Tag Archives: Search Ads

Magic in the making: The 4 pillars of great creative

Consumers report that helpfulness is their top expectation of brands since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 78% saying a brand's advertising should show how they can be helpful in everyday life.1 This means businesses need to quickly engage audiences with meaningful messages, using immersive storytelling to bring their brand and products to life.

To help you build visually-rich ad experiences that easily drive consumers to action, we've brought together our top creative guidance across Google Ads solutions in a single guide. Learn to craft stronger calls-to-action, engaging ad copy and striking visual assets — plus, get the latest insights from our team of creative and data scientists at Creative Works. You can also explore tips by marketing objective in order to craft more impactful creative to meet your business goals.

An image of two phones featuring natural soap products.

Dr. Squatch using a clear call-to-action, engaging copy and rich product visuals with Google Ads.

The 4 pillars of compelling creative

Lead with a clear call-to-action:Personalized descriptions perform up to two times better for their campaign goal versus non-personalized descriptions.2 This means businesses need to help consumers immediately see what they have to offer by including words like "you" to draw attention, and adding their product or brand name in headlines and descriptions.

Connect more authentically with a wide variety of assets:Audiences take action faster if they can relate to your message — 64% of consumers said they took some sort of action after seeing an ad that they considered to be diverse or inclusive.3 And images that feature people perform over 30% better for their campaign goal versus images that don’t.4 Given the variety of consumers looking online for new products to try, brands should show a wide range of people using their products or services to resonate with audiences.

Build for smaller screens: Images with no overlaid text, or overlaid text under 20 characters, perform up to 1.2X better for their campaign goal versus images with longer overlaid text.5 With people spending more time on a broad range of small devices, businesses should consider how and where consumers are seeing their ads and provide visual assets that clearly communicate their call-to-action.

Give your creatives time to test: We've seen that waiting 2-3 weeks between changes to ad creative minimizes performance fluctuations, allowing the Google Ads system time to learn and adapt to your most effective assets. Review Ad strength and asset reporting to better understand which assets resonate best and help you make the call on which to remove or replace.

An image of two phones featuring beauty products.

Beauty brand COSMEDIX using a variety of image assets in multiple aspect ratios with Google Ads.

Get help with building better assets

Consumers expect businesses of all sizes to offer more helpful brand experiences. Stand out with more relevant, engaging offers with help from our new guide to building better creative. And for more support with developing new creative assets or campaign strategies, check out our approved creative production agencies to find the right partner to help you achieve your business goals.


1. Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer Global Report, Wave2, runs across 50 countries, n=9,815, fielded 27th-30th March 2020.

2. Google internal data based on an aggregate study of median performance of campaign goals for Responsive display ads (CTR), Discovery ads (CTR, CVR), Video action campaigns (VTR) and Video discovery ads (VTR) across 78K assets for Media & Entertainment, Retail, and Finance verticals. Global. January 2020 - June 2021.

3. Google/Ipsos, U.S., Inclusive Marketing Study, n of 2,987 U.S. consumers ages 13–54 who access the internet at least monthly, Aug. 2019.

4. Google internal data based on an aggregate study of median performance of campaign goals for Discovery ads (CTR, CVR), Video action campaigns (VTR), Video discovery ads (VTR), App campaigns for installs (IPM), and App campaigns for engagement (EPM) for Media & Entertainment, Retail, and Finance verticals. Global. January 2020 - June 2021.

5. Google internal data based on an aggregate study of median performance of campaign goals for Discovery ads (CTR, CVR), and Responsive display ads (CTR) across 78K assets for Media & Entertainment, Retail, and Finance verticals. Global. January 2020 - June 2021.

How retailers can stand out this holiday season

The holiday season is just around the corner and consumers are already ramping up their shopping. For example, U.S. searches for “holiday gift ideas” in August have already surpassed 2020 levels. As of June, 58% of U.S. holiday shoppers said they will shop online more this season than in previous years and 59% said they will shop earlier to avoid an item being out of stock.1

Consumers are leaning into the blended online and in-store shopping experience, with digital-first behaviors like curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store likely to continue as we head into the holidays. As of mid-August, 70% of U.S. shoppers are buying the majority of the items they need in stores, compared to 61% in June.2 For more holiday insights to help you prepare for your busiest season, tune in later today for Think Retail on Air at 10 a.m. PDT

Get ready to meet customers wherever they like to shop! Here’s a checklist to help you maximize success during the most important shopping season of the year.

1. Highlight your differentiated fulfillment options

Quick shipping and easy returns are top-of-mind for shoppers this year; 78% of U.S. holiday shoppers say they will shop at stores that offer free shipping.3 Today, we are announcing new shipping and return annotations in Google Search and Shopping results – across free and paid listings. Shoppers can now see when their orders will arrive, with shipping annotations like "Free delivery by Fri, Dec 24,” “Get it by Dec 24” and “Free X-day” for products that ship for free in five business days or less. 

