Tag Archives: Google Marketing Platform

Plan for business growth with Display & Video 360

At Google Marketing Livestream this spring, we talked about how Google Marketing Platform can help you drive performance while protecting privacy. That’s when we raised the curtain on some Display & Video 360 product announcements designed to help you reach your customers wherever they are — including on connected TV and audio.

Today we're kicking off a series of articles about Display & Video 360 that cover these new features, as well as upcoming capabilities to support your business recovery and growth. This includes new TV and audio reach forecasting tools and new frequency metrics to help you quickly figure out where your audience is and how to reach them in the most cost-effective way. This series will also introduce new enterprise-level features designed to increase your productivity thanks to automated yet customizable technology. First up is planning.

Get more premium reach with Display & Video 360’s planning tools

Planning is no longer a one-time exercise; it needs to happen on an ongoing basis to keep up with your audience’s rapidly-changing habits. Planning solutions that are tightly connected to your media buying platform can let you more accurately and more quickly assess the potential reach of your plans.

To help media planners adjust to this new way of working, we’re introducing two Display & Video 360 tools that will help you estimate the reach of your campaigns in real-time across any inventory type – including traditional TV, connected TV (CTV) and even audio.

Plan your CTV and audio campaigns alongside your other media buys

Watching CTV and streaming audio are now mainstream behaviors. To help marketers make the most of this extra reach opportunity, we’re adding new signals in Display & Video 360’s reach planning tool so that you can plan the reach of your CTV and audio deals in real time. This will complement existing Display & Video 360 forecasting capabilities which already allow you to estimate the reach of your display and video programmatic deals as well as your CTV open auction buys.

Planners will now be able to more immediately answer questions like, “How much incremental reach could I get by combining a network CTV deal with YouTube reservation and open auction video or audio ads?” They’ll have the option to forecast the reach of their campaign either by picking from their custom list of available CTV and audio deals or by choosing publishers they’re considering adding to their media mix.

Strike the optimal mix of TV and digital media to maximize reach

Planning tools that span across traditional and CTV viewing can help you navigate the shift from linear TV to streaming more effectively. For example, TV in Google Ads Reach Planner lets advertisers like PepsiCo better plan for their reach and frequency goals by allocating optimal budgets across TV and YouTube.

We're bringing TV planning to Display & Video 360 users in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and Vietnam. By combining actual historical TV and digital ads data into a single reach curve the tool will show the unduplicated reach of the entire plan across TV, YouTube, broadcast and cable networks on CTV and the rest of your digital campaigns. Display & Video 360 will use data from major single-source panels in each available country or region to understand the TV viewership and how it overlaps with digital media consumption.

We’ll start rolling out this TV planning functionality in beta in the fall. It will be fully self-service and you’ll only need some basic details about your media plan to get started: your core audience demographics, the duration of your campaign and your estimated TV discount so that we can return tailored estimates.

If your budgets are somewhat flexible, we’ll show two curves: one will show the reach you’d get by spending your entire budget on TV and the other will show the optimal reach you’d get by efficiently splitting your budgets across TV and digital. You’ll also be able to set a fixed TV budget and see a single curve showing the extra reach you could get by adding digital channels such as YouTube and CTV ads to the mix.

This screen shares what it looks like to create a plan including TV and digital. A dotted grey curve shows the reach of a TV-only plan and a blue line shows the optimal reach that can be achieved by effectively combining TV and digital channels.

TV in Display & Video 360 reach planning tool (flexible budget scenario)

The growth of new media types alongside traditional TV has made forecasting reach and ad spend more difficult than ever. With Display & Video 360’s real-time forecasting solutions you’ll be able to approach show premieres seasons this fall with more serenity.

Introducing Mobile Web Certification

In 2018, we launched Google Marketing Platform Partners to provide marketers a network of accredited partners to help them grow their business with our ads and analytics tools. As digital marketing becomes increasingly complex, businesses need help to solve challenges across and beyond our products, such as first-party data solutions, machine learning and more. Today we are expanding that partnership program to go beyond Google Marketing Platform products with the introduction of our first skills-based certification: Mobile Web Certification. This is our first step in a process to support a more comprehensive network of partners to meet your evolving business needs.

