Category Archives: Inside AdWords

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

Join us for Google for Games Developer Summit 2021

With a surge of new gamers and an increase in time spent playing games in the last year, it’s more important than ever for game developers to delight and engage players. To help developers with this opportunity, the games teams at Google are back to announce the return of the Google for Games Developer Summit 2021on July 12th-13th

Hear from experts across Google about new game solutions they’re building to make it easier for you to continue creating great games, connecting with players and scaling your business.  Registration is free and open to all game developers.

Register for the free online event at to get more details in the coming weeks.  We can’t wait to share our latest innovations with the developer community.

Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads

Last year, we introduced Consent Mode, a beta feature to help advertisers operating in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom take a privacy-first approach to digital marketing. When a user doesn’t consent to ads cookies or analytics cookies, Consent Mode automatically adjusts the relevant Google tags’ behavior to not read or write cookies for advertising or analytics purposes. This enables advertisers to respect user choice while helping them still capture some campaign insights.

Without cookies, advertisers experience a gap in their measurement and lose visibility into user paths on their site. They are no longer able to directly tie users' ad interactions to conversions, whether the users are repeat visitors or whether those users have arrived from paid or organic traffic sources. To help close this gap, we're introducing conversion modeling through Consent Mode. This will help marketers preserve online measurement capabilities, using a privacy-first approach.

Now, Consent Mode will enable conversion modeling to recover the attribution between ad-click events and conversions measured in Google Ads. Early results from Google Ads have shown that, on average, conversion modeling through Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user cookie consent choices. Results for each advertiser may vary widely, depending primarily on user cookie consent rates and the advertiser’s Consent Mode setup.

How modeling fills in measurement gaps

Conversion modeling can help fill in blanks in media measurement at times when it’s not possible to observe the path between ad interactions and conversions. Conversion modeling through Consent Mode specifically addresses gaps in observable data from regulations on cookie consent in various regions. Conversion modeling uses machine learning to analyze observable data and historical trends, in order to quantify the relationship between consented and unconsented users. Then, using observable user journeys where users have consented to cookie usage, our models will fill in missing attribution paths. This creates a more complete and accurate view of advertising spend and outcomes — all while respecting user consent choices. Conversion modeling also upholds privacy by not identifying individual users, unlike tactics like fingerprinting which Google has a strict policy against.

Using modeling to probabilistically recover linkages between ad interactions and conversions that would otherwise go unattributed means more conversion insights for optimizing campaign bidding and understanding what’s driving sales. It's important for any modeling approach to account for the fact that people who consent to cookies are likely to convert at a different rate than those who don't.

Holistic measurement for your Google Ads campaigns

It’s important for advertisers to have accurate reporting so they can make their marketing investments go further. Advertisers using Consent Mode will now see their reports in Google Ads updated: for Search, Shopping, Display, and Video campaigns, the “Conversions,” “All conversions” and “Conversion value” columns will now include modeled conversions for consent gaps. All other Google Ads campaign performance reports that use conversion data will also reflect the impact from adding in modeled conversions.

Modeled conversions through Consent Mode will be integrated directly in your Google Ads campaign reports with the same granularity as observed conversions. This data then makes its way into Google’s bidding tools so that you can be confident your campaigns will be optimized based on a full view of your results.

Blue pie chart stating: On average, Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user consent choices.

For advertisers who want to optimize their campaigns based on return on ad spend or cost-per-acquisition, they can use Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS) orTarget Cost Per Acquisition (tCPA) Smart Bidding strategies with Consent Mode. If you had previously adjusted targets to account for cookie consent changes, you can now go back to setting targets in line with your ROI goals. Note that you’re likely to see gradual improvements in reported performance as we recover lost conversions through modeling.

For advertisers who want to maintain their campaign spend, conversion modeling through Consent Mode also works with the Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value Smart Bidding strategies in Google Ads. We recommend you make sure that the budget you’ve decided on is well-aligned with your spend goals.

