Tag Archives: Google Ads

Building for the future: Google Marketing Livestream May 27, 2021

Text says "Register now. Thursday, May 27 at 8 a.m. PT

Businesses play a critical role in helping our communities thrive. As the world around us continues to change, our commitment to you remains the same: helping you grow your business and meet the needs of today’s consumers.

Many of you — who run businesses large and small, around the world — have shared what you need from partners like Google to be successful. We heard you. So we’ve been busy building new solutions to help you be ready for what comes next. 

Join us on May 27 at 8 a.m. PT for Google Marketing Livestream 2021 — a virtual keynote where we’ll announce new products and share the latest trends and insights. You’ll also hear from industry leaders who have transformed their businesses to adapt to the new realities.

It’s a virtual experience like no other. 

Register now to get a front row seat. And join the conversation at #GML2021.

Gif says: Building for the future of digital marketing, measurement, commerce, privacy

Privacy-first web advertising: a measurement update

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

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

Conversion measurement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources

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

Video experiments boost creative performance on YouTube

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

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

Keep up with the pace of change

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

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

Improve creative and business results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local is now digital: Understanding the new local shopper

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how consumers shop worldwide; they rely more on the Internet to research and discover products to buy. For example, 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. To make it easier for consumers to discover top products and the best places to buy them, Google launched the Best Things for Everything Guide.

We’ve seen that shoppers don’t just turn to Google for things they want to buy on the web; they also use Google to find what they need nearby. Over the past year, we’ve seen a significant increase in commercial intent across Google including Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube.

Finding what’s nearby on Google Search

Whether it's to support small businesses in their community or ensure a nearby store has the item they need in stock, consumers are using Google Search to thoughtfully research their shopping trips in advance. 

  • Searches for “local” + “business(es)” have grown by more than 80% year over year, including searches like “local businesses near me” and “support local businesses.”
  • Searches for “who has” + “in stock” have grown by more than 8,000% year over, including searches like “who has nintendo switch in stock” and “who has gym equipment in stock.”

Icon of a blue rising arrow over a store icon. Text says: "Searches for "who has" + "in stock" have grown by over 8000% year over year in the U.S.

Beyond retail searches, we’ve seen an increase in online research before heading out to a restaurant or to get takeout. At Google, we recently found that:

  • Two out of three dining consumers said they used search to find food and beverage information during the pandemic.
  • Fifty-seven percent of dining consumers said they discovered food and beverage information during the pandemic via online ads.

Exploring new products on YouTube

YouTube has become a critical part of not just the shopping process, but the local shopping process too. In a recent U.S. Google/Talkshoppe study, we found that:

  • Forty-five percent of viewers say they watch YouTube to see a product demo before buying.
  • Viewers say they are 2x more likely to go in-store or online to buy something they saw on YouTube versus the competitive average.

Starting their journey on Google Maps

Google Maps has become a more critical part of the local user experience, as people use Maps to explore something they’re interested in, versus just for navigation:

  • Searches on Google Maps for “curbside pickup” have increased 9000% year over year in the U.S.
  • Searches on Google Maps for "discounts" have grown globally by more than 100% year over year.
  • Searches on Google Maps for "gift shop" have grown globally by more than 60% year over year.

Map icon. Text says: Searches in Google Maps for "curbside pickup" have increased 9000% year over year in the U.S.


Visits to local stores and restaurants continue to be top of mind in the new year:

Top Generic Searches on Google Maps:

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • restaurants near me
  • gas
  • food
  • food near me
  • grocery store
  • gas station
  • coffee
  • pizza

Top Brands Searched on Google Maps:

  • walmart
  • starbucks
  • home depot
  • target
  • mcdonald's
  • costco
  • chick fil a
  • walgreens
  • cvs
  • bank of america
Source: Google Data, U.S., February 2021

Connect these shoppers to your store

Every month in 2020, Google helped drive over two billion direct connections, including phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings and reviews for U.S. businesses.

If you run a business with physical stores, it's crucial to make sure your customers can easily find you online. Check our new best practices guide on how to drive offline sales with online ads.

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)

Irish retailers can build an online presence with Pointy

As a Dublin native who started a company to help small retailers get online, I’ve seen local retailers adapt to many situations. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has brought challenges unlike any other, and we’ve seen it directly affect many of our favorite local shops.

Due to lockdown restrictions, it’s become critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to be visible online. I also know firsthand how helpful it is to be able to search online and see what a store has in stock prior to heading out of the house. 

But sharing in-store inventory online can be challenging for smaller businesses, as they may not have the resources to build and maintain an e-commerce platform. Pointy from Google meets that need by creating an online presence for these retailers to help them showcase their product offering and potentially reach new customers. 

