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Monthly Archives: April 2021

Diagnosing a traffic drop? Just breathe!

April 21, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • A traffic drop doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong – in most cases, it is natural
  • All sites have experienced a decline in traffic throughout their lifetime which can be explained by seasonality, loss of PPC budget, and many other factors
  • When it comes to organic search traffic decline, it is often caused by stagnant content, the emergence of new competitors, or loss of backlinks
  • To diagnose a traffic drop, identify which traffic source is declining, then find which pages have lost traffic
  • It is important to avoid hasty decisions, take your time exploring whether you lost any positions and which pages replaced yours
  • Try to evaluate why this shift has happened and how you may fix it

Have you ever checked your analytics and saw a sudden or gradual decline in organic traffic? Who hasn’t? If there’s one common thing in just about any marketing strategy: All of us have dealt with organic traffic decrease on many occasions. Any website out there has seen traffic dips, often even regularly.

How to deal with organic traffic decline when you see something like this inside your Google Analytics?

organic traffic dropImage source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Here are four well-defined steps to take when diagnosing a traffic drop:

Step 1: Check which traffic source was effected

This is an obvious one but too many people automatically assume it’s Google organic traffic that has dropped.

So make sure it hasn’t been PPC traffic that has exhausted your budget. This happens more than you think!

So assuming, it is organic traffic, let’s go on checking:

Step 2: Which page has dropped?

To quickly find out which pages dropped, navigate to your Google Analytics account Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels. Click “Organic” there and in the date range, check “Compare to” and in the drop-down select “Previous period”:

comparing website traffic over timeSource: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Now scroll down and click the “Landing pages” tab to see all your pages and how their traffic of this week compares to the previous week.

landing pages and website traffic drop analysis

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

No need to scroll a lot here. If you see a traffic dip, chances are, your higher-ranking page or pages were affected. So look at the top of the list.

Now, most importantly, if all your pages took a hit, that’s a good reason to worry. This may be an indicator of a site being affected by a recent Google Update or even a penalty (the latter is much less common these days). This article lists a few good ways to research whether there was an update and how to evaluate whether you may have been affected.

A more common scenario is that you will see some pages dropping. Others will remain intact or even start gaining in traffic. This is a good indicator you shouldn’t be worried about any possible action from Google. Most pages go up and down search engine result pages all the time. 

Now, you grab the list of declining URLs and research them further.

Step 3: Was there any impact on rankings?

It is not such a rare thing: We see a gradual decline in traffic without any obvious impact on rankings. This can be explained by two possible reasons:

  • People just don’t search for that query that much anymore. This was very common in 2020 when searching patterns shifted dramatically. And this can still be the case for seasonal queries (think “costumes,” “ski gear”, “swimsuits,” etc.)
  • Search engine result pages have added a new search element that steals attention and clicks.

So how do you diagnose if your rankings drop?

This question is harder to answer these days. If you are monitoring your rankings, an obvious step here would be to go check there. 

Google’s Search Console is another platform to check but it is not easy to quickly diagnose the ranking drop there. The tool is a little behind in showing data. Still, if you give it some time, you can analyze your rankings thereby using “Compare” tab within the “Performance” section of the reports:

Search console comparison

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Once you choose your date range, scroll down to your data and filter it by the “Position difference” column.

Mind that all you need to note here is lost or declined first-page ranking because your second-page rankings wouldn’t have driven traffic to lose anyway. So again, breathe.

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Instead, you can filter Search Console data by “Previous positions” to see, for example, lost #1 rankings:

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Another – probably smarter – way to diagnose hit queries is to judge by traffic. Search console shows the number of clicks each query is sending and how it compares to what it used to send. If Google is not the only search engine you are concerned about, using Finteza you can spot search queries that are sending less traffic than they used to:

Finteza search

Source: Screenshot made by the author (April, 2021)

Finteza’s default search keyword report consolidates data from all search engines you appear in. You do need it running for some time to accumulate this data. It is easy to integrate.

Finteza is paid (costs  $ 25 per 100,000 unique users a month) but it is the only web analytics solution that still offers reliable keyword data.

For a better understanding of what is going with your organic traffic, I suggest using all of the above (and more) methods. Again, with search personalization and localization, it is very hard to understand where you are gaining (or losing) from, so combining data from multiple sources is the key.

