A More Private Web Can Help Businesses Grow

Ads play a major role in sustaining the free and open web. They support great content and services from a diverse range of creators and publishers. They help companies of all sizes reach customers more efficiently than ever before. 

Yet people’s expectations for the collection and use of data are changing, which means the web as we know it—free, open and ad-supported—is changing, too. Internet platforms, web browsers and ad-blocking features are promising more privacy by blocking common technologies like cookies. This takes a toll on the funds that content creators, newsrooms, web developers and videographers depend on to support their work. It also means that companies that rely on these technologies must respect the demand for a more private web in order for the web itself to remain dynamic and vibrant over the long term. 

We strongly believe that advertising and privacy can coexist. Helping businesses adapt to a privacy-safe web isn’t just good business practice—if done right, and done collaboratively, it can be an engine for economic recovery and growth.

The importance of online advertising 

When you see ads online, they’re usually placed with the support of widely available tools, often called ad technology or “ad tech,” that help companies get the most out of the money they spend on ads. Google competes with a range of companies large and small to provide these tools to the platforms, publishers, and advertisers that need them. 

All this competition drives us to innovate and improve our tools. Millions of publishers use Google advertising services to help make the digital advertising process easy and effective, and publishers retain about 70 percent of the revenue that’s generated (and for many, it’s even more). We’re constantly working to help them earn more: In 2019, we made nearly 80 product improvements aimed at improving publisher revenue, which generated revenue increases of more than 9 percent in total for publishers using Google Ad Manager.

What cookies do 

Much of online advertising makes use of a basic, widely available technology called cookies, which are part of the basic architecture of the web. They help with things like measuring the effectiveness of a company’s ad campaign or enabling a particular advertiser to reach the consumers it wants to reach.

However, cookies were conceived for an earlier era. It’s clear from privacy laws in Europe and around the world that citizens and governments want a greater understanding of how they work and more control over their use. And efforts by platforms, browsers and ad-blocking companies are already putting new limits on them.

In this changing landscape, the funds that web publishers rely on to support their operations are increasingly at risk. For example, an analysis of the 500 largest Google Ad Manager customers found that when third-party cookies are disabled, publishers receive on average 52 percent less programmatic ad revenue. Like others, Google also uses third-party cookies for ads we serve on other sites (for example, Google Ad Manager and AdSense) so Google will also be affected as the industry moves away from cookies.

The Privacy Sandbox 

The question today is whether the web can keep people’s information safe and private while also supporting the advertising that keeps so much of the web free. 

That’s why, as part of a larger initiative with the web standards community called the “Privacy Sandbox,” the engineers behind Google’s browser, Chrome, are working on ways to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies. Privacy Sandbox aims to provide space for experimentation and input from technologists, businesses, publishers, regulators and more. Among the proposals being tested are privacy-safe ways to do things like predict and protect against fraud, properly measure if an ad campaign has “worked,” and find the right audience for an ad. One such proposal, Federated Learning of Cohorts, uses machine learning algorithms that run on individual devices to model groups of people by their browsing behaviors without creating individual ad profiles at all.

Coming up with these new technologies involves complicated trade-offs, but we believe that the decision to phase out support for third-party cookies is the right thing for privacy and the industry as a whole. That’s why we’re working with the industry in forums like the W3C, and are in active discussions with independent authorities, such as the Competition and Markets Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK, to help us find the best approach. 

Responsible use of data

We’re committed to having privacy-preserving mechanisms in place that address the industry’s critical needs before discontinuing support for third-party cookies. We think this will not only promote business growth for numerous companies, but could also increase competition in the sector overall by making it a healthier place to advertise and grow while still meeting consumers’ expectations.

Alongside our efforts to promote privacy, we’re increasing transparency on the data we use, and are investing in products to help people and businesses to understandprotectmove and benefit from data in new ways

Protecting people’s personal data doesn’t have to be at odds with business growth. By focusing on the people who use our products and investing in new technologies to connect advertisers and publishers with users safely, we can create more value and promote a thriving future on the web—for everyone.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

Greater Controls For Sensitive Ad Topics In Your Ad Settings

Building tools that provide transparency and control has always been a top priority for us, and over the years, we’ve empowered people to shape their ads experience through user controls. We’ve launched About this ad, which explains why a specific ad is being shown, and Ad Settings, which allows people to control how ads are personalized or even opt out of personalized ads altogether at an account level.

We’ve heard feedback that some people would prefer to limit ads in certain categories like alcohol, so today, we’re launching a new control in Ad Settings, enabling people to see fewer alcohol ads, with gambling as an additional option. 

We’ve long had features like Mute this ad, where people can indicate which ads they’d rather not see. These controls live alongside our policies which determine when and where gambling and alcohol ads can be shown per local laws (e.g. age restrictions). This new feature is an extra step, putting choice in the user’s hands and enabling you to further control your ad experience. With a click of a button, you can choose to see fewer gambling and alcohol ads. It is also reversible; should you change your mind, you can click to see such ads again. 

This feature will roll out in Ad Settings gradually, beginning with YouTube Ads in the US, and we aim to introduce this for Google Ads and YouTube globally in early 2021. Countries with legal restrictions against serving gambling and alcohol ads will not see any change in their policies.