As today’s consumers increasingly turn to their phones to get things done, they expect experiences that are fast, seamless and personalized. In fact, a mere 0.1-second decrease in site speed can boost conversion rates by 8%, and our new research shows that 72% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they offer a personalized experience. That’s why mobile best practices -- from speed to user experience optimization -- can drive user engagement on mobile sites, improve user sign-in rates and help marketers generate richer data for optimizing return on ad spend.

Partners certified in Mobile Web work with your business objectives to implement improvements to your user experience while helping you drive engagement on your mobile site, increase mobile conversion rates and generate first-party data to support accurate performance measurement. They have passed a rigorous certification and testing protocol, showing mastery of a wide range of mobile services and an ability to help more users convert.

If you have a gap in skills within your own teams or you need an expert third-party perspective to help you prioritize, Partners certified in Mobile Web are here to help. Over the coming months we will be assessing and adding more Mobile Certified Partners, so please check our Partner Gallery if you are looking for help to improve your mobile website experience.

Mobile represents our first step beyond product certifications. We know this is just one area where you're looking for answers and we're committed to finding new ways Certified Partners can support you every step of the way.

Navigating uncertainty with Google Marketing Platform

When we introduced Google Marketing Platform in July 2018, the world was a different place. A royal wedding, the World Cup and Hurricane Florence were among the top news stories. A global pandemic was not the first thing on everyone's minds.

Much has changed over the past three years. We've all learned how to unmute ourselves on video chats and attend meetings in our sweatpants. But one thing that hasn't changed is Google Marketing Platform’s commitment to helping marketers navigate periods of change.

It's not just the pandemic. With an intensified focus on privacy, driven in part by shifting consumer expectations, new regulations, and technology platform changes, brands need to find new ways to connect with their customers and measure marketing performance. And as we move into the recovery, Google Marketing Platform is here to help marketers adjust to the new normal.

Addressing rapid change, with help from first-party data

In our research, we’ve seen that using first-party data helps brands build stronger relationships with customers, create additional value, and boost ad performance. Brands using first-party data for key marketing functions have lifted revenueup to 2.9 times and decreased costs by 1.5 times, compared to companies that failed to fully integrate first-party data. And the most successful have invested more heavily in technology and organizational enablers, such as a unified advertising and analytics platform like Google Marketing Platform.

One business that used Google Marketing Platform and first-party data to successfully navigate the pandemic is Deckers Brands, makers of active lifestyle footwear featuring brands like UGG, Teva and HOKA.

Google Marketing Platform: Deckers Brands Case Study
10:25

Founded in 1973, Deckers Brands grew rapidly over the years, but eventually growth began to slow. The company's channel-oriented strategy – which featured separate marketing teams for search, display, video and other channels – created silos.

The company knew it needed to become more customer-centric and to connect customer data across multiple touch points. To achieve that goal, Deckers Brands partnered with digital marketing specialists Jellyfish and adopted Google Marketing Platform as its integrated advertising and analytics solution. Jellyfish helped Deckers Brands use tools within Google Marketing Platform to apply machine learning to its first-party data, then activate the insights obtained from that data.

When countries around the world implemented stay at home orders in early 2020, Decker Brands’ found that its new strategy was essential to helping them quickly spot and react to customer trends. In the United States for example, the company exported data from its Analytics 360 account into BigQuery, a data warehouse solution part of Google Cloud, to better understand customer buying behavior. They found an increase in the sale of UGG slippers, which helped them quickly learn that people were interested in more comfortable footwear for the home. When people began venturing outside, Deckers Brands saw that trend very early through increased interest in HOKA running shoes and Teva hiking sandals and was able to quickly respond.

Using Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud together, Deckers Brands was able to continue putting people into products they loved –  and grow their business. To learn more, read the full case study here.