Step 4: Identify why these ranking dropped

Here comes another tedious part in our analysis. More often than not, your rankings may fluctuate or drop due to Google finding a better page to rank. This may happen because:

  • Your query deserves freshness and there is a fresher page that was boosted on top of yours. If this is the case, you’d have got used to fluctuations by now.
  • Your competitor created a better page that has better backlinks.
  • You have lost some important backlinks which has led to losing some equity

Your position monitoring solution may give you some clues as to which page has overcome you in SERPs. Most rank monitoring platforms come with “SERP tracking” feature that grabs a snapshot of your important SERPs on a regular basis.

You can monitor your target SERP movements for you, for example:

Rating website visibilitySource: SE Ranking

For high-search-volume queries, SpyFu is keeping a record of key SERP movements:

Image source: Spyfu

To make it easy to spot your lost backlinks that may have accounted for declined positions, use link monitoring tools. They keep a record of when exactly each link was lost, and so make it easy for you to evaluate if this is what may have had an impact on your rankings and organic traffic:

Source: LinkChecker.pro

When you know which page is replacing you in search results, try to find why. There can be an array of reasons, including the most common ones (as well as the combination of such): 

Conclusion

Keeping your traffic in control is beyond your powers. What you can do is to keep an eye (building a dashboard would make it easier and more consistent) as well as create a well-set routine for analyzing a possible dip.

When you see organic traffic decline or dip, it doesn’t usually mean that your site is under any kind of filter or penalty (which is most often assumed). In most cases, this is a perfectly natural on-going SERP fluctuation. Stay calm and carefully analyze what has changed (and why). Don’t rush to take any action or fix anything until you check various data sources and take time to come up with a strategic plan. And most importantly: Just breathe!

The post Diagnosing a traffic drop? Just breathe! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Announcing our TC Sessions: SaaS virtual event happening October 27

April 20, 2021 No Comments

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is now the default business model for most B2B and B2C software startups. And while it’s been around for a while now, its momentum keeps accelerating and the ecosystem continues to expand as technologists and marketers are getting more sophisticated about how to build and sell SaaS products. For all of them, we’re pleased to announced TechCrunch Sessions: SaaS 2021, a one-day virtual event that will examine the state of SaaS to help startup founders, developers and investors understand the state of play and what’s next.

The single-day event will take place 100% virtually on October 27 and will feature actionable advice, Q&A with some of SaaS’s biggest names, and plenty of networking opportunities. $ 75 Early Bird Passes are now on sale. Book your passes today to save $ 100 before prices go up.

We’re not quite ready to disclose our agenda yet, but you can expect a mix of superstars from across the industry, ranging from some of the largest tech companies to up-and-coming startups that are pushing the limits of SaaS.

The plan is to look at a broad spectrum of what’s happening in with B2B startups and give you actionable insights into how to build and/or improve your own product. If you’re just getting started, we want you to come away with new ideas for how to start your company and if you’re already on your way, then our sessions on scaling both your technology and marketing organization will help you to get to that $ 100 million annual run rate faster.

In addition to other founders, you’ll also hear from enterprise leaders who decide what to buy — and the mistakes they see startups make when they try to sell to them.

But SaaS isn’t only about managing growth — though ideally, that’s a problem founders will face sooner or later. Some of the other specific topics we will look at are how to keep your services safe in an ever-growing threat environment, how to use open source to your advantage and how to smartly raise funding for your company.

We will also highlight how B2B and B2C companies can handle the glut of data they now produce and use it to build machine learning models in the process. We’ll talk about how SaaS startups can both do so themselves and help others in the process. There’s nary a startup that doesn’t want to use some form of AI these days, after all.

And because this is 2021, chances are we’ll also talk about building remote companies and the lessons SaaS startups can learn from the last year of working through the pandemic.

Don’t miss out. Book your $ 75 Early Bird pass today and save $ 100.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


New predictive capabilities in Google Analytics

April 20, 2021 No Comments

Google Analytics helps you measure the actions people take across your app and website. By applying Google’s machine learning models, Analytics can analyze your data and predict future actions people may take. Today we are introducing two new predictive metrics to App + Web properties. The first is Purchase Probability, which predicts the likelihood that users who have visited your app or site will purchase in the next seven days. And the second, Churn Probability, predicts how likely it is that recently active users will not visit your app or site in the next seven days. You can use these metrics to help drive growth for your business by reaching the people most likely to purchase and retaining the people who might not return to your app or site via Google Ads.

