Tag Archives: AdWords

Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketing

Changes in consumer behavior have always resulted in adjustments to marketing strategies. COVID-19 has shown how quickly consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior can shift—and with it, an ebb and flow in demand for products and services. Despite these changes, consumer expectations for businesses and brands remain high. In fact, 78 percent of people surveyed say brands should show how they can be helpful in the new everyday life.1

Adjusting your media buying and the way your business shows up in these dynamic conditions is difficult, especially when some businesses are having to manage twice the complexity with half the capacity. Today, we’ll explore the unique role automation can play in helping you respond to the impact of COVID-19 in real time.


Get the most out of your budget

As conditions change, so do auction dynamics. Communities are in various stages of response to COVID-19 and the things people care about are rapidly shifting. This influences things like location, mobile browsing habits, conversions, and other variables that impact ad performance. It’s in this constant sea of change where Smart Bidding can help.

Smart Bidding (also available as Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360) uses machine learning to automatically calculate bids for each and every auction. Utilizing signals like location, search query, and conversion data, Smart Bidding can optimize bids in real time to hit your performance goal even as query and conversion volume fluctuates. 

It’s important to note that unpredictable changes in conversion rates, for example: shifts in conversion cycles, cancellation or return rates, are challenging for any bid automation tool. Under these conditions, consider adjusting your cost per acquisition or return on ad spend targets to ensure the best allocation of your budget. For additional flexibility, consider shared budgets and portfolio bid strategies which are effective ways to automatically adjust bids and move spend across campaigns based on performance.


Reach new and existing customers

From flour to at-home workouts to studying at home, the things people are searching for and how they’re searching for them is evolving. It can be difficult to identify where consumers’ attention and demand is shifting while ensuring you have the right query coverage. Dynamic Search Ads are an easy way to reach customers who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Using the content on your website, Dynamic Search Ads automatically delivers relevant ads with headlines and landing pages that are specific to the user’s query. So as consumer behavior shifts, you can ensure your Search ads are adjusting in real time to meet that demand, all while saving time.

Another way to find keyword opportunities is through the Recommendations page. "Keywords & Targeting" recommendations help you identify new trends that are relevant to your business. In fact, more than 16 million keyword recommendations in Google Ads are based on market trends alone, with new ones added every day. Consider adding keywords that are projected to drive additional traffic beyond your existing ones, or pausing keywords that are performing poorly.

Once you’ve applied the recommendations that make the most sense for your business, keep an eye on your optimization score. Each recommendation comes with a score uplift, and historically we’ve seen that advertisers who have increased their score by 10 points saw a 10 percent increase in conversions on average. You can quickly check for new recommendations using the Google Ads mobile app.


Optimization.gif

Google Ads mobile app

Show up with the right message

COVID-19 has not only disrupted business operations, like inventory and shipping, but has also impacted the way businesses communicate with customers. As conditions change week to week and community to community, it’s critical to adjust how you’re communicating and interacting with your customers at scale.

Responsive search ads and responsive display ads enable you to make updates to your Search and Display ads at scale, respectively. Using multiple creative assets, like headlines and descriptions, responsive search ads and responsive display ads automatically identify the best combination of assets in order to deliver an ad that’s likely to perform best. For responsive search ads, you can also pin critical information like modified support options or updated business hours to ensure it shows with your ads. If you're seeing an increase in call volume, or your business is operating on limited hours or staffing, call ads (formally known as call-only ads) now also include an optional “Visit website” link. This gives your customers more flexibility in how they connect with your business.

When it comes to adjusting the messages in your video ads, time and resources are limiting factors right now. Rather than starting from scratch, consider using Video Builder. It’s a free beta tool that animates static assets—images, text and logos—with music from YouTube’s audio library. You can choose from a variety of layouts based on your message and goals, customize colors and font, and quickly generate a short YouTube video.


Know what’s working

As the world moves from responding to recovering from this crisis, it’s important you have the right tools available to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business. Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced improvements to attribution in Google Ads to help you understand your Google media better.

A new look for attribution reports helps you quickly see how customers are engaging with your ads so you can select the right attribution model for your business. One model, data-driven attribution, uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each click along the customer journey. This ensures your media strategy is accounting for changes in consumer behavior during times of crisis. And with more people turning to YouTube during this pandemic, you can use cross-network reports (currently in beta) to understand how customers interact with your Search, Shopping, and YouTube ads—including clicks and video engagements—before converting.