A new destination for creative and media collaboration

Captivating creatives remind us that great advertising is an art form and a competitive advantage for brands. Technology is fundamental to the creative process, but designers, agencies, brands and media planners are looking for better ways to work together to create beautiful ads and effective campaigns. 

We’re introducing Ads Creative Studio, a unified home for Google’s creative advertising tools, to help you build compelling experiences for video, display and audio ads. Ads Creative Studio will allow creative teams to build and innovate together while increasing productivity and simplifying the overall process to bring a great ad to life. 

A unified home for creative tools

In the past, you may have had to work with multiple Google teams and products to get the creative tools you need. Now, Ads Creative Studio will bring together a number of creative tools previously found across products like YouTube, Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager 360. 

Specific features include:

  • Director Mix, previously available to a limited group of advertisers, will allow you to customize your creative for different audiences by building out multiple versions of a YouTube video ad with swappable elements.

  • Dynamic display and HTML5 are tools that allow you to generate customized and interactive creatives for Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager 360.

  • Audio Mixer and the recently announced dynamic audio offering allow you to build tailored audio ads for Display & Video 360 quickly and efficiently at scale.

Over time we’ll continue to add additional creative capabilities.

Creating one process across display, video and audio

Ads Creative Studio aims to streamline the many processes creative teams are accustomed to when building out different ad types. We’re introducing a new project library that centralizes creative asset construction and management. From the project library, you can create and manage video, display and, soon, audio creatives. You can collaboratively organize and use assets of all types from the asset library, allowing one team to maintain the creatives while another utilizes them in display and video campaigns. 

Four squares representing different brand campaigns across display and video in the Ads Creative Studio Project Library

Project Library in Ads Creative Studio

We’ve also redesigned the process to build creatives across ad types, so you can easily generate variations that are customized to your audience. In this new unified workflow, you’ll specify which creative elements within your ad should be customized, and then adapt the message of each element to be relevant for each audience. This means you can use a common workflow across video, display and audio ads to easily create tailored messages.

Improving collaboration across teams

Ads Creative Studio can improve collaboration across and within media and creative teams. To make it easier for creative teams, multiple users can now work together on the same project. Your team can collaborate on template creation, design rules for matching ads with the right audiences, and finalize a project through review and QA, all within the same tool. The template and asset libraries also allow multiple creative users to reuse resources across projects.

10 squares that showcase different assets that creative teams can choose from in their asset library when designing creative

 Ads Creative Studio Asset Library

Once the creative process is complete and you are ready to hand off the assets to the media team, the export flow minimizes complexities and errors that can occur with these large-scale projects. Ads Creative Studio allows you to export to all relevant Google advertising products: Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and Campaign Manager 360. 

An example of a project being exported successfully to Display & Video 360 from Ads Creative Studio

An export example from Ads Creative Studio to Display & Video 360

Mitchell Pok, Director, Creative Services & Technology at MightyHive and an early tester said, “The initial experience with Ads Creative Studio has been really promising; the potential for the platform to make creative production across teams and formats seamless and efficient is a game changer.”

For brands, Ads Creative Studio allows you to consolidate and collaborate across creative and media teams while giving them control over what content and campaign data is shared. For creative partners, it’s a one-stop-shop to discover, build and iterate on innovative display, audio and video formats. And for all customers our goal is to help improve operational efficiency, reduce barriers and make it easier to scale ads across channels.

Ads Creative Studio will be available in beta to Display & Video 360 customers at the end of July and to select YouTube Ads customers in September. Additional features will be made available to a wider group of users over the following months.

Building creative solutions that work for you

In addition to Ads Creative Studio, we are also providing inspiration and resources to help to make your creative more powerful. Create with Google has merged with Think with Google, to become Think with Google’s new destination for creativity. This new destination brings you the creative insight, inspiration, and tools you need to make effective creative work — all in one place. 

