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How advertising technology is helping power our digital economy

Advertising technology (or ‘ad tech’ as it’s known) is helping support our digital economy and has given Australian businesses and publishers new ways to reach their customers and grow their audiences online. The innovation of technologies like ad tech has provided a lifeline for many businesses during the pandemic, and an online ecosystem for businesses to…

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Advertising technology (or ‘ad tech’ as it’s known) is helping support our digital economy and has given Australian businesses and publishers new ways to reach their customers and grow their audiences online. 

The innovation of technologies like ad tech has provided a lifeline for many businesses during the pandemic, and an online ecosystem for businesses to compete and thrive. While our global, national and local economies continue to experience considerable impacts from COVID-19, we know that many businesses are looking to recover — and for many, that recovery will be enabled by digital technologies. 

New research from PwC Australia, commissioned by Google Australia, has identified the way in which ad tech services have led to job creation and helped small businesses to grow and reach a global audience.

And while the economic benefits are clear, the ad tech industry remains largely misunderstood, perhaps due to how dynamic and multifaceted it is. We want to play a part in helping Australians better understand how the broader ad tech ecosystem works, and the ways in which it is enabling innovation, jobs and creative competition across the digital economy. So, let’s start with the basics.

What is ad tech?

Advertising technology services are used extensively. Everyone from government, to media organisations, corporates, and small businesses use it to get their message across and reach their audiences. Ad tech is essentially the umbrella of software and tools that help agencies and brands to target, deliver and measure their online campaigns — and allow online businesses and content creators to maximise ad revenues by connecting advertisers to their audiences.  Ad technology enables advertisers to reach the right consumer, at the right time, making for a more efficient online advertising experience. 

How did we get here?

The advertising industry continues to evolve as the digital economy evolves. It started with billboards on our roads and paid placements with print newspapers, TV commercials, magazines and radio — before expanding to online news sites and other services with the rise of the Internet. As the Web grew, so did the number of digital publishers across different verticals including food, travel, sports, lifestyle, entertainment and news. As consumers divided their time across a long list of websites, the question became: how could advertisers and publishers connect with each other at scale effectively? This is where ad tech came in.

As technology evolved so did ways to reach new audiences, including through mobile apps and other Internet connected devices.  The arrival of ad tech innovation has helped businesses and publishers grow their revenue streams. This trend has been accelerated by COVID-19 and the rise of our digital economy which has motivated more people and businesses to do business online. That’s how we got here – but where we are going will help to define our digital future.

How does ad tech help our economy? 

The growth of online ad tech services has helped businesses to scale and achieve results in the most cost-effective and efficient way. This is particularly true for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  It doesn’t matter if you are a budding start-up or running a fully-fledged operation — ad tech evens out the playing field and encourages a dynamic marketplace.

PwC estimates that the existence and use of Google’s advertising technology directly supports more than 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs and contributes $2.45 billion in gross value add (GVA) to the Australian economy each year. 

These tools are helping businesses and advertisers to save time, reduce costs and grow their reach in the face of increased competition and large barriers to entry associated with traditional forms of advertising. In fact, of those surveyed by PwC, almost three in four businesses that use our ad tech services observed these benefits.

And on average, respondents indicated that 28 per cent of their advertising media is targeted at overseas markets — allowing businesses from all corners of Australia, including rural communities, to communicate directly to the people that matter to them.

What role does Google have to play?

Google is proud to help millions of Australians every year navigate our increasingly digital world. Australian businesses choose Google’s products because they work seamlessly to deliver business value and drive economic growth in Australia — no matter the size of your business or the industry you operate in.

The rise of Google’s ad tech has allowed SMEs across Australia to compete against larger businesses through an accessible and affordable platform, improving efficiency and reducing the friction of scaling globally. 

People use Google’s ad tech to reach new channels and opportunities which they wouldn’t otherwise have access to or could afford, and it is important that regulation in the industry ensures that these businesses can continue to be the bedrock of Australia’s digital economy. 

Google is not alone — there are many companies working together and in competition to support the growth of a healthy digital ads ecosystem across different technologies — from web display, to apps, to connected TV and more. 

Together, the ad tech industry is supporting a universe of Australian creators, publishers and business owners who underwrite the useful digital content and services that Australians enjoy everyday on the free and open Web. It’s powering our digital economy forward and helping people to find their passion, build their audience and grow their own way – important work that Google is proud to be a part of.

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Fostering inclusive spaces through Disability Alliance

I was 2 when my parents discovered I had polio, which impacted my ability to stand and walk. Growing up in China, I still remember the challenges I faced when I wanted to go to college. Back then, all potential candidates had to pass a physical test, which posed a challenge. Knowing this, my parents,…

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I was 2 when my parents discovered I had polio, which impacted my ability to stand and walk. Growing up in China, I still remember the challenges I faced when I wanted to go to college. Back then, all potential candidates had to pass a physical test, which posed a challenge. Knowing this, my parents, my teachers and even the local government advocated for me. Thanks to their support, I was granted an exception to attend college, where I graduated with a degree in computer science.

