandemic subsides. We’ve been helping answer some of these questions with data-driven tools for users and the travel industry – but this is only one piece of the puzzle.


When travel does resume in earnest, it’s crucial that people can find the information they’re looking for and easily connect with travel companies online. For many years, we’ve helped travelers choose the right hotel by providing a list of relevant properties, along with information like reviews, photos, and hotel amenities. Hotel booking links have been offered via Hotel Ads, which display real-time pricing and availability for specific dates of travel. We've seen that users find these hotel booking links to be highly useful, and partners find them to be a valuable source of potential customers. 


Now, we’re improving this experience by making it free for hotels and travel companies around the world to appear in hotel booking links, beginning this week on google.com/travel. With full access to a wider range of hotel prices, users will have a more comprehensive set of options as they research their trip and ultimately decide where to book.
Free hotel booking links on a desktop browser

For all hotels and travel companies, this change brings a new, free way to reach potential customers. For advertisers, free booking links can extend the reach of existing Hotel Ads campaigns. Our testing of this new feature shows that all partner types — from individual hotels to online travel agents — benefit from free booking links through increased booking traffic and user engagement.

Partners who already participate in the Hotel Prices API and Hotel Ads do not need to take any further action to appear in free booking links, and any hotel or travel company is eligible to participate via their Hotel Center account. Over the coming months, we’ll also continue to improve the onboarding process for new partners on Hotel Center and introduce tools that allow individual hotels to provide their rates and availability directly, without complex technical requirements. 


Today’s update is part of our larger effort to ensure people have access to all offers available to them by providing free and easy ways for businesses to connect with people on Google. We made it free for partners to participate in Google Flights early last year, and in April we opened our Shopping tab to free listings for online retail. Over time, we’ll continue building this open platform, so that all partners will have even more opportunities to highlight their information and help people book a flight, find a place to stay, or explore a new destination. 


Although the world will certainly look different when travel comes back, our mission to be a trusted source of travel information will remain unchanged. We look forward to building better user experiences and partnering closely with the entire industry in service of this mission.


YouTube achieves MRC brand safety milestone

YouTube’s multi-year commitment to responsibility ensures that we protect our viewers, creators and advertisers from harm. We do this through investments in staffing, technology and policy development. Today, our ongoing commitment has resulted in an important milestone for the advertising industry and YouTube, as we become the first digital platform to receive accreditation for content level brand safety from the Media Rating Council (MRC).

The MRC’s accreditation confirms the effectiveness of YouTube’s robust content level brand safety systems. We received the accreditation following an extensive audit that reviewed the policies that determine which videos can be on YouTube and which are eligible to monetize with advertising, the technology that analyzes the videos uploaded to the platform, and our team of human raters that augment our technology’s automated classifications. 

“YouTube is the first service we’ve accredited against MRC’s Enhanced Content Level Context and Brand Safety Guidelines,” says George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC. “When we issued those guidelines in 2018, we recognized we had set a high bar for brand safety protection, and YouTube has now met that bar thanks to its years of dedication to brand safety and to the MRC audit process. This ongoing commitment presents a much needed path for other digital platforms and the rest of the industry to follow.”

"This accreditation milestone is testament to YouTube’s sustained commitment and investment to enable brands to advertise in safe environments on their platform. We hope this experience inspires others to do the same, and that progress continues towards a responsible media supply chain,” says Marc S. Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble.

Receiving this accreditation builds upon our commitment to protecting advertisers. We are committed to remaining at least 99% effective at ensuring brand safety of advertising placements on YouTube, in accordance with industry definitions. Whatever challenges lie ahead, we will remain humble and alert, enabling us to be the best possible partner to advertisers while continuing to support a responsible ecosystem.

Note: The accreditation is specific to ads sold through Google Ads, Display & Video 360 (DV360) and YouTube Reserve, including in-stream ads and excluding video discovery, masthead, YouTube Kids and livestream.


A key milestone for privacy-centric measurement on YouTube

In October of 2019, we announced that we are continuing to take action to limit the pixels we allow on YouTube, while investing in our cloud-based, privacy-centric measurement and analytics solution called Ads Data Hub. This solution provides three benefits for marketers. First, Ads Data Hub ensures end-user privacy by enforcing privacy checks and aggregating Google data before it leaves the Google-owned Cloud project. Second, because Ads Data Hub does not rely on pixels, it allows advertisers access to comprehensive measurement and insights on how their advertising is performing across screens, including mobile apps, for YouTube media bought via YouTube and Google ad platforms, including Google Ads, Display & Video 360. Finally, Ads Data Hub is paving the way for a durable future for measurement on YouTube, enabling cross-publisher reporting by third parties that are compatible with the privacy-centric world.


Media Rating Council accredits Ads Data Hub

Today, we're announcing Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditations for Ads Data Hub, a first for a clean-room-based measurement product in the industry. Ads Data Hub has been accredited by MRC for Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT)-filtered, rendered and viewable video ad impressions and TrueView Views generated through the Ads Data Hub user interface and API. Accreditation covers desktop, mobile web and mobile in-app for YouTube and Google Video Partners video ads on Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and YouTube Reserve, and includes the processes used in the matching of unique audience identifiers.


