Tag Archives: Ads

Helping businesses and nonprofits recover

In the last few months, COVID-19 has impacted businesses in profound ways. Throughout that time, I’ve heard from organizations, large and small, how they’re staying connected with customers through technology. This has always been core to my team’s purpose, but we can do more to help businesses and nonprofits through this crisis.

Today we’re announcing a $200 million increase to our annual Ad Grants commitment, to offer a total of $1 billion to better support nonprofits. This $1 billion helps nonprofits around the world that are tackling pressing issues like COVID-19 response and recovery, especially in developing economies. And we’re doing more.

Typically during this time of year, we gather at Google Marketing Live, our annual event to discuss new products and hear feedback from you. In lieu of our in-person event, throughout this summer we’ll host “virtual product roundtables” with our product managers, announce a number of new products, share new insights and kick off a new weekly video series, The Update on Think with Google, discussing industry trends and best practices. 

Helping businesses and organizations recover is the first topic we'll explore. Today we’re sharing updates for small businesses ahead of a Google-wide initiative, International Small Business Week, taking place June 22-27. This is a week dedicated to celebrating small businesses when we’ll share tips, trainings and products to help them get back on their feet. 


Helping consumers connect with businesses 

As people spend more time at home, we’ve seen searches for local services, like “carpet cleaning” or “air conditioning repair” increase by 50 percent in recent months. We’re now making it easier to book these services directly in Google Search on mobile through Local Services Ads in the U.S. Local Services Ads help people discover and connect with trustworthy, local professionals backed by the Google Guarantee. Later this month, we’re also launching a new mobile site for the U.S. and Canada, to help more people find, compare and book nearby service providers faster. 


GLS-Booking_Flow-2.gif

Book local service providers directly on Google Search

As people search for products they urgently need and limit their in-person store interactions, they’re looking for real-time updates on product availability at local stores. Searches for “curbside pickup” and “in stock” have surged by more than 70 percent in recent months. Our goal is to help people find and buy the things they need, quickly and easily. Starting today the Shopping tab will show helpful local store information, including product availability, locations, and fulfillment options like delivery and curbside pickup. This information will show up in all countries where the Shopping tab is available.


LU_LIA_Mobile_framed.png

New to the Shopping tab: curbside pickup and more information for local stores

Helping businesses connect with customers

For many small businesses around the world, digital tools have become a lifeline this year. 1 in 3 small business owners say that without digital tools, they would have had to close all or part of their business. With businesses at various stages of digital transformation—some are online, some are halfway there and others have a long way to go—we’re committed  to helping businesses get online and grow with easy-to-use tools.

To help businesses quickly improve their online presence, today we’re introducing Grow My Store to retailers in the U.S. In Europe, Grow My Store has been an effective way for many small retailers to get quick tips on how to improve their online store and understand how they are doing compared to peers in the industry. Businesses just need to enter their website URL into the tool and within minutes they will get a custom report. 

To help make local businesses more discoverable, this week we’re introducing Local Opportunity Finder. Enter the name of your business and Google will provide personalized suggestions on how to make improvements to your Business Profile on Google. For example, ensuring your opening hours are current, adding curbside pickup information, or uploading a photo that represents your business.

Finally, to help small business advertisers easily promote their businesses, we’ve expanded Smart campaigns to 150 countries and now we’re making it easier and faster to sign up using the Google Ads app. You can set up a Smart campaign and create your first ad in just 15 minutes while on the go. And starting today, you can use Smart campaigns to display a prominent, square-shaped Google Maps pin with your business category logo, highlighting specific services that you offer, like curbside pickup or delivery. We’re bringing Promoted pins to Smart campaigns advertisers for free through the end of September. 

SC-Squarepins-Flow3.gif

Promoted pins through Smart campaigns help businesses stand out on Google Maps

What’s Next

Upcoming episodes of The Update on Think with Google will provide exclusive access to industry leaders, like George Hanson, Chief Digital Officer at Panera Bread, and Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4As. In addition, my team of product leaders will use this series to share upcoming product innovations designed to make it easier to manage your marketing.

