While most of the brands are struggling to survive during the tough times of pandemic, Google has set its goals right for the whole year. It is innovating itself without any trouble. Every month Google targets to enhance itself, according to the growing demand of the society. Google makes sure, that it fulfills the need of its users by providing them with exactly what they desire.
Recently, Google introduced two new features for its search portals. One of the features is designed, and dedicated to the Black community. The feature will help in the upliftment of the community in society and will aim to end the injustice against them.
Due to the rise of anger in the community against the centuries-long injustice experienced by the community, several brands came forward to show their support towards the community. Google was amongst them.
To fulfill his promise, the CEO at Google, Sundar Pichai recently added a feature to the map and Google search listing.
This feature is launched to empower the Black community. The feature will highlight businesses owned by the Black community helping them grow. However, only those members can avail of the benefit whose business has verified profiles in the US. Also, the business must be owned by a member of the black community.
Those businesses highlighted under this feature will be marked by an image(as shown below). The symbol will signify that the business is owned by a member of the Black community.
It is said that the step was taken to provide a financial boost to the community. It is a foreseen step to finally end the orthodox discrimination towards the community. Google is also partnering with U.S. Black Chambers, inc. To provide better features like Analytics helping the businesses groom and blossom.
In a statement regarding this following statement was issued by Google:
“As part of our $300 million commitment to support under-represented entrepreneurs, we’re integrating the attribute into the digital skills training programs we offer Black business owners through Grow with Google Digital Coaches. And through Google for Startups Accelerator for Black Founders, we’re starting our work with the first cohort of 12 startups.”
Google is keen to develop the feature even more and is seeking ideas internally. According to the management, they have already received more than 500 creative ideas to get this model to develop more brilliantly.
The company is also working on better and much strict “Policies against hate and harassment”
“About this ad”- More power to the user!
With a more transparent approach towards their users, Google has launched a new feature popularly known as “About this ad”.
To implement this feature Google will be launching new tools. It will help the users gain information about the advertisement they are receiving. It will help enhance security and will increase user privacy on the digital platform.
According to Google spokesperson, the vision is designed for a “thriving internet where people around the world can continue to access ad-supported content, while also feeling confident that their data is protected”.
“But in order to get there, we must increase transparency into how digital advertising works, offer users additional controls, and ensure that people’s choices about the use of their data are respected not worked around or ignored.”
For a long time now, tech giants like Google are have faced a lot of criticism. Most of those were linked to their explicit behavior when it comes to money and user privacy. After being criticized and called upon several times by different government authorities for blind approach in the business during the usage of advertisers’ money, Google has finally decided to be more transparent with its business policies and proposals.
Therefore, Google shared a list of pricing for its tools used by advertisers for the advertisement. It was a huge step by Google, since before this release, advertisers were kept in the dark about the spent of their share of the money, and the profit earned by Google.
The tools for which Google revealed the prices include, DV360, Google Ads, ad manager, and its publisher tech.
The revealed prices are as follows:
These prices were revealed by Google in a series of articles and blog posts.
The prices are in the ratio of percentage for a $1 amount spent by an advertiser on an advertisement, divided between the publisher and Google.
- Google tech: Publishers – 69%, Google – 31%
- DV360: Publisher – 87%, Google – 13%
- Ad Manager: Publisher – 82%, Google – 18%
- Google Ads: Publisher – 86%, Google – 14%
- Ad sense by Google: 68% share taken by Google of the total spent by the advertiser.
Google has never been so transparent in regards to its prices, the sources say that this new transparent face of Google is due to the ongoing legal hearing conducted by the state attorney general and the Department of Justice.
Innovation has always been the motto of the company. To make sure that the advertisers at Google are equipped with the best tools available in the market, it recently launched its new self-service toolkit known as Display & Video 360.
The tool is launched to change the landscape of the advertisement. Display &Video 360 is a gift to its advertisers by Google.
Earlier, advertisers used the tools to make a hypothetical projection while running an online marketing campaign. The most crucial question that bothered the advertisers was the amount of audience that they will reach with the campaign. To make sure it’s no more a hit and try show for the advertisers, Google launched DV360.