With Ads Creative Studio and Create with Google, we hope to provide your creative teams inspiration and help them work better together. We look forward to seeing what you as creators dream up, imagine and design for your next creative masterpiece.

Respect user consent choices with Google Tag Manager

More people than ever before are purchasing goods and services online, bringing new opportunities for businesses to reach a growing base of customers. At the same time, restrictions around cookies and identifiers are changing the ways businesses understand the customer journey.  We’ve heard from businesses that they need new, easy-to-use solutions to keep pace with these industry changes, especially solutions that will continue to provide critical insights on campaign performance, while maintaining user privacy.

At Google Marketing Livestream, we shared our belief that it’s possible to improve privacy while still delivering business results and highlighted a few solutions that help. For example, Consent Mode lets advertisers customize how Google tags behave before and after users make their consent decisions. Consent Mode also informs conversion modeling to help bridge any measurement gaps that may occur due to cookie consent choices.

Our customers have shared with us that they would like simpler ways to ensure that all tags on their websites respect cookie consent choices. To make this process easier, we’re unveiling a new consent experience in Tag Manager. Starting today, users of Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 will be able to directly integrate with Consent Mode and easily incorporate user consent into the behavior of all tags on their website.

Integrate your consent management solution

If your business operates in a region that requires you to collect user consent for certain operations, like the European Economic Area or the United Kingdom, you may need a consent management solution. And if you’re using Tag Manager to manage all the tags on your site, you’ll need to integrate Tag Manager with the consent management solution you’ve selected. But integrating these two can be complicated and require changes to website code.

We’re making it possible to remove that integration step altogether. Starting today, consent management solutions can build tag templates directly into the Community Template Gallery using a new set of sandboxed JavaScript APIs that will work with Consent Mode. We’re also introducing a new trigger type, Consent Initialization, which enables tags that require user consent choice to fire before all other tags.

Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer operating in the United Kingdom. You’ve decided to work with a consent management solution to display a consent banner to your customers and want to integrate it with your Tag Manager account. If your consent management solution has a tag template available in the Community Template Gallery, you can now add it to your container. With the Consent Initialization trigger, this tag will deploy your consent banner as soon as someone lands on your website. This enables you to collect a user’s consent choice before other tags in your container load.

Benefit from consent support on all your tags

Last year we announced that tags for Google advertising and analytics products will respect consent choices for ads cookies and analytics cookies when Consent Mode is in use. But to control how other third-party tags behave for these and other types of user consent, many businesses have turned to a custom tag setup in Tag Manager, which can be difficult to implement and manage.

Now in Tag Manager, you’ll be able to see and customize each tag’s consent settings. You can see which types of consent each tag requires. For example, a specific tag may already be adjusting its behavior based on user consent for ads cookies. And you can specify whether any additional types of consent are necessary for the tag to fire, like requiring consent for analytics cookies. We’re introducing new consent types into Tag Manager as well. These consent types correspond to options you might include in your consent management solution. If a user does not give consent to the specific consent types you’ve selected for the tag, the tag will not run.

Image of “Consent Settings (beta)” section under “Advanced Settings” at the bottom of each tag configuration.

Add additional consent in order for your tag to fire

Many consent management platforms are already compatible with the ad storage and analytics storage settings. You can see a full list in our Help Center.

Gain a complete view of your tags’ consent settings

For a complete view of the consent settings across all the tags in your container, you can now enable a new Consent Overview from your container settings. Once enabled, this overview will be available from the Tags screen. From here you can also manage consent settings in bulk, like adding a personalization storage consent type to multiple tags at once.

GIF of opening the Consent Overview screen and bulk editing tags’ consent requirements.

Access the Consent Overview and manage consent settings in bulk

All of these capabilities are available in beta in all Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 accounts today. These updates will help you preserve online measurement while respecting user consent choices. Stay tuned for more information on other privacy-safe measurement solutions that we announced today.

Future-proof your measurement with privacy-safe solutions

Getting the most out of your marketing investments requires a clear understanding of what actions people take after interacting with your ads. In today’s evolving privacy landscape, growing your business calls for new approaches to measurement that preserve advertising performance and also put the user first. 