We look forward to connecting with you virtually through our virtual roundtables and The Update. Until then follow us on the Google Ads blog for the latest product announcements.

Helping businesses and nonprofits recover

In the last few months, COVID-19 has impacted businesses in profound ways. Throughout that time, I’ve heard from organizations, large and small, how they’re staying connected with customers through technology. This has always been core to my team’s purpose, but we can do more to help businesses and nonprofits through this crisis.

Today we’re announcing a $200 million increase to our annual Ad Grants commitment, to offer a total of $1 billion to better support nonprofits. This $1 billion helps nonprofits around the world that are tackling pressing issues like COVID-19 response and recovery, especially in developing economies. And we’re doing more.

Typically during this time of year, we gather at Google Marketing Live, our annual event to discuss new products and hear feedback from you. In lieu of our in-person event, throughout this summer we’ll host “virtual product roundtables” with our product managers, announce a number of new products, share new insights and kick off a new weekly video series, The Update on Think with Google, discussing industry trends and best practices. 

Helping businesses and organizations recover is the first topic we'll explore. Today we’re sharing updates for small businesses ahead of a Google-wide initiative, International Small Business Week, taking place June 22-27. This is a week dedicated to celebrating small businesses when we’ll share tips, trainings and products to help them get back on their feet. 


Helping consumers connect with businesses 

As people spend more time at home, we’ve seen searches for local services, like “carpet cleaning” or “air conditioning repair” increase by 50 percent in recent months. We’re now making it easier to book these services directly in Google Search on mobile through Local Services Ads in the U.S. Local Services Ads help people discover and connect with trustworthy, local professionals backed by the Google Guarantee. Later this month, we’re also launching a new mobile site for the U.S. and Canada, to help more people find, compare and book nearby service providers faster. 


GLS-Booking_Flow-2.gif

Book local service providers directly on Google Search

As people search for products they urgently need and limit their in-person store interactions, they’re looking for real-time updates on product availability at local stores. Searches for “curbside pickup” and “in stock” have surged by more than 70 percent in recent months. Our goal is to help people find and buy the things they need, quickly and easily. Starting today the Shopping tab will show helpful local store information, including product availability, locations, and fulfillment options like delivery and curbside pickup. This information will show up in all countries where the Shopping tab is available.


LU_LIA_Mobile_framed.png

New to the Shopping tab: curbside pickup and more information for local stores

Helping businesses connect with customers

For many small businesses around the world, digital tools have become a lifeline this year. 1 in 3 small business owners say that without digital tools, they would have had to close all or part of their business. With businesses at various stages of digital transformation—some are online, some are halfway there and others have a long way to go—we’re committed  to helping businesses get online and grow with easy-to-use tools.

To help businesses quickly improve their online presence, today we’re introducing Grow My Store to retailers in the U.S. In Europe, Grow My Store has been an effective way for many small retailers to get quick tips on how to improve their online store and understand how they are doing compared to peers in the industry. Businesses just need to enter their website URL into the tool and within minutes they will get a custom report. 

To help make local businesses more discoverable, this week we’re introducing Local Opportunity Finder. Enter the name of your business and Google will provide personalized suggestions on how to make improvements to your Business Profile on Google. For example, ensuring your opening hours are current, adding curbside pickup information, or uploading a photo that represents your business.

Finally, to help small business advertisers easily promote their businesses, we’ve expanded Smart campaigns to 150 countries and now we’re making it easier and faster to sign up using the Google Ads app. You can set up a Smart campaign and create your first ad in just 15 minutes while on the go. And starting today, you can use Smart campaigns to display a prominent, square-shaped Google Maps pin with your business category logo, highlighting specific services that you offer, like curbside pickup or delivery. We’re bringing Promoted pins to Smart campaigns advertisers for free through the end of September. 