Reach predictive audiences in Google Ads

Analytics will now suggest new predictive audiences that you can create in the Audience Builder. For example, using Purchase Probability, we will suggest the audience “Likely 7-day purchasers” which includes users who are most likely to purchase in the next seven days. Or using Churn Probability, we will suggest the audience “Likely 7-day churning users” which includes active users who are not likely to visit your site or app in the next seven days.

crop2_predictive_audience_suggested@2x.png

In the Audience Builder, you can select from a set of suggested predictive audiences.

In the past, if you wanted to reach people most likely to purchase, you’d probably build an audience of people who had added products to their shopping carts but didn’t purchase. However, with this approach you might miss reaching people who never selected an item but are likely to purchase in the future. Predictive audiences automatically determine which customer actions on your app or site might lead to a purchase—helping you find more people who are likely to convert at scale.

Imagine you run a home improvement store and are trying to drive more digital sales this month. Analytics will now suggest an audience that includes everyone who is likely to purchase in the next seven days—on either your app or your site—and then you can reach them with a personalized message using Google Ads.

Or let’s say you’re an online publisher and want to maintain your average number of daily users. You can build an audience of users who are likely to not visit your app or site in the next seven days and then create a Google Ads campaign to encourage them to read one of your popular articles.

Analyze customer activity with predictive metrics

In addition to building audiences, you can also use predictive metrics to analyze your data with the Analysis module. For example, you can use the User Lifetime technique to identify which marketing campaign helped you acquire users with the highest Purchase Probability. With that information you may decide to reallocate more of your marketing budget towards that high potential campaign.

predictions2 (1).gif

View the Purchase Probability of users from various marketing campaigns.

You will soon be able to use predictive metrics in the App + Web properties beta to build audiences and help you determine how to optimize your marketing budget. In the coming weeks these metrics will become available in properties that have purchase events implemented or are automatically measuring in-app purchases once certain thresholds are met.

If you haven’t yet created an App + Web property, you can get started here. We recommend continuing to  use your existing Analytics properties alongside an App + Web property.


Google Analytics Blog


Druva raises $147M at a valuation north of $2B as the cloud rush continues

April 19, 2021 No Comments

Druva, a software company that sells cloud data backup services, announced today that it has closed a $ 147 million round of capital. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a group that manages Quebec’s pension fund, led the round, which also saw participation from Neuberger Berman. Prior investors including Atreides Management and Viking Global Investors put capital into the deal, as well.

Druva last raised a $ 130 million round led by Viking in mid-2019 at around a $ 1 billion valuation. At the time TechCrunch commented that the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) backup service was tackling a large market. (TechCrunch also covered the company’s $ 51 million round back in 2016 and its $ 80 million raise from 2017.)

Since then SaaS has continued to grow at a rapid clip, including a strong 2020 spurred on by COVID-19 boosting digital transformation efforts at companies of all sizes. In that context, it’s not surprising to see Druva put together a new capital round.

A recent tie-up between Dell and Druva, first reported in January of this year, was formally announced earlier this month. The selection of Druva by Dell could help provide the unicorn with a customer base to sell into for some time. TechCrunch wrote about Druva earlier this year, during the reporting process the company said that it had “almost tripled its annual revenue in three years.”

Its new round did include some secondary shares, which Neuberger Berman managing director Raman Gambhir described as difficult to snag during a call with TechCrunch. He explained that some of the secondary sales were due to some prior funds reaching their end-of-life cycle. Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh stressed that his backers are working to do what’s best for the company instead of merely maximizing their returns during a joint interview.

Singh told TechCrunch that business at Druva is accelerating. Normally we’d note that that sounds like IPO fodder, especially as Druva passed the $ 100 million ARR threshold back in 2019. However, as the company has been making IPO noise for some time, it’s hard to predict when it might pull the trigger. Our coverage of the company’s 2016 round noted that the company could go public within a year. And our coverage of its 2019 investment included Singh telling TechCrunch that an IPO was 12 to 18 months away.