Helpful resources for managing your campaigns

We’ve created a single destination for product guidance and business considerations when managing your campaigns through COVID-19. You can find the full list of guides and checklists here. We’ll continue updating and adding more through the rest of the year.

In early June, we’ll also be launching The Update on Think with Google: a new video series to share the latest insights, news, best practices, and products. Enjoy this sneak peek, and stay tuned.


1.  Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer Global Report, Wave2, 50 countries, n=9,815, fielded 27th-30th March

Source: Google Ads


Make the best of YouTube yours with YouTube Select

Helping you connect with your audience is our top priority. This is especially important as digital takes precedence in how we interact, communicate and stay connected.

To make this even easier for your brand, today we’re announcing a new global content solution called YouTube Select—a reimagination and unification of solutions like Google Preferred and prime packs. It offers more flexibility to reach the audiences you can’t find elsewhere in the content and places they choose to watch—with the confidence that your buy is brand-safe.  


More content for greater relevance at scale

Viewers say YouTube offers the most extensive video library.1 To help you find the right content for your brand, YouTube Select surfaces a diverse mix of content packages called lineups—each tailored to globally and locally relevant needs like beauty & fashion, entertainment, technology, sports and everything in between.

This year, we’re introducing a new offering called emerging lineups in the U.S. Emerging lineups provide an easy way to efficiently extend the reach of your campaigns among up and coming or niche channels, with the added benefit of brand suitability controls. 

Beyond our lineups offerings, YouTube Select can now help advertisers reach new audiences across top YouTube apps and verticals like YouTube Kids, Sports, Music and Originals with sponsorships and programs. Across markets, advertisers should work with their local teams to customize the right YouTube Select plan for their needs.


More capabilities for the TV screen, and how you buy

Around the world, people are turning more and more to YouTube on the biggest screen in their home. This shift in viewing behavior means lineups contain more TV screen inventory than ever before.

For example in the U.S., over 100 million people watch YouTube and YouTube TV on their TV screen each month.2  And according to Comscore, YouTube has a higher household reach and share of watch time than the next 3 ad-supported streaming services combined.3  

That’s why we’re introducing a dedicated streaming TV lineup as part of YouTube Select in the U.S. to help brands reach their audiences where they are watching. Streaming TV combines the best of YouTube TV and lineups content, both on TV screens. That means being able to easily reach your audience with a single, scalable offering on the big screen across the best content, including popular creators, YouTube Originals, live sports, feature length movies, timely news and more.

We also recently announced Brand Lift measurement on TV screens, which will be available globally for the YouTube app and coming soon for YouTube TV, to better help brands measure their results.

In addition to more capabilities on the TV screen, we are also bringing more choice to how you buy. Many countries, including most across Europe and Asia-Pacific, are making certain YouTube Select lineups available via Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and reservation. Connect with your Google sales team to learn more about the buying methods available in your region.


More certainty in your campaigns

With YouTube Select, you can be confident that your ad buys are brand-safe. You’ll have access to advanced brand suitability controls, as well as the option to only serve ads on videos that have been machine classified and human-verified across all lineups (lineup/market dependent).


Harriet Perry, General Manager at OMG Digital says "For Omnicom Media Group UK, the ability to build relevant and customized content plans to support the unique needs of each of our clients is critical. The YouTube Select product will allow us to achieve this, and will also provide us added controls like human verification and brand measurement. Additionally, we are excited about YouTube Select’s audience and scale on OTT/connected TV devices, which will be a core part of our overall connected TV strategy."

With more content, capabilities and certainty, YouTube Select offers an easier way for you to authentically connect with your audience at scale. Most importantly, YouTube Select helps drive real results for your business. In 2019, global lineups delivered an average awareness lift of 13 percent and an average purchase intent lift of 9 percent.4 And in an MMM meta-analysis we commissioned with Nielsen in the U.S., YouTube Select lineups had greater ROI than TV in 73 percent of MMMs that measured YouTube Select lineups, Other Digital, and TV in 2016-2018.5


Make the best of YouTube yours with YouTube Select. 

