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Your data feed is key to promoting your products on Google.com — it lets you capture the attention of shoppers by letting them know you’ve got exactly what they’re looking for. To help you seamlessly update ads and quickly get products in front of new customers, today we’re excited to announce two data feed enhancements to Google Merchant Center — one that improves efficiencies for large retailers, and one that helps small retailers get on board more easily:
  • Online product inventory feeds: a new feed type that lets you quickly update price, availability and sale price of your key products. This is especially useful for larger retailers that need to change these attributes frequently. 
  • Google Sheets add-on: a Sheets extension that connects your spreadsheet directly to Merchant Center for a faster and easier upload. This is especially useful to for smaller retailers looking to get up and running quickly with shopping ads.
Whether you use Google Sheets or text file formats to upload your products, these new data feed enhancements make it faster and easier to upload your most up-to-date product information to Google Shopping and find more customers online.

Online product inventory feeds help you quickly update key attributes 

If the price, availability, or sale price information for some or all of your products changes frequently, online product inventory feeds is a new feed type to make quick updates to these product attributes, without having to re-submit the full product feed:
  • Save time with even faster feed processing: Submit new information for price and availability throughout the day to update these specific attributes. You can submit updates for just a small subset of your products for faster processing. If there’s an error processing your online inventory feed, your full product feed will not be impacted.
  • Show shoppers the most accurate product details: When your pricing or availability suddenly changes, update your affected items on the fly, allowing fresher information to appear on Google Shopping. 
For more information on how to get started with online inventory feeds, check out our Help Center article.

Validate and upload your feed directly from Google Sheets

Google Sheets was designed to provide a fast and friendly way to get started with shopping ads for small and medium sized retailers. If you use Google Sheets to upload your inventory to Google Merchant Center, the new Google Sheets add-on simplifies how you create, upload and validate feeds:
  • Validate your products directly from Sheets: The sidebar in the add-on allows you to validate individual rows or your entire Google Sheet, showing you any errors and warnings before you upload your data feed. 
  • Upload your products directly from Sheets: From the sidebar, you can upload your entire spreadsheet into Merchant Center, without leaving Sheets. The results of your upload are displayed directly in the sidebar, giving you immediate feedback on feed processing.
For more information on how to get started with Google Sheet add-on, visit our Help Center article.

Be sure to check out these two new enhancements today to get up and running on Google Shopping and make the world your storefront.

Posted by Sven Herschel, Product Manager for Google Merchant Center 

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Whether it’s “hotels near me” or “nearby hotels,” people often search for the same things differently. So reaching your customers in the moments that matter can sometimes be a moving target. In fact, of the billions of searches made on Google every day, 15% of them have never been seen before.1 Couple that with shifting product inventory and content hidden deep within your website, people don’t always find what they’re looking for. That’s why three years ago we introduced Dynamic Search Ads (DSA).

Today, we’re excited to announce that DSA has been enhanced and retooled from the ground up, and is now available to all advertisers globally.
What’s Dynamic Search Ads?

DSA helps you reach your customers with the right information, in the moments they’re searching -- without the need to manage keywords. Using Google’s organic web crawling technology, DSA indexes your website to determine which searches to show ads for. If a search is relevant to the content on your website, Google will automatically create an ad to enter into the auction. Your ads’ headlines and landing pages are generated based on the products and services you offer, and what people are searching for. These highly targeted ads also complement other AdWords campaigns by delivering value for relevant searches that aren’t covered by existing keywords.

Show ads based on your website

Now, there’s an even more powerful way for you to reach your customers. In addition to crawling and indexing your website, DSA now organizes your website content into recommended categories for targeting your ads. Recommended categories are customized to your products and services, for example “furniture,” and only trigger ads for search queries where you have a relevant landing page. Each category can also be refined to show additional, more specific categories.
Recommended categories for DSA
For example, you might drill into the recommended category for “furniture” to advertise just your “dining room furniture” or “living room furniture.” Select as many or as few categories as you want, or select the option to show ads based on your entire website.

Ad previews and insightful recommendations

Once you’ve selected your categories, we’ve added new tools to provide more transparency into how your ads will show. For each recommended category, you’ll now see samples of the search queries you’ll be targeting, the text ads that’ll appear, and the pages your customers will land on. To help get your campaign started, a recommended bid is also calculated for each category. These recommendations are based on the performance of your existing keywords that are targeting similar search queries.

Many customers have seen early success with these enhancements to Dynamic Search Ads.

