Google Ads Privacy Guidance on Why It’s Fighting to Save the Ad-Funded Internet

Digital advertising should be safer, but completely surrendering to the ad-supported web would be a mistake, says Google’s Claire Norborn.

Having access to quality information has never been more important than it is today. We are living in a pandemic, experiencing a crisis in living and energy costs, witnessing a terrible war in Ukraine and experiencing increasing climate crises around the world.

People rely on accessible and reliable information to help them navigate uncertainty. Today, nearly 90% of Europe is online, with an explosion of tools, information and content at their fingertips.

Advertising has played a major role in this, funding our favorite content from newspapers to magazines, entertainment TV and now the web. But with more people online and more concern about their privacy, the advertising-funded internet model has become a topic of debate.

People reject ads that they see as spam or offensive. Regulators around the world are rightly calling for a more private internet, and some critics are calling for personalized ads to be banned altogether.

It is clear that we need a more responsible and respectful Internet. Digital advertising should be safer for people, successful for publishers, and stronger for businesses. But completely abandoning the ad-supported web would be a mistake. Here is the reason:

Ads can be made more private

Moving to a world without third-party cookies means rethinking the technology on which much of the advertising system is built and building new, primary privacy solutions. But these solutions can exist – and they do exist.

We share and test many of them through the Privacy Sandbox: providing new technologies that allow users to view relevant ads without compromising their privacy or being tracked across sites. We are collaborating with the industry on change, listening to their feedback while staying on the right track to stop third-party cookies by the end of 2024.

These aren’t the only changes we’re making. At Dmexco in Cologne, we announced two new tools to help users and advertisers alike towards a more private web.

The first is the Google Ads Privacy Center, which is set up to help advertisers track product innovations and learn from others.

The second is My Ad Center. Last year, 300 million people visited ad settings, choosing to make ads more specific to them. My Ad Center will give people control over what ads they want to see across Search, Discover and YouTube by choosing what they like and don’t like – all in one place. This works because the best ads are useful, relevant and safe.

Ads will be more private

Last year, we surveyed more than 7,000 Europeans and found that when brands respect privacy, their ads perform better. This year, we dig deeper: We asked 20,000 Europeans about the consequences of good and bad privacy experiences.

Research shows that not only will the industry be rewarded for respecting people’s privacy – it can’t afford not to.

Three-quarters of those surveyed preferred to buy from brands that gave them more control over their privacy, and nearly half said they would switch to a brand that respects their privacy online.

When brands get it wrong, the results are drastic. A poor privacy experience has almost as negative an impact on customer trust as having their data stolen: enough to make them switch to another brand entirely. The impact of a negative privacy experience outweighs the impact of a positive experience, so once the damage is done, it is nearly impossible for brands to bring customers back.

The research was clear: private advertising is effective advertising. So, moving to a more private model isn’t just an option – it’s a necessity.

People want an ad-supported network

Making the change to a more respectable, responsible and ad-supported web model is not only vital to the success of advertising – it is essential to the future of the web.

We’ve seen calls to ban personalized ads entirely and rely solely on “contextual” ads. But that won’t pay for the web that everyone wants. It is estimated that if personalized advertising will suddenly disappear, as much From $32 billion to $39 billion It may turn away from those who rely on open web technology, including publishers, at a time when reliable information has never been more important.

Some say that you simply have to pay for all services. But that would turn the web into a luxury good, locking up billions. That’s why Netflix, a leader in the subscription model, and others like Disney and HBO now offer ads to users who want – or need – to pay less.

These replacement models are not only flawed, but also unpopular. Research conducted by IAB Europe It shows that 75% of Europeans will choose the current internet experience over one without targeted ads as they will need to pay to access websites, content and apps.

For online advertising and the future of the internet, this is a moment now or never to be. Without people’s trust, the future of the ad-supported web is at stake. We need to embrace change and build an ad-supported web for the future: a web that gives people the quality of information they need, delivered with the privacy they deserve, through brands they can trust. We are here to help support this transition.

Claire Norborn is responsible for advertising privacy at Google in the UK and Ireland.

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