Explore YouTube Select programming on our website. Connect with your Google sales team to learn more about YouTube Select offerings and rollout timing in your region.



1. Google/Talkshoppe, US, whyVideo study, n=2000 A18-64 Genpop video users, Feb 2020

2. YouTube Internal Data, US, March 2020

3. Comscore OTT Intelligence, Oct. 2019, US

4. YouTube Select Brand Lift (formerly Google Preferred lineups), 2019, Global

5. Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2016-2018. Base: a list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain YouTube Select Lineups (formerly Google Preferred), Other Digital, and TV results. This list includes 45 studies for US Brands across all CPG categories. ROI is “Retail ROI,” defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters.

Source: Google Ads


Navigating the road ahead: How consumers are adjusting to COVID-19

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live our lives and how we connect with the world around us. Things like social distancing, curbside pickup, and at-home workouts are now commonplace. The necessary measures taken to manage the pandemic have not only disrupted the global economy, but have also altered consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior. These shifts are constant and they’re happening rapidly—and we want to help you navigate them. Today, we’ll share five key trends we’re seeing and provide helpful resources for adjusting your media strategy.


What’s changing with consumers?

As of this week, there are over four billion people staying home worldwide. And while we don’t know how or when this crisis will resolve, we do have new insight into how people’s needs and behaviors are changing:

People are using multiple devices to go online at unprecedented levels.

Connecting with the world online is more important than ever right now, with at-home media consumption increasing dramatically and influencing all aspects of life.

  • In the U.S., staying home has led to a 60 percent increase in the amount of content watched. Americans are watching roughly 12 hours of media content a day, according to Nielsen data.

  • Consumers across the globe are spending 20 percent more time in apps and games than they did a year ago and app usage in China grew to five hours/day on average (+30 percent year over year), according to App Annie.


People are turning to Google for important information and content to meet their essential needs.

With businesses adapting to delivery or online models, people are looking for clear, specific information about where, how, and when they can get what they need.

  • According to internal data, searches for “food delivery services” have grown globally by more than 300 percent year over year.
  • Americans are watching videos related to recipes and cooking at a rate 31 percent higher than they did the same time last year.
  • According to internal data, searches for “online pharmacy” have grown globally by more than 100 percent year over year.


People are discovering new connections and nurturing relationships (virtually).

Even as people physically distance themselves, they’re using technology in new ways to connect with each other.

  • 50 percent of U.S. consumers said they have used video to communicate with family and friends. In fact, as of April, Google Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding nearly 3 million new users every day.

  • On YouTube, we’ve seen a rise in “with me” videos, where people film themselves going about ordinary tasks like cleaning and cooking. In the US, views of videos containing “study with me” in the title are 54 percent higher compared to the same period last year.


People are adjusting routines to be at-home-first.

As daily routines and schedules adjust to new realities, so have online and at-home habits.

  • Search interest for “telecommuting” in the U.S. reached an all-time high on Google and YouTube in mid-March, and continues to grow with no sign of slowing down.
  • Workout routines have changed. There’s growing search interest for “stationary bicycle” worldwide since the beginning of the year, especially in Spain and France, and “dumbbell set” in the UK.


People are practicing self-care more. 

People are focused on taking care of their own physical and psychological needs, in addition to those of friends and loved ones.

  • People are turning to online video for help in coping with anxiety and stress. So far in the U.S. this year, views of meditation-related videos are 51 percent higher than the same period in 2019.

  • Parents and students are turning to YouTube to adapt to school closures and at-home education. According to YouTube data, average daily views of videos with “homeschool” or “home school” in the title have increased more than 120 percent globally since March 2020.

  • People are searching for things to do when they’re bored. Searches for “bored” spiked significantly in March, and search interest for “games,” “puzzles,” and “coloring books” have increased since the beginning of the year.


As consumer behavior continues to change, consumer demand will continue to rise and fall. Earlier this month, we introduced the rising retail categories tool on Think with Google to help you gain insight into what consumers are shopping for right now. The tool surfaces the fastest rising retail categories on Google Search, the geographies where they’re growing, and the queries associated with them.

Retail Category Mobile View_Option 3_V4.jpg

Rising retail categories

If you’re not a retail business, Google Trends is an alternative tool for uncovering emerging consumer trends—learn more here.