It probably is, now, but that’s beside the point. With refreshed accounts, a market moving in its direction, and some early-investor relieved in its latest investment the company has quarters worth of time to play with. Still, Singh did stress that its new financing round did select investors that he said is building a long-term position; that’s the sort of verbiage that CEOs break out when they are building a pre-IPO cap table.

Gambhir told TechCrunch that his firm has already requested shares in Druva’s eventual IPO. Perhaps we’ll see Fidelity show up with a $ 50 million check in a few months.

Every startup that raises capital tells the media that they are going to use the funds to expand their staff, double-down on their tech and, often, invest in their go-to-market (GTM) motion. Druva is no exception, but its CEO did tell TechCrunch that his company currently has over 200 open GTM positions. That’s quite a few. Presumably that spend will help the company keep its growth rate strong in percentage terms as it does, finally, look to list.

This is yet another growth round for a late-stage, enterprise-facing software company. But it’s also a round into a company that had to move its operations to the United States when it was founded, at the behest of its investors per Singh. And Druva has done some pretty neat cloud work, it told TechCrunch earlier this year, to ensure that it can defend software-like margins despite material storage loads.

It’s an S-1 that we’re looking forward to. Start the countdown.

 


Startups – TechCrunch


Native Ads Are Like Display Ads….Right?

April 18, 2021 No Comments

The difference between Native and Display ads can be difficult to understand or see. Here’s how Native Ads are different from Display ads and how they perform.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Willo launches its tooth-brushing robot for kids

April 18, 2021 No Comments

Are you 100% sure that your children are brushing their teeth properly? A New York-based startup called Willo has been working for several years on a device that should transform the tooth-brushing experience for children.

Willo isn’t a new toothbrush — electric or not. It’s an oral care device that doesn’t look like a toothbrush at all. The startup has worked with dental professionals to start from scratch with oral care in mind.

The device can be quite intimidating when you don’t see it in action, as it takes quite a bit of shelf space and you don’t know what you’re supposed to do. But when you see it in action, it looks easier than expected. Willo specifically targets children because they tend to struggle to reach every tooth and brush properly.

Kids are supposed to grab the handle and put the mouthpiece in their mouth. They can start brushing by pressing the button — and that’s it. They don’t have to do anything else. The silicone-based mouthpiece also features soft bristles. It starts vibrating in your kid’s mouth when they press the button.

The handle is connected to a bigger home station that contains a water tank with a special rinse liquid. Kids don’t have to use toothpaste and don’t have to rinse their mouth. Everything is handled by the device.

Finally, Willo is a connected device, which means that parents can track oral care in a mobile app. You can also set up multiple users — your kids will have to swap the mouthpiece before using the device.

Image Credits: Willo

If you’re thinking about buying a device for your children, Willo costs $ 199. You then have to pay $ 13 per month to receive rinse pods as well as new mouthpieces that always fit.

While the product is going live today, the startup has already tested it with real families. These children rated the device 4.73/5 and parents gave an NPS of 70+. They’ve all kept using Willo after the testing phase.

Behind this product, there’s a team of 33 people in France and the U.S. They have filed more than 50 patents over the past seven years — 30 of them have been granted so far. The company has raised $ 17 million in total funding from Kleiner Perkins, Bpifrance and Matt Rogers’ fund Incite.

It’s true that the concept of a toothbrush hasn’t changed at all. Making a device that changes the way you brush your teeth is an ambitious bet. But it’s clear that the startup has made a lot of effort to tackle this challenge. Now let’s see if they manage to convince parents.

Image Credits: Willo

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Data scientists: Bring the narrative to the forefront

April 17, 2021 No Comments

By 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be created each day, according to some estimates. (For perspective, one exabyte of storage could hold 50,000 years of DVD-quality video.) It’s now easier than ever to translate physical and digital actions into data, and businesses of all types have raced to amass as much data as possible in order to gain a competitive edge.

However, in our collective infatuation with data (and obtaining more of it), what’s often overlooked is the role that storytelling plays in extracting real value from data.

