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March Updates to Paid Advertising Platforms


What: Reacting to COVID-19

Resources: Prior to getting into platform-specific updates, it’s essential to address COVID-19 and its impacts on the industry. The resources below were compiled from a recent Hanapin/Brainlabs email blast, and are an excellent source of industry trends, strategic recommendations, grant opportunities, and more.

Google Ads

What: Google improves the appeal process of disapproved or limited ads

Details: A new feature within the interface will allow advertisers to resubmit an ad immediately after fixing the policy infraction. To evoke the review, simply hover over a disapproved or limited ad and click the “Appeal” link if applicable.

Impact: Unexpected ad disapprovals are a common source of stress for advertisers. The streamlined process likely will help alleviate that concern and lead to less unplanned “downtime”. It should be noted that in the short term, Google is expecting longer than usual reviews. The COVID-19 situation has impacted office staffing, and therefore the appeal process.

What:  Report Editor can operate with an expanded number of accounts

Details: Report Editor, located under the Reports Tab in the drop-down navigation, has expanded capacity from 10 to 200 accounts.

Impact: Multi-brand enterprises and agencies gain the potential to run simultaneous analysis on a larger set of accounts.

What:  Google delays deadline to adopt parallel tracking for video due to COVID-19 situation

Details: The deadline to switch to parallel tracking for video campaigns is now June 15th.

Impact: Parallel tracking creates a quicker page load for advertisers using third-party click tracking. Video represents the last campaign type to transition to this setup.

What: Google Ads updates attribution reporting

Details: The update significantly streamlines reporting in addition to changing the name from Search Attribution to simply Attribution. Many reports will be overhauled to ease the digestion of information, while familiar information such as Top Paths, Assisted Conversions, and Model Comparison reports will be included.

Impact: For the time being, you can still return to the previous reports. Moving forward, Google continues to focus on data and analytics that follow the full user journey, not simply last click.

What: Intro testing and Asset reporting come to App campaigns

Details: To help developers gain beta testers for their app, Google is launching open testing ads in Google App Campaigns. Additionally, Google is expanding the columns/metrics available to advertisers for assessing creative performance within its App campaigns.

Impact: Open testing ads will allow new apps to test for stability, retention, monetization, and effectiveness of ad creatives prior to full-scale launch. App campaign asset reporting improves the transparency of creative performance in Google App Campaigns, a campaign type considered somewhat of a “black box” when it comes to optimization.

What: Google Ads App now shares Optimization Score details

Details: Within the Google  Ads mobile app, advertisers are now able to see Google Optimization Scores details and notifications.

Impact: Google is promoting OptiScore aggressively as a means of ensuring best practices are maximized across its platform. This update, in addition to the Google Partners program requiring a specific agency-wide OptiScore, demonstrates the priority Google has placed on this metric.

Reddit Advertising

What: Introducing Trending Takeover Offering for Advertisers

Details: The new ad unit shows in the “Trending Today” section of Reddit. Current purchase options are limited to direct buy that can be executed by contacting Reddit Advertising.

Impact: Although Reddit’s ad offerings and audience appeal remain somewhat niche, this provides further evidence of an expanding approach on the platform.

Did we miss any major monthly updates? Not covering a certain platform close enough? Feel free to let me know on Twitter @Will_Larcom



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


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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