Helpful resources for managing your campaigns

It’s important to understand the potential impact of changes in consumer behavior on your business. As you evolve your short and long-term digital marketing strategies, we want to be there to help. That’s why we’ve created a single destination for product guidance and business considerations for managing your campaigns through COVID-19. Explore the full list of guides and checklists here, or reference the checklists below. We’ll continue updating and adding more in the coming months.



Change is a constant

While we don’t know how or when the crisis will resolve, we do know that remaining flexible and adapting to the needs of your customers is critical. So as we navigate this crisis together, take time to reevaluate your business priorities, explore new approaches, and continue connecting with your customers in a meaningful way.


Source: Google Ads


Promote curbside pickup in your local inventory ads

In today’s rapidly changing environment, people are looking for real-time updates when it comes to store information and product availability. Searches for “in-stock” grew more than 70 percent globally from the week of March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to avoid ecommerce shipping delays. We’re here to help you connect local shoppers with the products they need quickly, and promote your safer fulfillment options, like in-store and curbside pickup.

Using local inventory ads, retailers can show users that the products they are searching for are available for nearby store pickup. Now, you can indicate if you offer curbside pickup, right in your local inventory ads. This feature is available in the countries where local inventory ads have launched: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S.

Local inventory curbside pickup

The curbside pickup badge can show on products available for store pickup

Petco is using the curbside pickup badge to highlight contactless pickup availability on essential products like pet food and supplies that are available nearby for same-day or next-day pickup. “As a trusted partner in caring for the overall health and wellness of pets, we’re committed to ensuring pet parents have the essential products they need during this time,” said Jay Altschuler, Petco Vice President of Media Transformation. “To make shopping easier and safer for both pet parents and our own employees, we’ve proudly made a number of changes including launching curbside pickup at most Petco stores nationwide.”

The local inventory ads curbside pickup badge is currently in beta and available to advertisers who have completed the onboarding for store pickup. Reach out to your account team if you’re interested in including curbside pickup in your ads, or complete this form.

If you aren’t running local inventory ads, you can still let customers know whether your store offers pickup, delivery, or curbside pickup. Using Google My Business, you can add or edit attributes to your Business Profile that appear on Search and Maps. This is available globally.

Curbside.png

Show whether your store offers curbside pickup or delivery in your Business Profile

For additional help navigating your retail business through COVID-19, download our Retail Guide.

Source: Google Ads


Promote curbside pickup in your local inventory ads

In today’s rapidly changing environment, people are looking for real-time updates when it comes to store information and product availability. Searches for “in-stock” grew more than 70 percent globally from the week of March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to avoid ecommerce shipping delays. We’re here to help you connect local shoppers with the products they need quickly, and promote your safer fulfillment options, like in-store and curbside pickup.

Using local inventory ads, retailers can show users that the products they are searching for are available for nearby store pickup. Now, you can indicate if you offer curbside pickup, right in your local inventory ads. This feature is available in the countries where local inventory ads have launched: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S.

Local inventory curbside pickup

The curbside pickup badge can show on products available for store pickup

Petco is using the curbside pickup badge to highlight contactless pickup availability on essential products like pet food and supplies that are available nearby for same-day or next-day pickup. “As a trusted partner in caring for the overall health and wellness of pets, we’re committed to ensuring pet parents have the essential products they need during this time,” said Jay Altschuler, Petco Vice President of Media Transformation. “To make shopping easier and safer for both pet parents and our own employees, we’ve proudly made a number of changes including launching curbside pickup at most Petco stores nationwide.”

The local inventory ads curbside pickup badge is currently in beta and available to advertisers who have completed the onboarding for store pickup. Reach out to your account team if you’re interested in including curbside pickup in your ads, or complete this form.

If you aren’t running local inventory ads, you can still let customers know whether your store offers pickup, delivery, or curbside pickup. Using Google My Business, you can add or edit attributes to your Business Profile that appear on Search and Maps. This is available globally.

Curbside.png

Show whether your store offers curbside pickup or delivery in your Business Profile

For additional help navigating your retail business through COVID-19, download our Retail Guide.