New measurement partners complete Ads Data Hub migration

Over the last year, we’ve been working with several measurement partners to migrate their vendor services to Ads Data Hub. As of today, Comscore, DoubleVerify, Dynata, Kantar, Integral Ad Science, Nielsen, and Moat by Oracle have completed migration and have completely switched to Ads Data Hub-based reporting. These measurement partners are in addition to the list of already existing partners reporting on YouTube. We also expect many of these partners will independently seek MRC accreditation of their Ads Data Hub-based reporting.

We are committed to fostering a healthy measurement partner ecosystem, with privacy at its core. With the MRC accreditation of Ads Data Hub and the full migration of global third-party brand-measurement partners, advertisers will gain more comprehensive reporting and measurement, using technology that’s built to enhance user privacy. We are thrilled to mark a big step toward durable, privacy-centric, trustworthy measurement and remain committed to innovation for more capabilities in the future.

Shopping for a beauty product? Try it on with Google.

I’ve been doing most of my shopping online this year and it seems I’m not alone. With the holidays right around the corner, more than 73 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to buy online. There are plenty of perks with online shopping, from the convenience of doing it from your couch to the multitude of options right at your fingertips.

At the same time, many still crave that in-store experience, whether it’s seeing a product up close, trying it on or getting advice from in-store experts. So we’re bringing some of the benefits of in-store shopping to your phone, with new features launching this week in the U.S.

Visualize makeup looks and try on products 

If you’re shopping for beauty products, it’s difficult to make a decision on such personal items without trying them on. Say you want to know how sheer a lip gloss is, how much pigment is in an eyeshadow or what a product will look like on your skin tone, it can be difficult to understand these things without seeing the products up close. 

To make it easier for you to answer these questions from home, we’re working with data partners ModiFace and Perfect Corp to help you better visualize thousands of lipstick and eyeshadow shades from your favorite brands like L’Oreal, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal and Charlotte Tilbury. Now, when you search for a lipstick or eyeshadow product, like L’Oreal’s Infallible Paints Metallic Eyeshadow, you can see what it looks like on a range of skin tones and compare shades and textures to help you find the right products.

How you can try on lipstick and eyeshadow

To help you find the perfect match, you can now also virtually try makeup products right from the Google app. Find the perfect nude lip by searching for MAC Powder Kiss Lipstick and quickly trying each shade in the collection. If you’re looking for a velvety matte lipstick for your holiday video calls with family and friends, search for NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment and find the color that matches your style.

Woman trying on lipstick

Get recs from experts and enthusiasts

Sometimes it’s helpful to get recommendations and see how products work for other people. Now as you browse Google Shopping on your phone or scroll through the Discover feed in the Google app, we'll show recommendations from beauty, apparel and home and garden enthusiasts and experts about their favorite products. If a product catches your eye, you can hear directly from experts on why they love the product and how they use it. 

Hear from professional makeup artist Jonet on what products can help you achieve that dewy fresh look or learn how Homesick Candles make the perfect holiday present.  Once you’ve found a product you love, you’ll be able to easily shop these recommendations. This new feature comes from work done by the Shoploop team, which was formerly part of Area 120, Google's in-house incubator.

We hope these new shopping tools will make it easier for you to find products you’ll love while shopping from home.

Greater controls for sensitive ad topics in your Ad Settings

Building tools that provide transparency and control has always been a top priority for us, and over the years, we’ve empowered people to shape their ads experience through user controls. We’ve launched About this ad, which explains why a specific ad is being shown, and Ad Settings, which allows people to control how ads are personalized or even opt out of personalized ads altogether at an account level.

We’ve heard feedback that some people would prefer to limit ads in certain categories like alcohol, so today, we’re launching a new control in Ad Settings, enabling people to see fewer alcohol ads, with gambling as an additional option. 

We’ve long had features like Mute this ad, where people can indicate which ads they’d rather not see. These controls live alongside our policies which determine when and where gambling and alcohol ads can be shown per local laws (e.g. age restrictions). This new feature is an extra step, putting choice in the user's hands and enabling you to further control your ad experience. With a click of a button, you can choose to see fewer gambling and alcohol ads. It is also reversible; should you change your mind, you can click to see such ads again. 

This feature will roll out in Ad Settings gradually, beginning with YouTube Ads in the US, and we aim to introduce this for Google Ads and YouTube globally in early 2021. Countries with legal restrictions against serving gambling and alcohol ads will not see any change in their policies.

Ad categories on YouTube

Many of the advertisers we work with are also invested in respecting people’s choices and cultural differences when it comes to the ads they see. For this initiative, we’ve been working with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and its members, the leading beer, wine and spirits producers, taking into account their expertise on standards for responsible alcohol advertising and marketing—and we’re pleased to have their support.


“IARD’s engagement with Google means users of the platform, starting with YouTube, will have the option to see fewer alcohol ads. Our members are determined to give people greater control over whether they see alcohol-related marketing online. Respecting these personal preferences and recognizing differences in culture requires sensitivity and action, that’s why we hope this partnership is the start of a bigger movement.” - Henry Ashworth, President and CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking

 “As a responsible producer and member of IARD, we are determined to set and deliver new and robust standards of marketing responsibility. This significant new feature is a very important development for our sector, and it will have a meaningful impact for people around the world as it is rolled out across Google’s platform.”- Albert Baladi, CEO Beam Suntory and Chair of the IARD


We believe this new feature is an important step in user choice and control. We’ll continue to improve our controls; and as our products and people’s expectations of them evolve, so will the features we make available to personalize ad experiences.