To give shoppers more confidence in their purchases, you can now indicate extended holiday return windows with return annotations like "Free 90 day returns" or "Free returns until Jan 31.”

Two phones are depicted showing shoes for sale on the Shopping tab. The phone on the left highlights a pair and reads “Free delivery by Fri, Dec 24” and the one on the right highlights a pair and reads “Free 90 day returns.”

Highlight your holiday shipping and return options to shoppers

2. Showcase your products in more places across Google

Every day, hundreds of millions of people come to Google to shop and explore products. Showcase your products in free listings across Google to help them find what they’re looking for. If you useShopify, WooCommerceor GoDaddy, you can now get started right from their platform. Seamlessly sync your products to show up on Google for free and boost your products to reach even more shoppers with Smart Shopping campaigns to utilize machine learning, or Shopping campaigns to maximize control. 

You can also turn your YouTube video into a virtual storefront to showcase your most popular items. Connect a product feed to either your Video action campaigns to drive customers to your site, or to your App campaigns to take them to your app. In the coming weeks, most advertisers will be able to link a product feed to Discovery ads to show more relevant products in moments where customers are exploring their interests in Google’s feeds. 

There are four phones all depicting screenshots of available shopping formats on Google. The first shows images of indoor plants for sale on the Shopping tab. The second shows beauty products, like lotion, available for sale under a YouTube ad advertising the same brand. The third shows the same beauty products for sale in an ad on the YouTube Home Feed. The final image shows homegoods, like lamps and storage baskets for sale within an App ad.

Showcase your products in free listings on the Shopping tab, or promote your products using Video action campaigns, Discovery ads and App campaigns

3. Connect with shoppers in the physical world

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. For example, searches for "open now near me" have grown globally by more than 200% year over year.4 In the U.S., searches for “local gift shops near me” have increased 440% in just the past month as people switch between online and offline shopping — more than ever before. If your physical stores are open for in-store shopping, it's crucial to make sure your customers can easily find you online.

Start by building your digital storefront, so shoppers can find information about your nearby stores and the products you have available in them. Keep your Business Profile up to date to ensure customers see accurate business hours, in-store services and safety measures. Help customers feel more confident in their in-store shopping trips by listing your local products for free on Google, or promoting those available for in-store pickup or curbside pickup using local inventory ads

If you have store-specific goals, like in-store promotions or location reopenings, you can promote your stores to local shoppers using Local campaigns. Easily connect with holiday shoppers searching for businesses like yours on Google Maps, Search, YouTube and the Google Display Network and help them find what they need at your local store.

Many of your customers alternate between shopping online and in-store depending on their comfort level and community guidelines. Google offers a variety of ways to measure the impact that your online ads have on your physical store, including store visits and store sales measurement. You can then act on this data by adding it to your Smart Bidding to grow total sales, whether they happen online or offline.

There are two phones showing products for sale that are available in-store. The first shows the products tab on Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Business Profile page on Google. The second shows a Google Search results page advertising dog beds that are available for curbside pickup or pick up today in nearby stores.

Show products available in-store in your Business Profile for free (left) or those available for curbside pickup via local inventory ads (right)

4. Prepare for the rush using automated formats, planning tools & reports

It's more challenging this year to plan your holiday marketing campaigns, so we’ve introduced more tools and reports to help you focus on profitability. Starting with seeing the most popular brands and products, check out the best sellers report to help you decide which new brands and products to stock for the holidays. If you’re running sales or promotions to move inventory especially in the lead up to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, then you’ll soon be able to see real-time with deals reporting in Merchant Center.

As you set up your ad campaigns for success, tools like the Insights page and Performance Planner can help you identify trends and plan budgets so you’re not missing out on shopper demand. And if your business has an app, you can verify you’re sending shoppers to the right places in your app using two new tools: the deep link validator and impact calculator

Grab your virtual front row seat at Think Retail on Air

For more holiday shopping insights, join us for Think Retail on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT. After the live keynote, we’ll have hands-on sessions where we’ll dive deeper into specific product solutions and best practices. If we’ll miss you at 10 a.m. PDT today, you can catch it on demand anytime after the live show. 

We hope these solutions can help you prepare for a successful holiday season!


1. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, US n-506 Online consumers 18+ that plan to shop for the holidays, June 17-20, 2021
2.  Ipsos COVID-19 Tracker, US ~n=1000 online consumers 18+ per market. Aug 12-15, 2021
3. Google commissioned Ipsos COVID-19 tracker, US n=515  online consumers 18+ who will shop for the holiday season. June 17-20, 2021
4. Google Data, Global English, Jun 1, 2021 - Jul 30, 2021 vs Jun 1, 2020 - Jul 30, 2020

Think Retail on Air is Tuesday, August 31 at 10 a.m. PDT

It’s time to get ready for the holiday season! This year, we expect shoppers to continue using the digital-first services they learned during the pandemic, like curbside pickup and grocery delivery, in combination with in-store shopping trips. We see this across Google, where searches for "now near me" have grown globally by more than 100% year over year and searches on Google Maps for “curbside pickup” have increased globally by 5,000% year over year.1

To help you capture the opportunity this holiday season, we’re hosting Think Retail on Air 2021 on Tuesday, August 31 at 10 a.m. PDT. During this virtual event, we’ll share the latest holiday shopping insights, category trends and Google solutions to help you prepare your business for the holidays. You’ll hear from product experts and industry leaders, including:

Image depicts 6 people along with their names, job title and company. The first is Matt Madrigal, VP/GM, Merchant Shopping at Google. The next person is Suchi Sastri, Managing Director and Partner at Boston Consulting Group. The next person is Christina Willis, Director of Marketing at Best Buy. Then there is Jen Meacham, Shopping Sales Specialist at Google. Then, Karolline Maciel Mariano, Product Lead, Automation at Google. Finally, Chris Card, Head of Industry, Video at Google.

After the live keynote, you’ll be able to tune in to our hands-on sessions. Be sure to join the right track for you, based on your business’ needs and level of readiness:

  • If you're looking for a holistic overview, be sure to watch the “Google Academy holiday best practices” sessions for growing online sales and growing in-store sales. 

  • If you’re looking to dive deeper into specific product solutions, or just want to learn more, be sure to watch the “Advanced strategies for growth” sessions in the other tab. 

Register now to reserve your virtual front row seat!


1. Google Data, Global English, Jan 26, 2021 - Mar 26, 2021 vs Jan 26, 2020 - Mar 26, 2020

Building for the future to help you prepare for what’s next

The COVID-19 recovery process will vary by country, region and business sector, but the transformation will have an impact on all of us. Google is committed to providing economic relief and supporting the pandemic recovery efforts, which is why we’re working to provide accurate vaccine information and increasing vaccine access to people around the world, with a particular focus on countries that are continuing to experience the pandemic most intensely.

We’ve also been focused on how our products can help make things easier for people during this difficult time. Last year, we revamped our roadmap with simple, helpful solutions like curbside pickup for Local Inventory Ads and booking services directly in Search results through Local Services Ads. In 2021 we’re continuing to fine-tune our products to help advertisers connect with consumers even as the world around us keeps changing.

Join us today at Google Marketing Livestream 2021 at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET to learn more — including a deep dive into our latest innovations across privacy, measurement and automation.

Developing privacy-safe advertising technology

Time spent with digital media increased 15% last year, according to eMarketer, as people turned to devices like smartphones, connected TVs and computers. As they use digital tools to manage more aspects of their lives, people want to know that their privacy is protected and we expect these concerns will only increase in the future.

A healthy ads ecosystem is critical to keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone, but we must also ensure that people feel safe when they are online. Now is the time for our industry to rethink our practices and take bold action to regain people’s trust. That’s a key reason why we announced earlier this year that we won’t build alternate identifiers once third-party cookies are phased out. 

The good news is that it’s possible to improve privacy while still delivering business results. We’re collaborating with the web community to build solutions like those in the Privacy Sandbox. It’s an open-source initiative to develop new technologies centered on privacy techniques like anonymization, aggregation and on-device processing designed to support key advertising use cases such as interest-based ads, measurement and more.

Navigating new measurement and
audience strategies

Accurate measurement of your marketing is especially critical so that you know where to invest to drive the most impact. But the tools advertisers have historically relied on to measure results — such as cookies and other identifiers — are rapidly changing. We're focused on ensuring privacy-safe measurement is accessible to businesses and brands of all sizes. 

We're investing across our products to help unlock insights into consumer behavior and purchasing decisions using machine learning. For example, we’ll soon be including Display and YouTube, as well as in-app conversions, in all Google Ads attribution models, including data-driven attribution powered by Google’s machine learning. These changes will help you properly value the impact of all your Google Ads campaigns.

We recently shared how we're making it possible for you to use your consented first-party data to preserve accurate measurement, even when fewer cookies are available. First-party data can also help you connect with more of the right people for your business. We're now expanding the availability of Customer Match to nearly all advertisers to reach and re-engage customers across ad types. As we look to the future, you can expect to see more innovations like these to help with your transition to a privacy-first world.