Source: Google Ads


New YouTube features to help you navigate the streaming boom

Viewer attention is shifting dramatically as we spend more time at home–and we’ve heard directly from many advertisers that are working quickly to adjust their creative and media strategies, especially to orient toward streaming platforms.

Today, we are sharing new advertiser insights and accelerating the launch of a number of tools–including Brand Lift measurement on the TV screen and more flexible formats for content casted onto the TV screen–to help advertisers navigate this rapidly changing environment.1


People are streaming on TV screens more than ever

As people spend more time at home, we’re seeing major shifts in streaming viewership. A recent Comscore report highlighted that over 70 million US households are now streaming content on their connected TV screens.

Nowhere is this shift more pronounced than on YouTube and YouTube TV. According to Comscore, YouTube has the highest reach and viewing hours among ad-supported streaming services, and represents a quarter of all streaming watch time across both subscription and ad-supported platforms in the US.2 Stay at home directives have amplified this shift to the TV screens, as overall watch time there has jumped 80 percent year over year in March 2020.3

Diversity of viewer passions and interests is what inspires people to stream YouTube on their big screens–from tuning into their favorite health and fitness videos to leaning back with a creator sharing a bit of their world to watching more traditional media outlets reinvent their content for this new reality.

Below, we’ve shared just a few of the top content growth areas across both YouTube and YouTube TV on TV screens during this time. While people are enjoying movies and shows to unwind, they are also watching live content from their favorite creators and cultural moments.


31935_YT content growth graphic_v12.png

People are also gravitating to the consistently new and fresh content YouTube creators put out every day. In fact, over 60 percent of signed-in viewers of YouTube on TV screens watched a video published in the last 7 days.4

And, we see different user behavior when people engage with YouTube on the TV screen–it's often enjoyed with others, unlike the more individual experience on the mobile device. In a recent custom Nielsen study commissioned by Google, we found that 26 percent of the time, multiple 18+ viewers are watching YouTube together on the TV screen, compared to 22 percent on linear TV.5  


Making it easier to measure results across YouTube streaming platforms

With increases in watch time and an influx of daily visitors, brands in a position to continue marketing can make their budgets go further on YouTube by expanding their strategies to incorporate streaming.

With media mixes becoming increasingly reliant on streaming, it’s more important than ever to measure its impact. As a result, we’re accelerating the launch of Brand Lift for YouTube on TV screens. For viewers, this means surveys are now optimized for the big screen and interactivity with a TV remote, so people can easily respond or skip the survey.


yt survey.gif

This will enable marketers to make informed decisions about ad performance, and better optimize streaming campaigns in real time whether they are using Google Ads or Display & Video 360 for both reservation and auction campaigns.

Whether a campaign is focused on ad recall, purchase intent or awareness, Brand Lift will help make budgets go further. It will be available in the coming weeks for the YouTube app, and in early Q3 for YouTube TV. 


Bringing more formats to the big screen

As viewers spend more time watching YouTube on the TV screen, we are continuing to evolve to help advertisers better reach their customers where they are.

Late last year, we launched the YouTube Masthead on TV screens to help advertisers drive awareness with a large audience in a single moment. Advertisers like Uber are seeing success using this format to reach their audiences when they’re in lean back mode and where they are increasingly spending their time.

Travis Freeman, Global Head of Media at Uber said, “The Masthead on TV screens has been a critical component to build awareness for our #MoveWhatMatters initiative—which offers 10 million free rides and food deliveries for frontline healthcare workers, seniors and people in need. The Masthead, deployed in both the US and Canada, enabled us to easily amplify our message and reach our audiences where they are watching now more than ever.”

Uber-Masthead-03.gif

This year, we’re also bringing more format flexibility to streaming by introducing the popular skippable ad format for content that is casted onto the TV screen. As casting watch time soared by over 75 percent year over year,6 this provides advertisers a new way to reach their audience as they embrace the evolving ways consumers are watching their favorite content.

In a time when an eager audience is hungry for new content, YouTube is able to deliver fresh video to households across the world daily—within the niche or mainstream categories they love. By accelerating new tools and features, we’re committed to helping you grow your business in the changing world of viewership and streaming on TV screens. 

Reach out to your Google sales team to learn more about YouTube and YouTube TV on TV screens, and the new features shared today to support your campaigns.