With the DV360, the advertisers can now create a new campaign and check its reach to the audience as the tool provides a duplicate view of the campaign. The duplicate view will help the advertisers view the exact or say a more accurate number of audiences that they will reach with the campaign. Hence, no more blind bets!
The tool has better forecasting capabilities, giving the advertisers a glimpse of the future for their campaign. It is also a better solution for the media planners as it provides them with a large proportion of benefits as better access to the tool as they always have a larger role to play.
The most crucial answer answered with the tool is, “how many unique people can I expect to reach with my overall campaign across any open auction display and video inventory as well as YouTube?”
According to Anudeep Pedditi, Programmatic Manager, OMD NZ:
“Once we commit to a reach objective, neither underachieving nor overachieving is an option. Display & Video 360 gives media planners the accuracy they need to effectively plan across all our programmatic campaigns.”
The Tools main aim is to provide the following features to its advertisers:
Options For Buying
Optimization And Reporting
Google will launch a new algorithm for its page experience and design. The new model will be based on user experience.
The new algorithm will surely affect SEO and web traffic. Therefore, to make sure that the advertisers are not affected by the changes, Google has announced that they will apply the changes in 2021. They have promised to inform upfront, at least six months beforehand.
An early reminder will help advertisers to prepare themselves for the changes.
However, Google made it clear that the new algorithm will be even stricter in ranking the web pages. If the user experience of a web-page is poor, Google will not rank the page on to the top list.
Google has also published a detailed document dedicated to the page experience criteria.
The new algorithm will consist of some core vital features. This feature includes the following:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the loading performance of your webpage.
- First Input Delay(FID): Measures the user interaction with the page.
- Cumulative layout Shift: Checks the stability factors of your webpage.
The Accelerated Mobile version (AMP) will also play a major role in the ranking of your page, as will be a metrics for the page experience.
Also, good content will always play a lead role in the page ranking.
As per a statement:
“While all of the components of page experience are important, we will prioritize pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar.
A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
Hence, entrepreneurs, startups, and businesses should be well prepared for the new changes.
Have you ever imagine the amount of traffic Google experience in a minute, month, or year?
Well, here are some fun facts, every second there is an approximate of 63,000 search queries entered on Google search.
Also, near to 2 trillion searches are conducted every year!
Isn’t it amazing? However, you might ask, why does it matter?
Let us understand!
Google holds an approximate 72% market share of search engines. To make sure that your webpage is listed on the top of the list of Google search results you must have an understanding of Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
What is SERP? And, what all it provides to the advertisers on Google?
The Search Engine Result Page of Google has gone through a lot of changes according to the user view. It has become much more dynamic, relevant, personalized, and helpful.
Now the search engine of Google is equipped with several enhancements that use structured data. The search page consists of visual enhancement, better index, and optimization for the website. You must be aware of all these changes if you are planning for a better organic ranking for your website.
Here is the new enhancement for the search page of Google:
- Direct answer Box
- Rich Snippet
- Rich cards
- Knowledge Graphs
- Knowledge Panels
- Local Pack
- People also ask
- Image Pack
- Site Links
You must be equipped with the knowledge of these for better results in organic ranking.
MSME’s got adversely affected due to the widespread of COVID-19. Several small and medium scale businesses have lost their source of income due to the sudden breakthrough of this epidemic.
Therefore to make sure that these businesses sustain the effects of the crisis, Google is allowing small retailers to list their products for free on Google Shopping.
Explaining this decision, Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google cites the fact that it is difficult for struggling businesses to pay for Google shopping listings at this time.
“And as consumers increasingly shop online, they’re searching not just for essentials but also things like toys, apparel, and home goods.
While this presents an opportunity for struggling businesses to reconnect with consumers, many cannot afford to do so at scale.”
Earlier, Google charged its customers as Pay per click (PPC). It can also be seen as a tactic by Google to compete with Amazon in the market of e-commerce.
Two years ago, Google announced that it will discontinue the usage of third-party cookies in its browser, which is Google Chrome. Since the announcement, several speculations surfaced, to understand its effects on internet traffic and advertisement. However, Google seems determined about the elimination, and this year Google announced “Privacy Sandbox” a step towards the replacement of third-party cookies.
It is developed to provide a secure browsing experience to its user.
According to a spoke person from Google, “This is an early-stage concept, and we don’t have more details to share right now, We plan to publish updates and progress in GitHub as part of the process.”
