Google: Not a Media Company

In a recent interview for the BBC, Richard Gingras, the producer of Google News has argued that Google is ‘not a media company’ on the basis that it doesn’t produce any media.

This was challenged by Nick Robinson for the BBC, but it’s not hard to see why Google would take this position. Google’s found itself with some tricky questions to answer recently, from the Guardian, from the government of the UK, and from the European Union over a variety of business and political issues. Google’s calling to account by the Home Office resulted in stricter controls over where Google places ads to avoid, for example, adverts issued by the UK government appearing alongside religious extremism and hate speech. Google has also issued updated guidelines to its ‘raters’ to help to identify and de-prioritise problematic entries in search results, while maintaining a clear message that they aren’t censoring any content: all the information is still accessible through Google’s searches.

It’s a tricky situation for the company to be in. Their success has put them in the role of curators for the entire internet, and they’re anxious that the consequences of content they didn’t publish shouldn’t rebound on them. If they define themselves as a media company, they become more responsible for content across their platforms.

But what does this mean for people advertising on Google?

Firstly, Google is more inclined to police the quality than the content of ads published through them. Google is working on its own, in-browser ad-block software for Chrome, which will redact some ads, and allow users to see others that have been judged to not disrupt the browsing experience. They’re developing these standards in partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads, a professional body Google also has a hand in.

It benefits you to make sure the adverts you’re using meet Google’s standards, so you’re better prepared for when the new technology comes into force. It also benefits you immediately as the return on traditional invasive display ads is dropping. When an advert negatively impacts a user’s browsing experience, they mentally filter it out, so better advert formats mean your ads get seen by more people.

One answer is to pivot towards Native Advertising: Native is an ad format expressly designed to blend seamlessly with the rest of a user’s browsing experience to make sure it doesn’t get blocked out, whether that’s happening in Chrome or the user’s own brain! Illuminate specialise in Native Advertising, so to find out how we can help, get in touch today.