1. TV screens include all consumption on Smart or Connected TV’s, TV streaming devices, game consoles and set-top boxes

2. Comscore OTT Intelligence, Oct. 2019, U.S

3.  YouTube Internal Data; US, March 2020 over March 2019 YoY

4. YouTube Internal Data; Global, March 11-April 10 2020

5. 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

6. YouTube Internal Data; Global, March 11-April 10 2020 over March 11-April 10 2019 YoY

Source: Google Ads


What’s trending: understanding rising consumer interests

Since COVID-19 began, we’ve heard from our retail and brand manufacturing partners that they’re hungry for more insights on how consumer interests are changing, given fluctuations in consumer demand. We see these changes reflected in how people are searching on Google. Last month, there were spikes in search interest for household supplies and jigsaw puzzles as people spent more time at home. This month we’ve seen surging interest for sewing machines and baking materials in the U.S., and tetherball sets and chalk in the United Kingdom and Australia. 

Businesses are using a variety of resources to understand changing consumer interests—including Google Trends, social listening, surveys, and their own data—in order to help make decisions on the fly. But if they don’t know what to look for, there isn’t an easy way to understand which product categories are gaining in popularity, and might pose an opportunity.

That’s why we’re launching a rising retail categories tool on Think with Google. It surfaces fast-growing, product-related categories in Google Search, the locations where they’re growing, and the queries associated with them. This is the first time we’ve provided this type of insight on the product categories that people are searching for. 

Rising Retail Categories

When we previewed the data with a group of businesses, they had lots of creative ideas for how they might apply it—whether for content creation, promotional efforts, or even new products and services. Here were some of their ideas for how it could help:

  • Content creation: A cookware company noticed that “flour” was a growing category in the United States. The team was inspired to explore partnering with a famous local chef to create engaging content about recipes that incorporate flour. 
  • Promotion: A jewelry and accessories company noted rising interest in products in the “free weights” category, so the team thought they might partner with fitness influencers who could help promote their products. Similarly, an online business said it would regularly reference the data to inform which products to feature on its homepage throughout the pandemic. 

  • Product ideas: An apparel company with a fast and flexible production model said its team would use this data to inspire new product line ideas.

For the next few months, we’ll update the tool with fresh data every day and hope this will help businesses of all sizes find new pockets of consumer interest. For additional resources and insights, sign up for the Think with Google newsletter. 

Source: Google Ads


Stopping bad ads to protect users

People trust Google when they’re looking for information, and we’re committed to ensuring they can trust the ads they see on our platforms, too. This commitment is especially important in times of uncertainty, such as the past few months as the world has confronted COVID-19. 


Responding to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve closely monitored advertiser behavior to protect users from ads looking to take advantage of the crisis. These often come from sophisticated actors attempting to evade our enforcement systems with advanced tactics. For example, as the situation evolved, we saw a sharp spike in fraudulent ads for in-demand products like face masks. These ads promoted products listed significantly above market price, misrepresented the product quality to trick people into making a purchase or were placed by merchants who never fulfilled the orders. 

We have a dedicated COVID-19 task force that’s been working around the clock. They have built new detection technology and have also improved our existing enforcement systems to stop bad actors. These concerted efforts are working. We’ve blocked and removed tens of millions of coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits.

Simultaneously, the coronavirus has become an important and enduring topic in everyday conversation and we’re working on ways to allow advertisers across industries to share relevant updates with their audiences. Over the past several weeks, for example, we’ve specifically helped NGOs, governments, hospitals and healthcare providers run PSAs. We continue to take a measured approach to adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information from trusted advertisers.


Preserving the integrity of the ecosystem

Preserving the integrity of the ads on our platforms, as we’re doing during the COVID-19 outbreak, is a continuation of the work we do every day to minimize content that violates our policies and stop malicious actors. We have thousands of people working across our teams to make sure we’re protecting our users and enabling a safe ecosystem for advertisers and publishers, and each year we share a summary of the work we’ve done.

In 2019, we blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads—that’s more than 5,000 bad ads per minute. We also suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations. On the publisher side, we terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages that are part of our publisher network for violating our policies. Terminating accounts—not just removing an individual ad or page—is an especially effective enforcement tool that we use if advertisers or publishers engage in egregious policy violations or have a history of violating policy.