The concept uses a new algorithm designed by performing “Bit Request Signal Experiment”.
Privacy Sandbox was launched in August. The idea was to innovate ad recurrence and behavioral advertising. It aimed to help them work on the web without using third-party cookies. A mega event was organized, 163 giant tech organizations like Apple, Facebook, Axel Springer, The Washington Post, Criteo, The Trade Desk, and even Google participated. All are requested to share their views via. World Wide Web Consortium or GitHub to help the project succeed.
However, according to the Google developers, it is still in its initial stage and there is a lot of work that is needed to be done in this field.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained:
“As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities. To help address some of these challenges, today we’re announcing a new $800+ million commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.”
- WHO and other health organizations will get $250 million for advertisement.
- MSME’s and NGO’s will get $200 million.
- An additional $15 million in cash will be granted by Google.org to non-profits to bridge the gap between SMB’s.
- Those small businesses that are already active for a year with Google advertisement will get the help of a total of $340 million in Google ad. They will receive the credit in their accounts and can spend it by the end of 2020.
- The academic and research institutions in the field of COVID research will get $20 million.
- Financial support will be provided to the organizations to increase the production capacity for life-saving equipment.
However, not everything went great for Google during this tough time of COVID:
- Budget cuts and hiring freezes across marketing and across Google.
- For the second half of 2020, Google is cutting its marketing budget to 50%.
- The cut is due to the reduced expenditure on advertisement by the brands during the time of the crisis.
- The development comes in less than a week from where Google is scheduled to discuss Q1 2020 results on 28th April.
According to a statement released by email:
“There are budget cuts and hiring freezes happening across marketing and across Google…We, along with the rest of marketing, have been asked to cut our budget by about half for H2.”
A company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNBC,
“As we outlined last week, we are re-evaluating the pace of our investment plans for the remainder of 2020 and will focus on a select number of important marketing efforts….We continue to have a robust marketing budget, particularly in digital, in many business areas.”
…we continue to invest, but will be recalibrating the focus and pace of our investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non-business essential marketing and travel.”
As quoted by Digiday, the Head of Display at the U.S based retailer said,
“Google’s ad exchange didn’t make the list primarily because they’re not willing to give us any transparency or data around not only their take rates on our media sped but also anything we could already pull from our demand-side platform.”
“We’re seeing Google’s ad exchange become slightly less of the total pie,” said Jay Friedman, president at programmatic agency Goodway Group to DigiDay.
”I don’t have a percentage but it’s less but not significant.”, he further added.
The advertisers registered their doubts and raised concerns regarding the non-transparent behavior of Google. However, this must have been resolved after the release of the price list for its advertising tools by Google.
- Responding to George Floyd’s death, more than 200 advertising agencies pledged to support black talent.
- Advertising trade bodies and bosses assure to take action on inequality and maintain inclusive cultures that are sensitive to the matters of racism and injustice.
Protests continue to take place in the U.S and worldwide after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.
After various brands condemn racism and voice their support for protestors, now UK bosses from big advertising agencies have signed an open letter expressing solidarity and support with the black community, committed to doing more within the digital advertising industry, and take action on inequality.
The signed letter is coordinated by Creative Equals, a body dedicated to promoting diversity in the workplace involves 200 U.K advertising bosses.
The bigger picture
Chief executives from WPP, Publicis Groupe, IPA, Facebook, GroupM, Havas, and more have come together and pledged to tackle ‘systemic inequality’ within the digital industry and championing black talent.
According to the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) report, U.K agencies along with British businesses have a diversity problem. It shows 4.7% represented Black, Asian, and minority ethnic—a grouping commonly known as BAME in the U.K. That was down from 5.5% in 2018.
The number of employees has dropped from 13.8% to 13.7% year-on-year. However, there was an uptick in the number of BAME chairpeople, chief executives, and managing directors, up from 2.9% to 4.1%.
The open letter addresses these numbers and says,” We need to drive equity in our organizations, the people we hire, the work we produce, and how we engage with clients.”
A commitment to change
As a part of the pledge, the IAB and its members ask the industry leaders to commit to change and action in their support to black talent and communities by holding themselves accountable in 10 following ways:
- Making representation and inclusivity a core part with clear KPI’s and objectives.