SC-Squarepins-Flow3.gif

Promoted pins through Smart campaigns help businesses stand out on Google Maps

What’s Next

Upcoming episodes of The Update on Think with Google will provide exclusive access to industry leaders, like George Hanson, Chief Digital Officer at Panera Bread, and Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4As. In addition, my team of product leaders will use this series to share upcoming product innovations designed to make it easier to manage your marketing.

We look forward to connecting with you virtually through our virtual roundtables and The Update. Until then follow us on the Google Ads blog for the latest product announcements.

Source: Google Ads


Upcoming update to housing, employment, and credit advertising policies

Our Google Ads policies are written to protect users, advertisers, and publishers, and prohibit advertisers from unlawful behavior like discriminating against users. We also give users control over the kinds of ads they see, including the ability to opt out of seeing any personalized ads. Our ads policies apply to all the ads we serve and if we find ads that violate our policies, we take action.

For over a decade, we’ve also had personalized advertising policies that prohibit advertisers from targeting users on the basis of sensitive categories related to their identity, beliefs, sexuality, or personal hardships. This means we don’t allow advertisers to target ads based on categories such as race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, to name a few. We regularly evaluate and evolve our policies to ensure they are protecting users from behaviors like unlawful discrimination. 

To further improve access to housing, employment, and credit opportunities, we are introducing a new personalized advertising policy for certain types of ads. This policy will prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code, in addition to our longstanding policies prohibiting personalization based on sensitive categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. While the changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and business continuity issues for many advertisers make precise timelines difficult, we plan to roll out this update in the U.S. and Canada as soon as possible and, in any event, by the end of this year. We will be providing advertisers with more information about how these changes may impact them in the coming weeks.

We’ve been working closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on these changes for some time, and we appreciate their guidance in helping us make progress on these important issues. As part of our effort we’ll provide housing advertisers with additional information about fair housing to help ensure they are acting in ways that support access to housing opportunities. We will also continue to work with HUD, civil rights and housing experts, and the broader advertising industry to address concerns around discrimination in ad targeting. These changes complement our work with businesses, governments, and community organizations to distribute $1 billion we committed for Bay Area housing. In the first six months of this commitment, we’ve helped to create hundreds of new affordable housing units in the Bay Area, including an investment in a development focused on affordable and inclusive housing for adults with disabilities.

Google is committed to working with the broader advertising ecosystem to help set high standards for online advertising, and we will continue to strive to set policies that improve inclusion and access for users.

Upcoming update to housing, employment, and credit advertising policies

Our Google Ads policies are written to protect users, advertisers, and publishers, and prohibit advertisers from unlawful behavior like discriminating against users. We also give users control over the kinds of ads they see, including the ability to opt out of seeing any personalized ads. Our ads policies apply to all the ads we serve and if we find ads that violate our policies, we take action.

For over a decade, we’ve also had personalized advertising policies that prohibit advertisers from targeting users on the basis of sensitive categories related to their identity, beliefs, sexuality, or personal hardships. This means we don’t allow advertisers to target ads based on categories such as race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, to name a few. We regularly evaluate and evolve our policies to ensure they are protecting users from behaviors like unlawful discrimination. 

To further improve access to housing, employment, and credit opportunities, we are introducing a new personalized advertising policy for certain types of ads. This policy will prohibit impacted employment, housing, and credit advertisers from targeting or excluding ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP Code, in addition to our longstanding policies prohibiting personalization based on sensitive categories like race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. While the changing circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic and business continuity issues for many advertisers make precise timelines difficult, we plan to roll out this update in the U.S. and Canada as soon as possible and, in any event, by the end of this year. We will be providing advertisers with more information about how these changes may impact them in the coming weeks.

We’ve been working closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on these changes for some time, and we appreciate their guidance in helping us make progress on these important issues. As part of our effort we’ll provide housing advertisers with additional information about fair housing to help ensure they are acting in ways that support access to housing opportunities. We will also continue to work with HUD, civil rights and housing experts, and the broader advertising industry to address concerns around discrimination in ad targeting. These changes complement our work with businesses, governments, and community organizations to distribute $1 billion we committed for Bay Area housing. In the first six months of this commitment, we’ve helped to create hundreds of new affordable housing units in the Bay Area, including an investment in a development focused on affordable and inclusive housing for adults with disabilities.