Starting today for a limited time, Pointy from Google will offer free Pointy devices to qualifying small and medium retailers in Ireland, enabling them to display their in-store products online. Irish retailers who connect with Pointy within the next six months will also get €100 ad credit to trial Pointy’s Product Ads feature.  

Pointy works by creating a connection between physical stores and Google so that their products can appear in local Google search results, which can help attract shoppers in the surrounding area to the store. Retailers don’t have to do any extra work: As they scan items to be sold, the products are added to their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps so that potential customers can easily see them.

Infographic showing how to use a Pointy device: Scan your products, display products on Google, help shoppers find you

Shoppers are actively supporting local retailers: 66% of people who shop local say they are doing so in a conscious effort to support local businesses. Displaying products on their stores’ Business Profiles will help Irish retailers tap into that sentiment as consumers can see that the products they are searching for online can be bought locally.

Quote from John Feely, Feely's Total Health Pharmacy, Galway: "Pointy has put us in reach of an audience online that would often pass us by."

COVID-19 continues to challenge retailers, and the economic impact on small and medium businesses has been severe. Google is committed to helping these businesses recover. With a 100% increase in  searches for “available near me” since last year, this new tool will help Irish retailers reach more customers and drive footfall to local stores and shops. 

Pointy can be used via a device that is plugged into a business’s point-of-sale (POS) system, or through the Pointy app, depending on the system. Pointy will be offering free devices to qualifying Irish businesses up until September 31, 2021. To find out more and sign up, retailers should visit: pointy.com/ireland.

Irish retailers can build an online presence with Pointy

As a Dublin native who started a company to help small retailers get online, I’ve seen local retailers adapt to many situations. It’s safe to say that the pandemic has brought challenges unlike any other, and we’ve seen it directly affect many of our favorite local shops.

Due to lockdown restrictions, it’s become critical for brick-and-mortar retailers to be visible online. I also know firsthand how helpful it is to be able to search online and see what a store has in stock prior to heading out of the house. 

But sharing in-store inventory online can be challenging for smaller businesses, as they may not have the resources to build and maintain an e-commerce platform. Pointy from Google meets that need by creating an online presence for these retailers to help them showcase their product offering and potentially reach new customers. 

Starting today for a limited time, Pointy from Google will offer free Pointy devices to qualifying small and medium retailers in Ireland, enabling them to display their in-store products online. Irish retailers who connect with Pointy within the next six months will also get €100 ad credit to trial Pointy’s Product Ads feature.  

Pointy works by creating a connection between physical stores and Google so that their products can appear in local Google search results, which can help attract shoppers in the surrounding area to the store. Retailers don’t have to do any extra work: As they scan items to be sold, the products are added to their Business Profile on Google Search and Maps so that potential customers can easily see them.

Infographic showing how to use a Pointy device: Scan your products, display products on Google, help shoppers find you

Shoppers are actively supporting local retailers: 66% of people who shop local say they are doing so in a conscious effort to support local businesses. Displaying products on their stores’ Business Profiles will help Irish retailers tap into that sentiment as consumers can see that the products they are searching for online can be bought locally.

Quote from John Feely, Feely's Total Health Pharmacy, Galway: "Pointy has put us in reach of an audience online that would often pass us by."

COVID-19 continues to challenge retailers, and the economic impact on small and medium businesses has been severe. Google is committed to helping these businesses recover. With a 100% increase in  searches for “available near me” since last year, this new tool will help Irish retailers reach more customers and drive footfall to local stores and shops. 

Pointy can be used via a device that is plugged into a business’s point-of-sale (POS) system, or through the Pointy app, depending on the system. Pointy will be offering free devices to qualifying Irish businesses up until September 31, 2021. To find out more and sign up, retailers should visit: pointy.com/ireland.

More choice for travelers with free hotel booking links

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


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


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

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

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


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


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


Charting a course towards a more privacy-first web

It’s difficult to conceive of the internet we know today — with information on every topic, in every language, at the fingertips of billions of people — without advertising as its economic foundation. But as our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies. This has led to an erosion of trust: In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center. If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web.  

That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. Even so, we continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers. Today, we’re making explicit 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.

We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.


Privacy innovations are effective
alternatives to tracking

People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. 

Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers. In fact, our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests. Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry.

This points to a future where there is no need to sacrifice relevant advertising and monetization in order to deliver a private and secure experience. 


First-party relationships are vital

Developing strong relationships with customers has always been critical for brands to build a successful business, and this becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world. We will continue to support first-party relationships on our ad platforms for partners, in which they have direct connections with their own customers. And we'll deepen our support for solutions that build on these direct relationships between consumers and the brands and publishers they engage with.

Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web. We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected.  We look forward to working with others in the industry on the path forward.