Google Moves To Keep Advertisers Happy While Improving User Privacy

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At Google’s annual marketing event on Thursday, the company is showing ways that advertisers will continue to be able to reach consumers as it reduces support for tracking cookies, which advertisers have used for decades to track users. on sites to target ads and measure how effective they are.

Google’s Marketing Livestream is intended to give advertisers, agencies, and other partners an insight into the tech giant’s roadmap for the coming year, and seek feedback. Jerry Dischler, vice president and general manager of Ads, one of the presenters, told CNBC that Google will discuss privacy, measurement and automation at the event.

With regulators taking a closer look at user privacy and consumers increasingly concerned about the use of their personal data, the tech giants are trying to get ahead by making changes in the name of privacy. Google announced its intention in early 2020 to end support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years.

But advertising is still Google’s core business and it must keep advertisers happy. The company has been the market leader in online advertising for more than a decade, and is expected to gain a nearly 29% share of digital advertising spending globally by 2021, according to eMarketer. In 2020, its parent company Alphabet generated nearly $ 183 billion in revenue. Of that, $ 147 billion – more than 80% – comes from Google’s ad business, according to the company’s 2020 annual report.

Here’s what Google plans to discuss with advertisers on Thursday:

Privacy

One area of ​​focus at Thursday’s event is the company’s work with the industry on technologies that it believes focus on privacy techniques, but also support advertising purposes.

“It is very clear that consumer expectations have changed around privacy. And we are also seeing signs that governments and regulators think about privacy differently, ”Dischler said. “And we want to be able to build a lasting future that preserves privacy and enables key advertising use cases to work.”

One of these options, federated cohort learning (FLoC), would essentially place people in groups based on similar browsing behaviors, meaning that only “cohort IDs” and not individual user IDs would be used to guide them. It has already received some pushback from privacy advocates, with some publishers saying they refuse to test the tool, Digiday reported in April.

Google says it believes FLoC improves user privacy while supporting relevant advertising, and said that proposals from others in the ad technology space seeking to replace third-party cookies with alternative identifiers may work for large publishers. . But a spokeswoman said the company has to “think about the diversity of people who use our product, including long-tail pubs.” Those publications may not have the same amount of data of their own that larger publishers would.

“Right now, what we are hearing from some editors is that they are skeptical. They’re saying, ‘Hey, well, we have these alternatives. And we think this is going to preserve everything that we wanted. So why should we have to make compensation? ‘”Dischler said. “Now, our position is that those solutions are not durable and we should be building for the long-term future.”

Google also argues that users’ personal browsing history does not leave their browser or devices in FLoC, and excludes cohorts if they reveal potentially sensitive information. The company also said that Chrome is introducing a control to allow users to opt out of FLoC and other Privacy Sandbox proposals.

Measurement

Google plans to discuss solutions for advertisers who want to continue to measure ad performance in a different type of environment.

“The privacy environment is changing. And our ability to access the data is limited, ”Dischler said. “But at the same time, advertisers have certain expectations about how they measure ROI and we want to serve them. Therefore, we are using a combination of source data and forecasts, we can approximate the precision that they had before with these new systems. ”

The company said it is investing in products that help advertisers learn more about consumer behavior and purchasing decisions through machine learning. Google also recently told advertisers that they could use opt-in source data for measurement even after cookie changes. The company said it is expanding the availability of something called “Customer Match,” which allows advertisers to use online and offline data that customers have shared to target ads to themselves and other customers like them.

Invest in automation

The company also plans to provide updates on the next moves in automation.

Google offers a large number of automated products; For example, a product allows advertisers to enter multiple titles and descriptions to create a “responsive” search ad, then Google Ads automatically tests those combinations to see which one works best.

Google said that more than 80% of its advertisers use automatic bidding, in which an advertiser chooses a strategy, such as trying to increase site visits or get the most conversions for a given budget, and then allows Google to automatically set bids. to try to achieve those goals.

The company said it is expanding advertisers’ ability to target ROI strategies across more Google channels, including YouTube, Search, Display, and more.

“The people who were using our automation gave us their business goals. And they are relying on the power of machine learning to figure out how to tailor that business goal to our various advertising systems across all of these channels, ”Dischler said. “When we saw that these systems would be resistant to a shock like Covid, we said okay, this is really the best solution for most advertisers in all possible situations. So we have increased our investment there. ”

In part, that means expanding your “Performance Max” campaigns more broadly after starting testing last year, with general availability coming later in 2021. Google says this type of campaign uses its automation to drive better results in all your channels.

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