The reality is that data by itself is insufficient to really influence human behavior. Whether the goal is to improve a business’ bottom line or convince people to stay home amid a pandemic, it’s the narrative that compels action, rather than the numbers alone. As more data is collected and analyzed, communication and storytelling will become even more integral in the data science discipline because of their role in separating the signal from the noise.

Data alone doesn’t spur innovation — rather, it’s data-driven storytelling that helps uncover hidden trends, powers personalization, and streamlines processes.

Yet this can be an area where data scientists struggle. In Anaconda’s 2020 State of Data Science survey of more than 2,300 data scientists, nearly a quarter of respondents said that their data science or machine learning (ML) teams lacked communication skills. This may be one reason why roughly 40% of respondents said they were able to effectively demonstrate business impact “only sometimes” or “almost never.”

The best data practitioners must be as skilled in storytelling as they are in coding and deploying models — and yes, this extends beyond creating visualizations to accompany reports. Here are some recommendations for how data scientists can situate their results within larger contextual narratives.

Make the abstract more tangible

Ever-growing datasets help machine learning models better understand the scope of a problem space, but more data does not necessarily help with human comprehension. Even for the most left-brain of thinkers, it’s not in our nature to understand large abstract numbers or things like marginal improvements in accuracy. This is why it’s important to include points of reference in your storytelling that make data tangible.

For example, throughout the pandemic, we’ve been bombarded with countless statistics around case counts, death rates, positivity rates, and more. While all of this data is important, tools like interactive maps and conversations around reproduction numbers are more effective than massive data dumps in terms of providing context, conveying risk, and, consequently, helping change behaviors as needed. In working with numbers, data practitioners have a responsibility to provide the necessary structure so that the data can be understood by the intended audience.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Core Web Vitals & Preparing for Google’s Page Experience Update

April 17, 2021 No Comments

Google will make a major change to its search algorithm in May 2021. Here’s what you need to know about Core Web Vitals and how to prepare your site.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Conversion modeling through Consent Mode in Google Ads

April 17, 2021 No Comments

Last year, we introduced Consent Mode, a beta feature to help advertisers operating in the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom take a privacy-first approach to digital marketing. When a user doesn’t consent to ads cookies or analytics cookies, Consent Mode automatically adjusts the relevant Google tags’ behavior to not read or write cookies for advertising or analytics purposes. This enables advertisers to respect user choice while helping them still capture some campaign insights.

Without cookies, advertisers experience a gap in their measurement and lose visibility into user paths on their site. They are no longer able to directly tie users’ ad interactions to conversions, whether the users are repeat visitors or whether those users have arrived from paid or organic traffic sources. To help close this gap, we’re introducing conversion modeling through Consent Mode. This will help marketers preserve online measurement capabilities, using a privacy-first approach.

Now, Consent Mode will enable conversion modeling to recover the attribution between ad-click events and conversions measured in Google Ads. Early results from Google Ads have shown that, on average, conversion modeling through Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user cookie consent choices. Results for each advertiser may vary widely, depending primarily on user cookie consent rates and the advertiser’s Consent Mode setup.

How modeling fills in measurement gaps

Conversion modeling can help fill in blanks in media measurement at times when it’s not possible to observe the path between ad interactions and conversions. Conversion modeling through Consent Mode specifically addresses gaps in observable data from regulations on cookie consent in various regions. Conversion modeling uses machine learning to analyze observable data and historical trends, in order to quantify the relationship between consented and unconsented users. Then, using observable user journeys where users have consented to cookie usage, our models will fill in missing attribution paths. This creates a more complete and accurate view of advertising spend and outcomes — all while respecting user consent choices. Conversion modeling also upholds privacy by not identifying individual users, unlike tactics like fingerprinting which Google has a strict policy against.

Using modeling to probabilistically recover linkages between ad interactions and conversions that would otherwise go unattributed means more conversion insights for optimizing campaign bidding and understanding what’s driving sales. It’s important for any modeling approach to account for the fact that people who consent to cookies are likely to convert at a different rate than those who don’t.

Holistic measurement for your Google Ads campaigns

It’s important for advertisers to have accurate reporting so they can make their marketing investments go further. Advertisers using Consent Mode will now see their reports in Google Ads updated: for Search, Shopping, Display, and Video campaigns, the “Conversions,” “All conversions” and “Conversion value” columns will now include modeled conversions for consent gaps. All other Google Ads campaign performance reports that use conversion data will also reflect the impact from adding in modeled conversions.