Improving automation with better performance

As the recovery continues, advertisers can automatically tap new pockets of growth by using products that dynamically respond to the market conditions most relevant to their business. Today, advertisers are applying automation to more aspects of their campaigns than ever before — from automatically assembling and selecting the best-performing creatives with responsive search ads, to finding more search queries that perform using broad match keywords, and setting the right bid for every auction by factoring in a wide range of signals that predict performance using Smart Bidding. In fact, we’ve seen that automation products are even better together. For example, companies that switch from phrase match keywords to broad match keywords in campaigns that use Target CPA bidding see 25% more conversions.

Text says: Broad match finds new, high-performing queries and emerging trends. Smart Bidding delivers the right creative for each query at the right price. Responsive search ads automatically assembles the most relevant creative

Combining our automated products creates a multiplicative effect for driving growth — starting with keywords, bidding, and creative

Since automation is delivering strong results for advertisers, we want to help you use it in more places. Today more than 80% of advertisers use automated bidding to take the guesswork out of setting bids and to achieve their performance goals. For example, advertisers who want to optimize their campaigns based on return on ad spend use Target Return on Ad Spend (Target ROAS) Smart Bidding strategies to automatically optimize bids and maximize revenue. Now we’re expanding Target ROAS to work across even more of Google’s channels, including Discovery ads and Video action campaigns.

Just like with automation, you get more efficiency and better results when our advertising tools work together. So we've made it easy for retailers to connect your Google Merchant Center feed to Discovery ads and Video action campaigns. This will help you use images and video to drive product discovery and purchases for your full product catalog. In March, when we compared more than 900 Video action campaigns, we found advertisers that added product feeds drove 60% more conversions at a lower cost, compared to advertisers that didn't add product feeds.

Demonstration of a product feed added to Video action campaigns

 Product feed added to Video action campaigns

Bringing the full value of automation to more advertisers 

Last year we shared that we were testing a new type of campaign called Performance Max. It brings together the best of Google’s automation to help advertisers drive better results across all of Google’s channels: YouTube, Display, Search, Discover and more. Starting today, Performance Max campaigns are expanding to thousands of additional advertisers, with general availability coming later this year (visit the Google Ads Help Center for more details and complete this interest form if you’d like to join the beta).

We’re also adding support for Performance Max campaigns on the Insights page. We heard beta testers tell us they wanted more transparency into how automation is working and what’s driving performance changes. With this update, you’ll be able to see things like which audiences are converting, top-performing creatives, auction insights and trending search categories. You can also preview how your best ads are showing up on each channel.

Screenshot of Insights Page in Google Ads

Insights page showing “Top assets” for Performance Max campaigns

vodafone logo

We’ve seen great results during early beta testing. Vodafone Turkey, part of the Vodafone Group, a leading telecommunications company in Europe and Africa, adopted Performance Max with the goal of scaling lead generation for its phone plans across all of Google’s channels to reach more potential customers. During testing, Performance Max campaigns drove an 18% increase in leads at a 70% lower cost per acquisition compared to their Search campaigns. As a result, Vodafone Turkey adopted Performance Max campaigns as its main lead generation campaign on top of its standard keyword-based Search campaigns. Visit the Advertising Solutions Center to see more Performance Max success stories from companies like Neo4j and MoneyMe.

“We're always keen on adopting new advertising technologies that create sales growth with lower costs. Performance Max aligns with our business objectives and helps us acquire new customers without cannibalizing sales between campaigns.”
Ayda Yorukoglu - Digital Marketing Product Owner, Vodafone Turkey

Grab a (virtual) front row seat at Google Marketing Livestream

We’re continuing to learn from you to understand how we can make Google’s products better for the future. Tune in to Google Marketing Livestream today at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET to hear about these innovations and much more.

Thank you for your partnership, and we look forward to seeing you soon at Google Marketing Livestream.

Register for Google Marketing Livestream

Did you know searches for corsages and boutonnières are one of the top trending categories this month in the U.S.? Meanwhile in Italy, one of the top growing categories of searches this month is charms and pendants. And in Japan, searches in the drawing and painting kits category have grown over 100% in the past month.1 

People around the world turn to Google to be inspired, discover new brands and find what they need. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly, so we’ve been busy building products to help you be ready for what’s next. 

Register now for Google Marketing Livestream on Thursday, May 27 at 8 a.m. PT. You’ll be the first to learn about Google’s new products, the latest trends, and actionable best practices. You’ll also hear from many industry leaders, including:

Speaker bios: Jim Farley (President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company), Kory Marchisotto (Chief Marketing Officer, e.l.f. Beauty and President, Keys Soulcare), Alicia Keys (Founder, Key's Soulcare), Emmanuel Acho (NYT Bestselling Author and Host, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man), Harley Finkelstein (President, Shopify), William White (SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Walmart U.S.)

Searching for the way forward

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

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

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

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

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

The pandemic has accelerated existing shifts in behavior.

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

People need more help than ever navigating choice complexity.

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

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

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

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

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

More insights and tools for companies to help recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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.