Google is committed to working with the broader advertising ecosystem to help set high standards for online advertising, and we will continue to strive to set policies that improve inclusion and access for users.

Source: Google Ads


AdLingo Ads Builder turns an ad into a conversation

My parents were small business owners in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I grew up. They taught me that, though advertising is important, personal relationships are the best way to get new customers and grow your business. When I started working at Google 14 years ago, online advertising was a one-way messaging channel. People couldn’t ask questions or get personalized information from an ad, so we saw an opportunity to turn an ad into a two-way conversation.

My co-founder Dario Rapisardi and I joined Area 120, Google’s in house incubator for experimental projects, to use conversational AI technology to create such a service. In 2018 we launched AdLingo Ads for brands that leverage the Google Display & Video 360 buying platform. They can turn their ads, shown on the Google Partner Inventory, into an AI-powered conversation with potential customers. If customers are interested in the product promoted in the ad, they can ask questions to get more information.

Today, we’re announcing AdLingo Ads Builder (accessible to our beta partners), a new tool that helps advertisers and agencies build AdLingo Ads ten times faster than before. You can upload the components of your ad, as well as the conversational assistant, with just a few clicks.

As an early example, Purple used AdLingo to help people find the best mattress based on their personal sleep preferences. People found the ad helpful, as each engaged person spent on average 1 minute and 37 seconds in the conversation.

Purple Ads Builder_Keyword.png

AdLingo Ads Builder (with Purple ad): After selecting from a few simple drop-downs, the ad is ready to preview.

So far we’ve partnered with more than 30 different brands globally. Our product delivers results for advertisers by advancing potential customers from discovering a product to considering its purchase in one single ad, at a competitive cost compared to other channels. For example Renault used AdLingo for the new ZOE electric car launch to address French drivers’ preconceptions about electric vehicles. The campaign helped position Renault as a trusted advisor to consumers.

Renault_Adlingo_Experience_Keyword.png

Renault AdLingo Ad experience: Potential customers can ask questions and learn more about ZOE electric cars.

Online advertising has created huge opportunities for companies to reach customers all over the world, but when I think about my parent’s small business, I remember the importance of building a personal relationship with your customers. In creating AdLingo, we’re on a mission to use conversational AI to foster stronger relationships between customers and businesses.

AdLingo Ads Builder turns an ad into a conversation

My parents were small business owners in the U.S. Virgin Islands where I grew up. They taught me that, though advertising is important, personal relationships are the best way to get new customers and grow your business. When I started working at Google 14 years ago, online advertising was a one-way messaging channel. People couldn’t ask questions or get personalized information from an ad, so we saw an opportunity to turn an ad into a two-way conversation.

My co-founder Dario Rapisardi and I joined Area 120, Google’s in house incubator for experimental projects, to use conversational AI technology to create such a service. In 2018 we launched AdLingo Ads for brands that leverage the Google Display & Video 360 buying platform. They can turn their ads, shown on the Google Partner Inventory, into an AI-powered conversation with potential customers. If customers are interested in the product promoted in the ad, they can ask questions to get more information.

Today, we’re announcing AdLingo Ads Builder (accessible to our beta partners), a new tool that helps advertisers and agencies build AdLingo Ads ten times faster than before. You can upload the components of your ad, as well as the conversational assistant, with just a few clicks.

As an early example, Purple used AdLingo to help people find the best mattress based on their personal sleep preferences. People found the ad helpful, as each engaged person spent on average 1 minute and 37 seconds in the conversation.

Purple Ads Builder_Keyword.png

AdLingo Ads Builder (with Purple ad): After selecting from a few simple drop-downs, the ad is ready to preview.

