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Google Discovery Ads: What are they, and should you be using them?

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Google Discovery Ads are changing the future of the way we advertise. By teaming up with AI, it means we can always stay one step ahead of the customer.

Hallam provide a succinct guide for using Google Discovery Ads.

Following several months of suspense after an announcement during The Google Ads Innovation Keynote in May, Google finally released Discovery Ads in Beta, back in November 2019.

At Hallam, the main question our PPC team have heard from our clients following this announcement has been: “What are Discovery Ads?”. Without having the Google app installed on your phone, it’s likely that you may not have heard of Google Discover before.

What is Google Discover?

Currently used by 800 million people, this number continues to grow. While 30 years ago people would read the newspapers whilst drinking their morning coffee, they’re now reading news sites and scrolling through social.

Google Discover – the new name for Google Feed – helps users to take these actions one step further, by allowing all iPhone and Android users who have the Google app installed, to personalise their newsfeed by following or unfollowing chosen topics.

Google Discover looks like this:

Unlike Google Search – designed to answer a specific search query – Google Discover’s aim is to provide an answer before the user even asks the question; which, by the looks of it, is where AI is heading in the next few years.

As a user increasingly interacts with Google Discovery, they’re providing a more detailed overview of what they do and do not want to see. This enables Google to learn more about that individual, tailoring their newsfeed to their preferences.

While this may sound scary initially, in the age of machine learning and AI, we need to remember that machines are not our enemies. Far from taking our lives from us, they’re simply changing it by taking over and improving everyday routines, so that simple tasks like reading the news becomes easier for us.

What are Google Discovery Ads?

When Google rolled out Discovery Ads in Beta form, they provided PPC practitioners with the ability to start targeting ads based on Google Discover features.

The purpose of these ads are to show your customers something they want before they even know they want it. So, rather than responding to a pre-existing demand, they generate demand, which is what search ads are typically utilised for anyway.

Despite their name, Discovery Ads don’t just appear on Google’s Discover app. They also show up on Gmail, which has over 1.5 billion monthly users, and YouTube, which is the second biggest search engine in the world.

What do Google Discovery ads look like?

Google Discovery Ads are very similar to Display Ads, in that they’re designed to be extremely visual and engaging.

They are also available in the form of carousel ads, allowing advertisers to use multiple images so they can encourage people to engage and interact with them.

What are the targeting options?

Much like the Google Display Network, Google Discover allows you to target custom, affinity and in-market audiences. You can also target remarketing audiences, which is a great way to re-engage with your existing website audience through the use of another medium.

The majority of the targeting rules of Google’s Display Network apply to Google Discover; with the idea being to target people based on their interests, or what they’re searching for. For example, if you’re a tour operator and want to advertise discounts for holidays to Croatia, then it makes sense to target people who are actively searching for trips to Croatia. Similarly, if you’re a seller of garden ornaments, then you’ll want to target people who are searching for garden möbel.

Should I try it?

Google Discovery Ads has presented a new step in reklam-, allowing you to expand your inventory by placing your ads in front of people before they even know they want your product or service.

However, the standard is not yet at the same level as Google Display, or even Facebook or Instagram inventory. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to try it, then you should only do so if you’re placing them in front of the right people, and your ads are engaging and tailored to their preferences.

With increasing talks of advertisers stepping away from keywords to focus on targeting audiences, Google Discovery Ads provides an exciting opportunity to do so, with companies able to engage with specific audiences through such a fast-growing medium.

Irina Holliday, senior paid media consultant at Hallam.

We’re a multi-award winning full-service digital agency based in the UK, and a trusted partner to some of the world’s biggest national and international brands.

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Google ska betala $391,5 miljoner för uppgörelse över platsspårning, säger statliga AG:er

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Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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