Modeled conversions through Consent Mode will be integrated directly in your Google Ads campaign reports with the same granularity as observed conversions. This data then makes its way into Google’s bidding tools so that you can be confident your campaigns will be optimized based on a full view of your results.

Blue pie chart stating: On average, Consent Mode recovers more than 70% of ad-click-to-conversion journeys lost due to user consent choices.

For advertisers who want to optimize their campaigns based on return on ad spend or cost-per-acquisition, they can use Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS) orTarget Cost Per Acquisition (tCPA) Smart Bidding strategies with Consent Mode. If you had previously adjusted targets to account for cookie consent changes, you can now go back to setting targets in line with your ROI goals. Note that you’re likely to see gradual improvements in reported performance as we recover lost conversions through modeling.

For advertisers who want to maintain their campaign spend, conversion modeling through Consent Mode also works with the Maximize conversions or Maximize conversion value Smart Bidding strategies in Google Ads. We recommend you make sure that the budget you’ve decided on is well-aligned with your spend goals.

Get started

If you’re an advertiser operating in the European Economic Area or the United Kingdom, have implemented Consent Mode and are using Google Ads conversion tracking, conversion modeling from Consent Mode is available for you today.

And if you aren’t using Consent Mode yet, you have two options to get started. You can implement it yourself on your website by following our instructions. Or if you need some extra help, we’ve partnered closely with several Consent Management Platforms, a few of which already take care of critical implementation steps on behalf of advertisers.

logos of Consent Management Platforms ready to take care of critical implementation steps

We are continuously adding new privacy-forward techniques to help our machine learning solutions better understand the aggregate behavior of non-consenting users, and offer actionable insights in reporting for deeper clarity on your marketing spend. We’ll be bringing conversion modeling through Consent Mode to other Google advertising products, like Campaign Manager 360, Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 later this year.


Google Analytics Blog


The search dilemma: looking beyond Google’s third-party cookie death

April 17, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or its network sites
  • Even though they will be removing the third-party cookie from 2022, the search giant still has a wealth of first-party data from its 270+ products, services, and platforms
  • The Trade Desk’s 20 percent stock price drop is proof of Google’s monopoly and why it shouldn’t enjoy it anymore
  • Google expert, Susan Dolan draws from her rich experience and details the current search scape, insights and predicts future key themes that will arise out of the 3p cookie death

Imagine search as a jungle gym, you automatically imagine Google as the kingpin player on this ground. This has been a reality for decades now and we all know the downside of autonomy which is why the industry now acknowledges a need for regulation. Google announced that it would remove the third-party cookie from 2022. But a lot can happen in a year, 2020 is proof of that! Does this mean that cookies will completely bite the dust? Think again. I dive deep into years of my experience with the web to share some thoughts, observations, and insights on what this really means.

For once, Google is a laggard

Given the monopoly that Google has enjoyed and the list of lawsuits (like the anti-trust one and more) this move is a regulatory step to create a “net-vironment” that feels less like a net and is driven towards transparency and search scape equality.

But Firefox and Safari had already beaten Google to the punch in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Safari had launched the Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) update on March 23, 2020. Firefox had launched its Enhanced Tracking Protection feature in September 2019 to empower and protect users from third-party tracking cookies and crypto miners.

Google’s solution to respect user privacy

Google recently announced that it won’t be using identifiers. Google is developing a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ to ensure that publishers, advertisers, and consumers find a fair middle ground in terms of data control, access, and tracking. The idea is to protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers. The Privacy Sandbox will don the FLoC API that can help with interest-based advertising. Google will not be using fingerprints, PII graphs based on people’s email addresses that other browsers use. Google will move towards a Facebook-like “Lookalike audience” model that will group users for profiling.

Did that raise eyebrows? There’s more.