So far we’ve partnered with more than 30 different brands globally. Our product delivers results for advertisers by advancing potential customers from discovering a product to considering its purchase in one single ad, at a competitive cost compared to other channels. For example Renault used AdLingo for the new ZOE electric car launch to address French drivers’ preconceptions about electric vehicles. The campaign helped position Renault as a trusted advisor to consumers.

Renault_Adlingo_Experience_Keyword.png

Renault AdLingo Ad experience: Potential customers can ask questions and learn more about ZOE electric cars.

Online advertising has created huge opportunities for companies to reach customers all over the world, but when I think about my parent’s small business, I remember the importance of building a personal relationship with your customers. In creating AdLingo, we’re on a mission to use conversational AI to foster stronger relationships between customers and businesses.

Importing SA360 WebQuery reports to BigQuery

Context

Search Ads 360 (SA36) is an enterprise-class search campaign management platform used by marketers to manage global ad campaigns across multiple engines. It offers powerful reporting capability through WebQuery reports, API, BiqQuery and Datastudio connectors.

Effective Ad campaign management requires multi-dimensional analysis of campaign data along with customers’ first-party data by building custom reports with dimensions combined from paid-search reports and business data.

Customers’ business data resides in a data-warehouse, which is designed for analysis, insights and reporting. To integrate ads data into the data-warehouse, the usual approach is to bring/ load the campaign data into the warehouse; to achieve this, SA360 offers various options to retrieve paid-search data, each of these methods provide a unique capabilities.

Comparison AreaWebQueryBQ ConnectorDatastudio ConnectorAPI
Technical complexityLow
Medium
Medium
High
Ease of report customizationHigh
Medium
Low
High
Reporting DetailsCompleteLimited
Reports not supported on API are not available
E.g.
Location targets
Remarketing targets
Audience reports
Possible Data WarehouseAny
The report is generic and needs to be loaded into the data-warehouse using DWs custom loading methods.
BigQuery ONLYNoneAny
Comparing these approaches, in terms of technical knowledge required, as well as, supporters data warehousing solution, the easiest one is WebQuery report for which a marketer can build a report by choosing the dimensions/metrics they want on the SA360 User Interface.

BigQuery data-transfer service is limited to importing data in BigQuery and Datastudio connector does not allow retrieving data.

WebQuery offers a simpler and customizable method than other alternatives and also offers more options for the kind of data (vs. BQ transfer service which does not bring Business Data from SA360 to BigQuery). It was originally designed for Microsoft Excel to provide an updatable view of a report. In the era of cloud computing, a need was felt for a tool which would help consume the report and make it available on an analytical platform or a cloud data warehouse like BigQuery.

Solution Approach



This tool showcases how to bridge this gap of bringing SA360 data to a data warehouse, in generic fashion, where the report from SA360 is fetched in XML format and converted it into a CSV file using SAX parsers. This CSV file is then transferred to staging storage to be finally ETLed into the Data Warehouse.

As a concrete example, we chose to showcase a solution with BigQuery as the destination (cloud) data warehouse, though the solution architecture is flexible for any other system.

Conclusion

The tool helps marketers bring advertising data closer to their analytical systems helping them derive better insights. In case you use BigQuery as your Data Warehouse, you can use this tool as-is. You can also adopt by adding components for analytical/data-warehousing systems you use and improve it for the larger community.

To get started, follow our step-by-step guide.
Notable Features of the tool are as following:
  • Modular Authorization module
  • Handle arbitrarily large web-query reports
  • Batch mode to process multiple reports in a single call
  • Can be used as part of ETL workflow (Airflow compatible)
By Anant Damle, Solutions Architect and Meera Youn, Technical Partnership Lead

An update on our political ads policy

We’re proud that people around the world use Google to find relevant information about elections and that candidates use Google and search ads to raise small-dollar donations that help fund their campaigns. We’re also committed to a wide range of efforts to help protect campaigns, surface authoritative election news, and protect elections from foreign interference.