Get started

If you’re an advertiser operating in the European Economic Area or the United Kingdom, have implemented Consent Mode and are using Google Ads conversion tracking, conversion modeling from Consent Mode is available for you today.

And if you aren’t using Consent Mode yet, you have two options to get started. You can implement it yourself on your website by following our instructions. Or if you need some extra help, we’ve partnered closely with several Consent Management Platforms, a few of which already take care of critical implementation steps on behalf of advertisers.

logos of Consent Management Platforms ready to take care of critical implementation steps

We are continuously adding new privacy-forward techniques to help our machine learning solutions better understand the aggregate behavior of non-consenting users, and offer actionable insights in reporting for deeper clarity on your marketing spend. We’ll be bringing conversion modeling through Consent Mode to other Google advertising products, like Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 later this year.

5 new ways Google Assistant can make the day a little easier

Spring is here, and with it, a helping hand from Google Assistant. Today we're introducing five new features that help you tackle small things around the house (and from the car).  

1) Can’t remember where you put down your phone?Don’t sweat it. Already one of the most popular features for Google Assistant, you can tell your Nest smart speaker or smart display, “Hey Google, find my phone,” for all devices, now including iPhones. For iPhones, once you opt in to receiving notifications and critical alerts from the Google Home app, you’ll get a notification and hear a custom ringing sound (even when the phone is on silent or if Do Not Disturb is enabled).

2) Get your takeout faster.Over the last year, more and more people started ordering takeout and delivery on Google, and more restaurants added the “order” button to their Business Profiles on Search and Maps. To make online food orders even easier, Assistant can now help you complete your purchase in only a few steps powered by Duplex on the web. To get started, you’ll need to first search for a restaurant near you from the Google App on Android and select “Order Online” or “Order Pickup.”  When you finish your online takeout order from a restaurant we partner with and click “check out,” Assistant will automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill. At launch, we’re partnering with select restaurant chains and will be adding more across the U.S. later this year.  

3) Try a new sunrise or sunset Routine for your smart home devices.Now available globally, these Routines are based on your  location. For example, you can automatically have your living room lights turn on and the sprinklers start when the sun goes down. It’s easy to set up: 

  • Select the “New” routine tab in the Google Home app or Assistant settings. 
  • Under “how to start,” you’ll need to “add starter,” then you’ll see an option for “Sunrise/sunset.”
  • From there, you can customize the time and specific actions you want them to trigger. 

4) Need routine ideas?Assistant Routines make it easy to automatically perform multiple actions at once with a single command. We’ve included a dedicated section in Ready-Made Routines to highlight popular “suggested actions” to  inspire you, such as “Tell me if my battery is low” or “Tell me what happened today in history.” You can also add a “shortcut” icon to your Android home screen for your favorite Routines. Head to the overview screen for Routines in the Google Home app or Assistant Settings and click the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the top app bar.

5) Have questions about the Oscars?You can get the inside scoop from your Google Assistant. Just ask: “Hey Google, when are the Oscars?” or “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Animated Feature Film at the Oscars?” to hear the list of nominees. To hear some predictions ahead of the red carpet, try “Hey Google, what are your Oscar predictions? or “Hey Google, who do you think is best dressed at the Oscars?” You can also join in on the award night fun by saying, “Hey Google, give me an award.”

Searching for the way forward

I can’t think of a time when technology has been able to be more helpful to more people, families, communities, companies and countries than today. At the same time, the ways that people are using technology are more dynamic than ever. Technology has been a lifeline in lockdown, and it will be an important catalyst in a sustainable and accelerated recovery that works for everyone.