2.7 billion taken down.gif

Improving enforcement against phishing and "trick-to-click" ads 

If we find specific categories of ads are more prone to abuse, we prioritize our resources to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of users. One of the areas that we’ve become familiar with is phishing, a common practice used by deceptive players to collect personal information from users under false pretenses. For example, in 2019 we saw more bad actors targeting people seeking to renew their passport. These ads mimicked real ads for renewal sites but their actual intent was to get users to provide sensitive information such as their social security or credit card number. Another common area of abuse is “trick-to-click” ads—which are designed to trick people into interacting with them by using prominent links (for example, “click here”) often designed to look like computer or mobile phone system warnings.

Because we’ve come to expect certain recurring categories like phishing and “trick-to-click,” we’re able to more effectively fight them. In 2019, we assembled an internal team to track the patterns and signals of these types of fraudulent advertisers so we could identify and remove their ads faster. As a result, we saw nearly a 50 percent decrease of bad ads served in both categories from the previous year. In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019.

Top Offenders.png

Adapting our policies and technology in real time

Certain industries are particularly susceptible to malicious behavior. For example, as more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, we identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms. To combat this, we broadened our policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app so that users can make informed decisions. This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of these types of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018. 

At the end of last year, we also introduced a certification program for debt management advertisers in select countries that offer to negotiate with creditors to remedy debt or credit problems. We know users looking for help with this are often at their most vulnerable and we want to create a safe experience for them. This new program ensures we’re only allowing advertisers who are registered by the local regulatory agencies to serve ads for this type of service. We’re continuing to explore ways to scale this program to more countries to match local finance regulations. 


Looking forward

Maintaining trust in the digital advertising ecosystem is a top priority for Google. And with global health concerns now top of mind for everyone, preparing for and responding to attempts to take advantage of our users is as important as it has ever been. We know abuse tactics will continue evolving and new societal issues will arise. We'll continue to make sure we’re protecting our users, advertisers and publishers from bad actors across our advertising platforms. 

Source: Google Ads


Stopping bad ads to protect users

People trust Google when they’re looking for information, and we’re committed to ensuring they can trust the ads they see on our platforms, too. This commitment is especially important in times of uncertainty, such as the past few months as the world has confronted COVID-19. 


Responding to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve closely monitored advertiser behavior to protect users from ads looking to take advantage of the crisis. These often come from sophisticated actors attempting to evade our enforcement systems with advanced tactics. For example, as the situation evolved, we saw a sharp spike in fraudulent ads for in-demand products like face masks. These ads promoted products listed significantly above market price, misrepresented the product quality to trick people into making a purchase or were placed by merchants who never fulfilled the orders. 

We have a dedicated COVID-19 task force that’s been working around the clock. They have built new detection technology and have also improved our existing enforcement systems to stop bad actors. These concerted efforts are working. We’ve blocked and removed tens of millions of coronavirus-related ads over the past few months for policy violations including price-gouging, capitalizing on global medical supply shortages, making misleading claims about cures and promoting illegitimate unemployment benefits.

Simultaneously, the coronavirus has become an important and enduring topic in everyday conversation and we’re working on ways to allow advertisers across industries to share relevant updates with their audiences. Over the past several weeks, for example, we’ve specifically helped NGOs, governments, hospitals and healthcare providers run PSAs. We continue to take a measured approach to adjusting our enforcement to ensure that we are protecting users while prioritizing critical information from trusted advertisers.


Preserving the integrity of the ecosystem

Preserving the integrity of the ads on our platforms, as we’re doing during the COVID-19 outbreak, is a continuation of the work we do every day to minimize content that violates our policies and stop malicious actors. We have thousands of people working across our teams to make sure we’re protecting our users and enabling a safe ecosystem for advertisers and publishers, and each year we share a summary of the work we’ve done.

In 2019, we blocked and removed 2.7 billion bad ads—that’s more than 5,000 bad ads per minute. We also suspended nearly 1 million advertiser accounts for policy violations. On the publisher side, we terminated over 1.2 million accounts and removed ads from over 21 million web pages that are part of our publisher network for violating our policies. Terminating accounts—not just removing an individual ad or page—is an especially effective enforcement tool that we use if advertisers or publishers engage in egregious policy violations or have a history of violating policy.