Now’s the time to adopt new privacy-safe techniques to ensure your measurement remains accurate and actionable. And while this can seem daunting, we’re here to help you succeed in a world with fewer cookies and other identifiers with new ways to respect user consent, measure conversions and unlock granular insights from your sites and apps. 

Here's a preview of some of the product launches we'll be sharing at Google Marketing Livestream on May 27th.

Easier options for working with consented data

Getting started with privacy-safe measurement requires building a foundation of first-party data. Investing in a strong tagging infrastructure helps you make the most of the data your consumers share with you and lets you accurately measure your campaign performance.

As consumers seek increased control over how their data is used, your methods for respecting their consent choices will also need to evolve. For advertisers operating in the European Economic Area and the U.K., Consent Mode helps you achieve this by adjusting how Google tags operate based on user consent choices for ads cookies or analytics cookies. When users don't consent to cookies, Consent Mode will use conversion modeling to recover, on average, more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys, ensuring that you continue to measure the complete performance of your media in a privacy-safe way.

To make it easier for your website to integrate with Consent Mode, we'll soon enable implementation directly from your Google Tag Manager account, where you’ll be able to modify and customize tag behavior in response to users' consent preferences. Accurate measurement that accounts for people's consent choices doesn’t have to be complicated, and our new solutions make sure that it isn’t.

More first-party conversion data means better measurement

A strong sitewide tagging and first-party data foundation enables measurement solutions to work together to collectively provide you with the most comprehensive reporting and optimization. Building on this foundation, we've developed an additional privacy-safe way to help you preserve accurate measurement when fewer cookies are available.

Enhanced conversions allow tags to use consented, first-party data to give you a more accurate view of how users convert after engaging with your ads. You'll also be able to get the data you need to unlock performance insights, like conversion lift, and improve measurement in cases when your ad is shown on one device and the user converts on another. Your first-party data is hashed to protect user privacy and ensure security, and you’ll receive aggregated and anonymized conversion reporting. 

Advertisers currently testing enhanced conversions are already seeing positive results. U.K.-based retailer ASOS set up enhanced conversions across Search and YouTube to help them close measurement gaps due to browser restrictions and cross-device behavior. This enabled them to measure conversions that would otherwise not have been captured and improved return on ad spend (ROAS) with a recorded sales uplift of 8.6% in Search and 31% in YouTube.

Enhanced conversions helped establish a strong measurement foundation, off of which we can better measure the impact of our YouTube buys. Carolina Vicente
Media Investment Director, ASOS

Machine learning unlocks new insights in Google Analytics

In addition to using modeling for more complete conversion measurement and optimization, modeling can also help you get deeper customer insights from your behavioral analytics data. Last year we announced the new Google Analytics, which uses machine learning to surface relevant marketing insights, such as a significant change in your campaign performance or the likelihood of your customers making a purchase. 

Soon, we'll extend Google’s advanced machine learning models to behavioral reporting in Analytics. For example, if there is incomplete data in your User Acquisition report due to cookies not being available, we’ll now use modeling to help fill gaps for a more complete view of the number of new users your campaigns have acquired. With or without cookies, you’ll be able to enhance your understanding of the customer journey across your app and website and use those insights to improve your marketing. 

Coming next

We’re continuing to invest in next-generation privacy solutions to help advertisers navigate ongoing industry changes and preserve accurate conversion measurement. 

You can find out the latest information about these new privacy-safe measurement solutions at Google Marketing Livestream 2021 on Thursday, May 27 at 8:00 a.m. PT / 11:00 a.m. ET. 

Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads

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

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

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

How modeling fills in measurement gaps

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

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

Holistic measurement for your Google Ads campaigns

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

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

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

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

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

Get started

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

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

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

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

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.

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 our advertiser 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.


Posted by Scott Spencer, Vice President, Ads Privacy & Safety