Don’t be fooled – They still have a lavish spread of first-party data

Google is already rich with clusters of historical, individual unique data that they’ve stored, analyzed, predicted, and mastered over the years and across their platforms and services. These statistics give you a clear sense of the gravity of the situation:

  • Google has 270+ products and services (Source)
  • Among the leading search engines, the worldwide market share of Google in January 2021 was almost 86 percent (Source)
  • In 2020, majority of the 181.7 billion U.S. dollar revenues came from advertising through Google Sites or Google Network Sites (Source)
  • There are 246 million unique Google users in the US (Source)
  • Google Photos has over one billion active users (Source)
  • YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users each month (Source)
  • According to Google statistics, Gmail has more than 1.5 billion active users (Source)
  • A less-known fact, there are more than two million accounts on Google Ads (Source)
  • There are more than 2.9 million companies that use one or more of Google’s marketing services (Source)
  • As of Jan 2021, Google’s branch out into the Android system has won it a whopping 72 percent of the global smartphone operating system market (Source)
  • Google sees 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide (Source)

Google has an almost-never ending spectrum of products, services, and platforms –

Here’s the complete, exhaustive list of Google’s gigantic umbrella.

Google's 270+ products, services, and platforms

Source: Matrics360

Google already has access to your:

  • Location
  • Search history
  • Credit/debit card details shared on Google Pay
  • Data from businesses (more than 2.9 million!) that use Google services
  • Your device microphone
  • Mobile keyboard (G-board)
  • Apps you download from the Google Playstore and grant access to
  • Device camera, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg

Google’s decision to eliminate the third-party cookie dropped The Trade Desk’s stock by 20 percent

Nobody should have monopoly and this incident serves as noteworthy proof. Google’s decision to drop 3p cookies shocked The Trade Desk’s stock prices causing a 20 percent slump in their stock value. The Trade Desk is the largest demand-side platform (DSP) and Google’s decision kills the demand for The Trade Desk’s proprietary Unified ID 1.0 (UID 1.0) – a unique asset that chopped out the need for cookie-syncing process and delivered match rate accuracy up to 99 percent.

Google’s statement on not using PII also jeopardizes the fate of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0. which already has more than 50 million users.

Here’s what Dave Pickles, The Trade Desk’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer had to say,

“Unified ID 2.0 is a broad industry collaboration that includes publishers, advertisers and all players in the ad tech ecosystem.”

“UID provides an opportunity to have conversations with consumers and provide them with the sort of transparency we as an industry have been trying to provide for a really long time.”

Adweek’s March town hall saw advertisers and publishers haunted by the mystery that surrounds Google as Google denied to participate in the event. The industry is growing precarious that Google will use this as a new way to establish market dominance that feeds its own interests.

We love cookies (only when they’re on a plate)

Cookies are annoying because they leave crumbs everywhere… on the internet! Did you know, this is how people feel about being tracked on the web:

  • 72 percent of people feel that almost everything they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies
  • 81 percent say that the potential risks of data collection outweigh the benefits for them

These stats were originally sourced from Pew Research Center, but the irony, I found these stats on one of Google’s blogs.

On a hunt to escape these cookies or to understand the world’s largest “cookie jar” I checked out YouTube which seemed like a good place to start since it has over 1.9 billion monthly active users. You could visit this link to see how ads are personalized for you – the list is long!

My YouTube curiosity further landed me on this page to see how my cookies are shared (you can opt out of these). Even my least used account had 129 websites on this list, imagine how many sites are accessing your data right now.

Back in 2011 when I was the first to crack the Page rank algorithm, I could already sense the power Google held and where this giant was headed – the playground just wasn’t big enough.

Key themes that will emerge

Bottom line is, the cookie death is opening up conversations for advertising transparency and a web-verse that is user-first, and privacy compliant. Here’s what I foresee happening in search and the digital sphere:

  • Ethical consumer targeting
  • Adtech companies collaborating to find ways that respect their audience’s privacy
  • A more private, personalized web
  • More conversations around how much and what data collection is ethical
  • More user-led choices
  • Rise in the usage of alternative browsers
  • Incentivizing users to voluntarily share their data
  • Better use of technology for good

What do you think about the current climate on the internet? Join the conversation with me on @GoogleExpertUK.

Susan Dolan is a Search Engine Optimization Consultant first to crack the Google PageRank algorithm as confirmed by Eric Schmidt’s office in 2014. Susan is also the CEO of The Peoples Hub which has been built to help people and to love the planet.

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