- Speaking out and taking action against racism using the company channels.
- Enable employees to understand their privilege as well as white privilege.
- Call out racism when encountered.
- Create safe and inclusive spaces for frank racism discussions.
- Checking with black employees at this traumatic time.
- Commit to elevate and amplify black talent, promote champions, and celebrate black employees.
- Ensuring their advertising isn’t funding white supremacy or racist content.
What are they saying
Some key points from the letter explained by UK ad executives :
“While the brutality has brought widespread shock, the direct effect of this injustice and violence on people of colour in our industry cannot be underestimated.”
“As inequality is so ingrained within the fabric of society and our sector, this is a problem we need to take action on together to affect change. We can all self-educate. We can all challenge our prejudices and those of others. We are all able to prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion at this critical time.”
The letter ends saying
“Today, we say George Floyd’s name and stand with all black talent in our industry.”
Read the full content of the letter here:
Need for the real change
This week several brands expressed their support to black communities. Although Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, and Netflix have lent their support to the Black Lives Matter movement, it is important to see solidarity translate into action for a meaningful impact especially in the digital advertising industry where it has fallen short in the workforce diversity.
The founder of 56 Black Men, Cephan Williams agrees that the brand holds higher influencing power to enact change. Now neither it’s time to remain silent nor jump the bandwagon but take action.
Awin pledges to do more for the black community and fight racial injustice. It said in a statement,
“We recognize our actions need to be ongoing and there is always an opportunity to do more. The pain in our communities and for many of our employees is real and the reality is, too many have experienced this pain for far too long. We know we don’t have all of the answers, but we know this: Complacency is not an option and we are stronger together.”
It is important for the leaders to work collectively as an industry to continue conversations, take action, and support talent in improving diversity and inclusion in the sector. Organizations should ensure not to tolerate racism at any cost.
- Major brands released various statements condemning racism and voicing their support for protesters.
- The protests intensified across the U.S after the death of Geroge Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on 25th May.
Following a long history of Black Americans losing their lives in police custody, the death of George Floyd has sparked nationwide protests and civil unrest.
Why it matters: Even the brands that remained silent against social injustice, such as ad agencies or marketing professionals have raised their voice in the Trump era to fill the void created by the government.
Driving the news: Brands like Twitter changed their official display image as a part of the change. Other brands like Google, YouTube, Disney, Netflix, Amazon followed the suit.
However, the brand’s support has received mixed reactions of praise and criticism. Supports that include tangible steps to action like donation or building up of links and resources with statements are welcome to combat racism. However, generic statements that lacked depth are being accused of commercializing the tragedy.
L’oreal drew criticism from British model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, who claimed that she was previously dropped out from a campaign for speaking on racism.
Facebook donated $10 million but received backlash from critics. Social media is still taking heat for not taking a stand against the controversial post of President Trump that promoted violence, unlike the competitor Twitter.
One commenter wrote on the Facebook social media post, “If Facebook was serious then Facebook would censor the president’s inflammatory posts the same way the rest of us are censored. This is just lip service at this point.”
Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout over the issue and one employee, software engineer Timothy Aveni, wrote on LinkedIn about why he’s leaving the company altogether.
How have brands and media companies shown solidarity: They took to social media to support the Black Lives Matter movement using a set of hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForFloyd.
- Social posts go black for Blackout Tuesday
Scroll through any social feeds on Tuesday, June 2 and there will be a sea of black images on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms with the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday. Brands, celebrities, ad agencies, influencers are participating in support of racial injustice.
Sony postponed a PlayStation 5 event to give fans a sneak peek at the games in a tweet. On the other hand, prominent music labels and musicians participated in Blackout Tuesday with hashtags – #BlackoutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused. Others are participating by staying silent on social media.
In solidarity with the Black community, our employees, our friends, our families, and our colleagues across industries we are proud to take part in #BlackoutTuesday.
Savage X Fenty will NOT be conducting any business on Tuesday, June 2 – globally.