When I joined Google in Shanghai in 2011, the real estate team was working to open a new office space. I was part of the planning process to ensure we designed an inclusive workspace, especially for individuals with physical disabilities. When I discovered the desks at the office were too high, or if the meeting space was not designed wide enough for someone in a wheelchair to enter, I worked with the team to solve the problem. I also suggested building wheelchair-accessible restrooms when they were not available on the floor I was working on.

These experiences showed me everyone has the voice to drive change — including myself. I decided to co-lead our Disability Alliance (DA), one of Google’s resource groups in China, with other passionate Googlers. We wanted to create a space to help address challenges Googlers with disabilities face, and build allyship among the wider Google community. We also wanted to create a platform to increase awareness of different forms of disabilities. For example, some people don’t think about invisible disabilities, but it’s equally important to build awareness of disabilities you might not immediately see. I’m incredibly excited to see how we continue to grow our community in the coming year across China.

Having a disability doesn’t limit me, and I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people who value my abilities instead of my disability. Over the years, I’ve achieved my goals and dreams from leading an incredible team of 50 at Google, taking on physical activities such as skiing and marathons, and driving change for the broader disability community.

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Office spotlight: Chicago

“It almost feels like the first day back at school,” says Rob Biederman as he waits in line for breakfast at the Fulton Market cafe. It’s April 4, and Chicago Googlers like Rob have just started their first official week of hybrid work.Opened in 2000 with only two employees, the Google Chicago office in the…

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“It almost feels like the first day back at school,” says Rob Biederman as he waits in line for breakfast at the Fulton Market cafe. It’s April 4, and Chicago Googlers like Rob have just started their first official week of hybrid work.

Opened in 2000 with only two employees, the Google Chicago office in the West Loop neighborhood has now grown to more than 1,800 employees across two buildings. In 2021 alone, more than 500 “Nooglers” — what we call new employees — joined the campus.

Chicago Googlers work on all kinds of products and teams. You’ll meet engineers designing Pixel devices and working on Search, Ads and Cloud projects; salespeople helping businesses across North America grow; and folks working across finance, human resources and product management. “It’s amazing to now see all the different organizations and product areas represented in Chicago,” says Britton Picciolini, who was the office’s tenth hire in 2002. “It feels like such a great cross section of what we do at Google.”

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Building a secure world

Securing users in Ukraine and the broader regionAs the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Google mobilized to help the people of Ukraine and protect the security of our users and services – an area where we are uniquely positioned to help in this conflict.We have our own specialized teams dedicated to identifying, tracking, and countering…

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Securing users in Ukraine and the broader region

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolded, Google mobilized to help the people of Ukraine and protect the security of our users and services – an area where we are uniquely positioned to help in this conflict.

We have our own specialized teams dedicated to identifying, tracking, and countering threats from government-backed actors.

Russia-backed hacking and influence operations are not new to us; we’ve been tracking and taking action against them for years. To put this into perspective, we’ve seen and worked to disrupt Russian operations targeting the U.S. elections in 2016 and 2017 and campaigns targeting the 2018 Olympic games. In October, we blocked a Russian campaign targeting 14,000 Google users.

And we’ve seen first hand the targeting of Ukraine by Russia. It has been ongoing for years with both espionage and occasional cyber attacks tracked by our teams. As the war intensified, we also saw Russian threat actors shift focus to targets elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

Our Threat Analysis Group (TAG), regularly publishes details on campaigns it detects, and disrupts these efforts to help governments and private sector companies better defend their systems.

We’ve seen threat actors beyond Russia shift their focus and targeting, including a growing number of threat actors using the war as a lure in phishing and malware campaigns. This includes government-backed actors from China, Iran, North Korea, Belarus and financially-motivated, criminal actors using current events as a means for targeting users.

For example, we’ve seen one cyber crime group impersonating military personnel to extort money for rescuing relatives in Ukraine.

In addition to disrupting threats, we are doing everything we can to increase protections for high risk users and organizations in Ukraine. We’ve redoubled our efforts to offer free tools to help – including protecting hundreds of high risk users on the ground with our Advanced Protection Program, and expanding eligibility of Project Shield to include the Ukraine government. Shield is currently protecting over 200 websites in Ukraine from distributed denial of service attacks.

It is in this spirit of action that we are expanding our partnerships and investment in the broader region on cybersecurity.

In fact, this week a delegation of our top security engineers and leaders are on the ground across Eastern Europe to provide hands-on training to high risk groups, deliver security keys and support local businesses as they look to improve their security posture.

To share what we know about the threat, we are engaging in technical exchanges with governments in the region.

We’re providing free tools and expertise to democratic institutions and civil society, such as the Protect Your Democracy Toolkit — which we launched today in partnership with our Jigsaw team.

We’re also investing in, and shaping, the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. For example, Google has committed to provide scholarships for 150,000 people in Europe, the Middle East and Africa through the new Google Career Certificate training.

We’re also helping governments and businesses stay ahead of the threat, including helping government agencies, companies and utilities who rely on outdated hardware and software to replace old systems with better foundations and we are here to build up businesses and governments’ confidence to embrace digital transformation securely.

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