But given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters' confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms. So we’re making a few changes to how we handle political ads on our platforms globally. Regardless of the cost or impact to spending on our platforms, we believe these changes will help promote confidence in digital political advertising and trust in electoral processes worldwide. 

Our ads platforms today

Google’s ad platforms are distinctive in a number of important ways: 

  • The main formats we offer political advertisers are search ads (which appear on Google in response to a search for a particular topic or candidate), YouTube ads (which appear on YouTube videos and generate revenue for those creators), and display ads (which appear on websites and generate revenue for our publishing partners). 

  • We provide a publicly accessible, searchable, and downloadable transparency report of election ad content and spending on our platforms, going beyond what’s offered by most other advertising media.  

  • We’ve never allowed granular microtargeting of political ads on our platforms. In many countries, the targeting of political advertising is regulated and we comply with those laws. In the U.S., we have offered basic political targeting capabilities to verified advertisers, such as serving ads based on public voter records and general political affiliations (left-leaning, right-leaning, and independent). 

Taking a new approach to targeting election ads

While we've never offered granular microtargeting of election ads, we believe there’s more we can do to further promote increased visibility of election ads. That’s why we’re limiting election ads audience targeting to the following general categories: age, gender, and general location (postal code level). Political advertisers can, of course, continue to do contextual targeting, such as serving ads to people reading or watching a story about, say, the economy. This will align our approach to election ads with long-established practices in media such as TV, radio, and print, and result in election ads being more widely seen and available for public discussion. (Of course, some media, like direct mail, continues to be targeted more granularly.) It will take some time to implement these changes, and we will begin enforcing the new approach in the U.K. within a week (ahead of the General Election), in the EU by the end of the year, and in the rest of the world starting on January 6, 2020.

Clarifying our ads policies

Whether you’re running for office or selling office furniture, we apply the same ads policies to everyone; there are no carve-outs. It’s against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim—whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died. To make this more explicit, we’re clarifying our ads policies and adding examples to show how our policies prohibit things like “deep fakes” (doctored and manipulated media), misleading claims about the census process, and ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process. Of course, we recognize that robust political dialogue is an important part of democracy, and no one can sensibly adjudicate every political claim, counterclaim, and insinuation. So we expect that the number of political ads on which we take action will be very limited—but we will continue to do so for clear violations.

Providing increased transparency

We want the ads we serve to be transparent and widely available so that many voices can debate issues openly. We already offer election advertising transparency in India, in the EU, and for federal U.S. election ads. We provide both in-ad disclosures and a transparency report that shows the actual content of the ads themselves, who paid for them, how much they spent, how many people saw them, and how they were targeted. Starting on December 3, 2019, we’re expanding the coverage of our election advertising transparency to include U.S. state-level candidates and officeholders, ballot measures, and ads that mention federal or state political parties, so that all of those ads will now be searchable and viewable as well. 

We’re also looking at ways to bring additional transparency to the ads we serve and we’ll have additional details to share in the coming months. We look forward to continuing our work in this important area.

Google Ad Grants help a U.K. nonprofit save lives

Editor’s note: Today is World Mental Health Day, a day run by the World Health Organization with the aim of breaking down the stigma of mental health and draw attention to resources and organizations available to help people cope. One of those organizations is Samaritans, which is a recipient of Google Ad Grants

Every six seconds, someone contacts Samaritans in need of support. And for the more than half a million people we reach each year, our more than 20,000 volunteers are here.

Founded in 1953, Samaritans is a U.K.-based organization dedicated to making sure fewer people die by suicide. We provide more than 20,000 volunteers over the phone, by email and face to face. My team manages the digital side, including search, social media, video and email outreach to raise awareness and connect with people who need our services. 

For over 13 years, my team has been a recipient of Google Ad Grants, which provides eligible nonprofits with free Search ads to connect people to causes. We use Ad Grants uniquely to help two types of people: Those struggling to cope with mental health issues, and those trying to help loved ones who are struggling.