As we strive to emerge from the narrow canyon of restrictions on our lives into a more familiar world of wider horizons, we’re all keen to understand which changes in habits and behaviors will stay with us. What will stick and what will fade? For businesses, the impact of this crisis has varied enormously. Some have seen acceleration, more have had to fight for survival as physical channels to customers were impacted. Whatever the situation, we’re all searching through a fog of uncertainty for the way forward.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw how changes were driving businesses to innovate — with many, like Lynsey Pollard’s Little Box of Books, using digital tools to quickly identify and respond to rising consumer demand — in her case for home education resources, tripling website visits in the very first month of the pandemic.

Now, a year later, we can see three big trends emerging that businesses should address to accelerate recovery.

Three lasting consumer trends, as
companies get ready for what’s next

The pandemic has accelerated existing shifts in behavior.

Firstly, we’ve seen that the pandemic has accelerated behaviors which were already underway. Consumers went digital across all aspects of their lives — searches for "delivery," "discount codes" and even "how to" grew significantly compared to the previous years. However, it’s worth noting that some behavior changes remain unpredictable. For example, people’s preference for shopping online over shopping in-store has fluctuated fast and often since May of last year.   

People need more help than ever navigating choice complexity.

Secondly, we’ve seen the value of being fast and helpful for customers. Consumer decision-making is increasingly complex, with more options and considerations than ever. So consumers need more help than ever in making those decisions, giving businesses a huge opportunity to introduce themselves and be helpful at the right moment. 

People want an open and affordable digital world, and that requires relevant ads that respect their privacy.

The increasing importance of technology in our lives has heightened expectations for an open and affordable digital world, underpinned by safety and privacy online. People understand the value of advertising to support that experience and they want to see relevant, timely ads that respect their privacy. 

A Google/Euroconsumers study found that nearly 70% of respondents believe the amount of personal data collected online makes it difficult for them to protect their privacy. Search interest for "online privacy" has grown globally by more than 50% year over year. 

We all have to build trust every time there’s an interaction. People deserve to know how their data is being used so that they can choose to give informed permission.  

More insights and tools for companies to help recovery

So what can we do to help companies face the uncertainty and such dynamic consumer trends? At Google, we’re developing new tools to help businesses understand and respond better to shifting needs. 

Firstly, we’re launching the new Insights Page within Google Ads. It is a new destination in Google Ads where marketers can see contextual and automated insights to help them adapt their business faster in a more dynamic world.

For instance, Body&Fit, an Irish company offering sports nutrition, food supplements and dietary products, was affected by a decline in in-store sales and international shipment delays during local lockdowns. By using health and fitness insights across a number of countries, the brand was able to find new opportunities for growth and even expanded into new markets. As a result, by the end of last year, it saw a 90% year-over-year increase in revenue.

Secondly, we’ve been looking at ways for businesses to move faster — by quickly taking action based on recommendations from our real-time insights, powered by machine learning. To achieve this, we’re taking automation one step further, giving marketers an option to "opt-in" to automatically apply certain campaign and performance recommendations. This means that every time our algorithms detect an opportunity to improve a campaign, brands can implement these recommendations instantly, enabling them to be fast and helpful for their consumers and save time. 

The Netherlands-based agency Dept has been automatically applying recommendations across its client portfolio, and it’s worked — the agency has saved 20% of the time it previously spent on repetitive tasks, while increasing Google ads optimization scores by 18 points on average. Dept has also seen a positive impact on their clients’ performance — construction company BAM saw a 10% increase in conversion volume and a 20% increase in conversion rate.

Finally, as we have seen a decline in trust in online advertising, we’ve been working with the advertising ecosystem on new privacy-preserving proposals open to the industry within the Privacy Sandbox. We’ve also confirmed that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products. Now is the time for marketers to focus on building strong first-party relationships and the expertise they need to build trust sustainably.

The insights businesses want, the tools they need, the partnership they deserve

As we search for the way forward, businesses need to be even closer to their consumers and respond to their needs faster than ever before. 

Google is here to help turn this challenge into a new opportunity for future growth, by providing the insights businesses want, the tools they need, and the partnership they deserve to help them find the way.

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.


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,, 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 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.