2.7 billion taken down.gif

Improving enforcement against phishing and "trick-to-click" ads 

If we find specific categories of ads are more prone to abuse, we prioritize our resources to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of users. One of the areas that we’ve become familiar with is phishing, a common practice used by deceptive players to collect personal information from users under false pretenses. For example, in 2019 we saw more bad actors targeting people seeking to renew their passport. These ads mimicked real ads for renewal sites but their actual intent was to get users to provide sensitive information such as their social security or credit card number. Another common area of abuse is “trick-to-click” ads—which are designed to trick people into interacting with them by using prominent links (for example, “click here”) often designed to look like computer or mobile phone system warnings.

Because we’ve come to expect certain recurring categories like phishing and “trick-to-click,” we’re able to more effectively fight them. In 2019, we assembled an internal team to track the patterns and signals of these types of fraudulent advertisers so we could identify and remove their ads faster. As a result, we saw nearly a 50 percent decrease of bad ads served in both categories from the previous year. In total, we blocked more than 35 million phishing ads and 19 million “trick-to-click” ads in 2019.

Top Offenders.png

Adapting our policies and technology in real time

Certain industries are particularly susceptible to malicious behavior. For example, as more consumers turn to online financial services over brick and mortar locations, we identified an increase in personal loan ads with misleading information on lending terms. To combat this, we broadened our policy to only allow loan-related ads to run if the advertiser clearly states all fees, risks and benefits on their website or app so that users can make informed decisions. This updated policy enabled us to take down 9.6 million of these types of bad ads in 2019, doubling our number from 2018. 

At the end of last year, we also introduced a certification program for debt management advertisers in select countries that offer to negotiate with creditors to remedy debt or credit problems. We know users looking for help with this are often at their most vulnerable and we want to create a safe experience for them. This new program ensures we’re only allowing advertisers who are registered by the local regulatory agencies to serve ads for this type of service. We’re continuing to explore ways to scale this program to more countries to match local finance regulations. 


Looking forward

Maintaining trust in the digital advertising ecosystem is a top priority for Google. And with global health concerns now top of mind for everyone, preparing for and responding to attempts to take advantage of our users is as important as it has ever been. We know abuse tactics will continue evolving and new societal issues will arise. We'll continue to make sure we’re protecting our users, advertisers and publishers from bad actors across our advertising platforms. 

Source: Google Ads


Increasing transparency through advertiser identity verification

We’re committed to giving our users transparency, choice and control when it comes to the ads they see on our platforms. That’s why we’ve long offered tools like Ad Settings which allows people to control how ads are personalized or even opt out of personalized ads altogether, as well as features like Why this ad? which helps explain why a specific ad is being shown. Now, we’re working to bring additional transparency into the advertiser behind the ads people see.

In 2018, we announced a new identity verification policy for political advertisers. The policy requires all advertisers that want to run election ads on our platforms go through a verification program to confirm their identity. We display that identity in the ad unit so that users can learn more about the election ads they see on Google’s platforms. Since introducing this program, we’ve verified political advertisers in 30 countries. And now, to provide greater transparency and equip users with more information about who is advertising to them, we are extending identity verification to all advertisers on our platforms.

As part of this initiative, advertisers will be required to complete a verification program in order to buy ads on our network. Advertisers will need to submit personal identification, business incorporation documents or other information that proves who they are and the country in which they operate. Beginning this summer, users will start to see disclosures that list this information about the advertiser behind the ads they see.

Identity Verification.png

This change will make it easier for people to understand who the advertiser is behind the ads they see from Google and help them make more informed decisions when using our advertising controls. It will also help support the health of the digital advertising ecosystem by detecting bad actors and limiting their attempts to misrepresent themselves.

We will start by verifying advertisers in phases in the U.S. and continue to expand globally. Because we are working closely with our advertising partners to scale the program while continuing to ensure we are surfacing helpful information to our users, we expect that this process will take a few years to complete. Advertisers can learn more about the identity verification program here

At Google, our goal is to make more information about the ad experience universally available and accessible. Broadening our verification policy is the next step in reaching that goal. We’ll continue to look for additional ways to increase transparency in ads for our users. Stay tuned for more updates on our blog.

Source: Google Ads