Many of the advertisers we work with are also invested in respecting people’s choices and cultural differences when it comes to the ads they see. For this initiative, we’ve been working with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) and its members, the leading beer, wine and spirits producers, taking into account their expertise on standards for responsible alcohol advertising and marketing—and we’re pleased to have their support.

“IARD’s engagement with Google means users of the platform, starting with YouTube, will have the option to see fewer alcohol ads. Our members are determined to give people greater control over whether they see alcohol-related marketing online. Respecting these personal preferences and recognizing differences in culture requires sensitivity and action, that’s why we hope this partnership is the start of a bigger movement.” – Henry Ashworth, President and CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking

 “As a responsible producer and member of IARD, we are determined to set and deliver new and robust standards of marketing responsibility. This significant new feature is a very important development for our sector, and it will have a meaningful impact for people around the world as it is rolled out across Google’s platform.”- Albert Baladi, CEO Beam Suntory and Chair of the IARD

We believe this new feature is an important step in user choice and control. We’ll continue to improve our controls; and as our products and people’s expectations of them evolve, so will the features we make available to personalize ad experiences.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

How To Capture Emails From Restaurant Customers

Email Opt In Strategy

You know you need to market your restaurant.

After more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, your restaurant likely struggling to stay in business.

>> Sometimes a bit of humor helps in times like these.

Across the country, businesses closed temporarily. Now, as the country re-opens, you probably want to leverage every available marketing technology and strategy to herd as many customers as the law will allow you to into your doors.

To get more people into your restaurant and keep them coming back, you need to market your restaurant. One unique method of doing that is email marketing.

This method is unique for restaurants because it is a challenge to obtain an email address while the customer sits in your café. They have their mobile phone with them and in the relaxed environment of a meal out, rarely will they want to stop their meal to load your website on a browser. You might get their cell phone number pretty easily, but emails present a challenge.

 How can you capture your restaurant customers’ email addresses?

A few options exist for collecting email addresses. When we say “automatically,” we do not mean illicitly. Collecting email addresses always requires an ask. You can ask online or offline. Here are a few ideas for getting the important information surrounding the “@”.

Place an empty fishbowl next to the cash register.

Label the bowl as a collector spot for business cards. If you want to encourage many business cards, offer to draw for a free lunch once per week. You will only be out the cost of one meal, but you will encourage many business cards to get dumped into the bowl. At the end of each week, draw the card that wins and contact that person with their gift certificate. Then, empty the bowl and enter all of the names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers into a database or Excel spreadsheet. Post the name of the week’s winner on the front of the bowl, so people can see why they would want to drop their business card into the bowl. When your winner comes in, take a picture of them dining and post it, too. This could be your first email newsletter.

Ask your customers to text their email addresses.

Customers more freely share their email addresses when sitting at their computer, but pretty rarely have a computer with them when dining out. Some restaurants have had luck asking customers to text their email addresses to the establishment. For example, Elephant Bar set up a short code of 73757 to make it quicker to dial them. Customers can text their shortcode with the word “rewards” followed by their email address to join their rewards program. This method gets the restaurant two important pieces of data — the email address and the cell phone number.

Ask on your website via a reservations form.

You might doubt that restaurant patrons visit websites, but they do. You can encourage them to visit yours more often by offering specials or coupons that you only post there or by setting up an automated reservation system. The latter frees up your personnel from needing to answer the phones to make reservations. Patrons can visit the website to make reservations. You solve the problems of overbooking and bad handwriting, too. The reservation system only offers as many tables as you have, and you can set the reservation times. Your form prompts the patron for their email address to send a confirmation email. You can also offer to send a reminder of the reservation on the day of the meal.

Collect emails from your Facebook page.

Set up a Facebook page and advertise it using the quite reasonably priced Facebook ads. Offer an app for ordering through the Facebook page and prompt your visitors to share their email. You can send a confirmation of the order immediately and use the email in perpetuity, or until they opt out. Once you build your email list, you can improve your ad reach by using custom audiences.

Use a website email collector form.

Regardless of all the fancy stuff, you do with apps and reservation systems, you also need the straightforward method of a simple form. Using a company like JotForm lets you easily set up a responsive design form that collects just the customers’ names and email addresses. You can handily serve this up when customers visit you by offering free Wi-Fi.

Use ZenReach to serve an ad featuring the email collector form.

Programs like ZenReach let you market via WiFi. When a customer enters your Wi-Fi zone and signs on, you get the opportunity to serve them a sign-on page. Request their email address as part of the sign-on or ask for it as “payment” for using the free Wi-Fi. You can also use ZenReach to serve ads and capture leads using an email prompt. This program uses your Wi-Fi and the consumer’s device ID similar to the way a website uses a cookie. When the customer returns to your restaurant and signs on again, ZenReach recognizes them.

Using Your New Email List

Building your list just gets you started. Once you have it put together, you also need to use it. Put it to good use by sending a once per week newsletter that offers helpful content. You might include a recipe or contest news. Featuring biographies on your staff lets customers get to know the chef, bartender, servers, etc. You can personalize your ads and promotions via email, too. While radio, TV, and even direct mail cost money, you can put together an email list for free and use it for the same zero cost.

Remember to segment your email marketing on top of personalizing the emails. Business diners have different needs than date night diners. Those who order online should get different offers than those who come in to dine.

Offer a coupon for something free on their birthday. Now that you have their emails, you can build a real professional relationship with your customers and that gets you valuable word of mouth advertising.