— Savage X Fenty by Rihanna (@SavageXFenty) June 2, 2020
— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) June 2, 2020
On Tuesday, June 2nd, Lucky Brand will observe “Black Out Tuesday.” We will be closed for Business. This is not a day off. We have work to do. #BlackOutTuesday #BlackLivesMatter #LuckyTogether pic.twitter.com/CWLCo5SI15
— Lucky Brand (@LuckyBrand) June 2, 2020
Interscope vowed not to release new music for the entire week.
— interscope (@Interscope) May 31, 2020
- Other Brands
Bank of America: It plans to donate $1 billion and four years of support at the local community level to help with economic and racial inequality which has intensified in the pandemic. In a statement, CEO Brian Moynihan, “We all need to do more.”
The financial giant will focus on health, training, small business support, and housing with the help of Bank of America’s 90 local U.S. market presidents.
Verizon: Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg initially fought back tears during a webcast and pledged $10 million to social justice organizations. A full list of those receiving donations can be found here.
"We have the responsibility as a large corporation to do right in these times. We cannot commit to the brand purpose of moving the world forward unless we're committed to helping ensure we move forward for everyone." –@HansVestberghttps://t.co/fHH4TWe52g pic.twitter.com/9wGIjhwBgw
— Verizon (@Verizon) June 1, 2020
Ben and Jerry : This brand has been consistently conscientious. The ice-cream maker has previously also taken a stand in response to Ferguson unrest.
4 years ago, in the wake of Ferguson, we felt compelled to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We’re heartbroken those words are just as relevant today. These racist and brutal attacks against our Black brothers and sisters must end. #JusticeForFloyd https://t.co/7ngefmtqnu
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) May 27, 2020
Starbucks: In 2018, Starbucks came into limelight after a store manager called the police as two black men were sitting at a table and had yet to order. This incident raised an alarm against racism and the coffee chain conducted training on race, bias, and inclusion and had shut the store one afternoon for discussion.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 1, 2020
Microsoft: The company shared the black employees’ quotes and feelings in this turbulent time on its social channels.
At this time, we will be using our platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) June 1, 2020
Lululemon: The company extended its support not merely by statements but pledged $100,000 donations on Instagram.
Netflix – Their move drew accolades online including director Ava DuVernay and “Orange Is the New Black” and “Mrs. America” star Uzo Aduba.
To be silent is to be complicit.
Black lives matter.
We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.
— Netflix (@netflix) May 30, 2020
YouTube: The company pledged $1 million in support of efforts against social injustice whereas Amazon Studios released its own message in support of the Black community and against racism on Twitter and Instagram. Other companies showing their support include HBO, Viacom, Pop TV, Quibi, and more.
HBO changed its name on Twitter to #BlackLivesMatter whereas ViacomCBS President of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy wrote in an internal memo that all entertainment and youth brands and platforms would be going dark on Monday for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the precise amount of time the police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck.
A new spot was created that read “I CAN’T BREATHE” on the black background as audio plays the sound of breathing. A Call-to-action was included to support the non-profit Color of Change for civil rights advocacy.
For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, we will go dark in tribute to George Floyd. We dedicate this time to the victims of police brutality and the powerful movement fighting for justice. Join @ColorofChange. Text DEMANDS to 55156. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/X6587CxuOw
— VH1 (@VH1) June 1, 2020
Adidas: Adidas and Nike, the two rivals came together to support the movement and support George Floyd supporters. Adidas shared Nike’s video.
Together is how we move forward.
Together is how we make change. https://t.co/U1nmvMhxB2
— adidas (@adidas) May 30, 2020
Business in Minneapolis: Many businesses and stores have been damaged or looted during the unrest but still some of the brands and business owners are voicing their support for protesters
Brand ‘Target’ has seen many of its stores looted in the Twin Cities region, however, the CEO put out a statement sympathizing with the movement.
“We are a community in pain. That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities — it extends across America. The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts.”
“As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose.”
Can Brands make a real change: It is difficult to gauge how only words of support for the fight against racial injustice is sufficient. Brands voicing their support needs to translate into action for a meaningful impact. Brands should support lobbying and campaigning pressure on the government and institutions to change the structure which few of the organizations are trying within limited means.
What’s next: Even though these protests will eventually cease, brands must ensure they are doing everything to dismantle the pillars of structural racism. Expect brands that have stayed silent until now will feel the pressure to respond quickly to the ongoing crisis with a viewpoint.