People struggling to cope often turn to Google for several reasons: to better understand their symptoms, to find resources or—at worst—with the intent of harming themselves. For some searches with intent to self-harm, Google has a feature that surfaces our help line at the top of results to provide people with resources in their time of need. 

But beyond that, there’s more we can do with ads. Our Ad Grants ads ensure that the many different ways we provide help is front and center for people in need of support. For example, when someone comes to Google struggling to cope themselves, our ads proactively offer resources to get them help and shift the focus toward ways to get better.

The Google Ad Grants program helps us save lives.

Uniquely, Search ads from the Ad Grant also allow us to provide resources to people who want to help others. We run ads targeting people who are looking for information on how to start difficult conversations or how to support friends and family who might need it.

Overall, Google Ad Grants has been a critical tool in supporting our organization’s mission and connecting people to life-saving mental health resources in real time. Our free Search ads have incredible reach and help us drive measurable results in the real world, such as raising awareness of our helpline, driving donations and increasing volunteer signups. All of these results from Ad Grants enable us to serve more people in need.

Last year, our Ad Grants ads were seen 2.6 million times. More than 320,000 people, seeking either support services or expressing interest in volunteering, clicked on our ads. A key part of our success is using free Google tracking tools (such as Analytics and Conversion Tracking) to measure the impact of our ads, learn what support offerings are most desired and see firsthand in our reports how many lives we are touching. Samaritans relies on Google to help us reach hundreds of people a day who are in need and might not otherwise know our services exist. The Google Ad Grants program helps us save lives.

The ad tech industry is crowded and competitive

“Ad tech”—the technology that powers digital advertising on publishers’ sites—is an important part of a healthy web. Google's investments in this space help publishers make money to fund their work, make it easy for businesses large and small to reach consumers, and support the creative and diverse content we all enjoy.

Some critics have claimed to Reuters that the ad tech sector suffers from a lack of competition and that Google’s efforts in this space have come at the expense of publishers. These are not new claims, but various parties are working to spur renewed interest in the topic. 

To suggest that the ad tech sector is lacking competition is simply not true. To the contrary, the industry is famously crowded. There are thousands of companies, large and small, working together and in competition with each other to power digital advertising across the web, each with different specialties and technologies. We compete with lots of other companies in this space, including household names such as Adobe, Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Facebook, Oracle, and Verizon. In just the last few years, many of these companies have bought or introduced new ad tech platforms, each bringing its own unique advantage. Successful companies like Telaria, Rubicon Project and The Trade Desk are less familiar to consumers but are publicly traded leaders. Other private but sizable platforms in the industry include Index Exchange, MediaMath and OpenX.

Competition is flourishing, and publishers and marketers have enormous choice. In a study this year of 155 major digital publishers, Advertiser Perceptions found that the average publisher uses six supply-side platforms (SSPs), an ad tech product that helps them sell ads on its website, and will likely use eight next year. 

Advertisers likewise have lots of options. The average advertiser uses 3.7 demand-side platforms (DSPs) simultaneously; in fact, Amazon’s DSP now enjoys wider adoption than Google’s, a position they achieved in less than two years, according to third-party estimates

In the past decade, we’ve built products that foster competition. Our tools and platforms make it easy for advertisers and publishers of all sizes to choose whom they want to work with in this open, interconnected ad system. Publishers use our technology to access demand from hundreds of partners, of which Google is just one source. Advertisers use our technology to buy ad space on more than 80 exchanges.

By anyone’s reasonable definition, this represents a healthy marketplace.

Publishers face numerous challenges, including the explosion in the number of news sources and the transition of advertising to digital delivery. To look at all the challenges the industry faces, plus the extreme level of competition, and say the problem is a lack of choice in advertising technology is to misunderstand the roots of the issue.

We understand people have questions about our business. It’s been widely reviewed by many regulators in the past, and we're happy to answer any questions about these issues.

Most importantly, we'll continue our work to contribute to the open web and the access to information that advertising supports. We know that publishers and marketers are using hundreds of other technology partners, and we'll continue to compete for business fairly alongside them.