As a global player, trivago constantly faced the challenge of covering their huge hotel inventory throughout all markets. DSA and the new categories allowed them to do just that, even in markets with limited resources. Leveraging the scalability of DSA, trivago was able to roll out DSA to over 25 markets in a short period of time.


Hayneedle.com, one of the nation’s largest online retailers, helped beta test DSA. They used their new recommended categories to deliver a 5% incremental lift in qualified search traffic to their website.


Immense reach with incredible ease

DSA is now more powerful than ever -- and it takes less than 10 minutes to set up your first campaign. An improved workflow guides you through campaign creation, which includes a more intuitive way to ensure your ad templates remain relevant to your dynamic ad targets.

You can learn more about Dynamic Search Ads in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Jen Huang, Senior Product Manager, AdWords

1 Internal Google data.

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Video is already the most effective medium for connecting with consumers thanks to the power of sight, sound and motion. But what if there were a way to let people become even more immersed in your video ads? To help advertisers deliver richer experiences, we’re introducing 360 degree video ads on YouTube.

360 degree video ads let you engage your audience in an entirely new way. Available today in Chrome and the YouTube app on Android and iOS, viewers can explore every angle of your videos by dragging their mouse or moving their phone to shift their POV 360 degrees – up, down, left or right. Thanks to the ability simply to move your phone to see different parts of the video, 360 video ads are a truly mobile-first video ad product.

We’re thrilled that as soon as the ability to create 360 video became available to YouTube creators, brands immediately began experimenting with this new tool to deliver engrossing consumer experiences. Since then, we’ve seen stunning videos from Coca-Cola and Nike, among others (check them out on Cardboard!). And for those videos that were run as ads, campaign results have been impressive: for instance, Coca-Cola’s 360 video celebrating the 100th anniversary of their iconic bottle design outperformed standard in-stream video ad view-through rates by 36%.

And today, Bud Light becomes the first advertiser in the US to launch 360 video running in TrueView ads. The series of ads feature three different events from Whatever, USA – Bud  Light’s takeover of Catalina Island. The immersive ads drop you right in the middle of the action, including a performance by Diplo, the welcome parade, and the “Turn of An Era” 1920’s themed party.

As with the recent launches of cards in TrueView in-stream ads and TrueView for shopping, 360 video ads offer you another way to deepen consumer engagement with your ads on YouTube. Compatible with YouTube HTML5 Rich Media Mastheads and now TrueView in-stream and in-display units, you can maximize the reach of your 360 degree video ads with the power and scale of YouTube’s most popular ad format.

To create 360 degree video ads, you will need access to one of the following 360 degree cameras: Ricoh Theta, Kodak SP360, Giroptic 360cam, or IC Real Tech Allie. All of these cameras are already available or coming soon. Once your video is ready, follow these steps to upload the video to desktop Chrome. Campaigns for 360 degree videos running as TrueView ads can be set up in AdWords and your Google sales representative can help you with YouTube Mastheads.

Whether you’re skydiving or experiencing what it’s like to stand in the front row of a Wimbledon match, 360 degree video ads unlock new opportunities for your brands to engage with consumers on YouTube.

Posted by JR Futrell, Product Manager, YouTube Ads

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With more than 100 billion searches per month, Google answers a significant number of the world’s product and shopping-related queries. And online shoppers expect product information, such as images, descriptions and variants, to be accurate, rich and consistent. Manufacturer product data is critical to deliver this experience.

Today we’re launching Google Manufacturer Center: a tool that helps brand manufacturers accurately represent their products to shoppers across google.com, Google Shopping and other Google services. By uploading authoritative product data to the tool, manufacturers enrich their product listings across Google to help shoppers make more informed buying decisions.
Product data submitted to Manufacturer Center influences how your brand is represented across Google.
In addition to ensuring their product data is accurate, manufacturers can also gain product level insights into the data they provide. For example, they’ll learn how many times their products appear on Google within a given timeframe and how many times shoppers click on their products versus competing products in their category. "The reports available through Google's Manufacturer Center help us understand how shoppers interact with our brand so we can optimize our product data and grow impression volume as well as shopper engagement," says Sonesh Shah, Director of Digital, Bosch Power Tools.
The analytics dashboard in Manufacturer Center provides tips on how to improve the performance of your products across Google.
Manufacturers can choose to either upload their product data directly to Manufacturer Center or select an approved Google Shopping Partner for product information management. These partners, such as Salsify and Shotfarm, are industry leaders in organizing and distributing product data.

If you’re a brand manufacturer and interested in Manufacturer Center, please complete our interest form and we will reach out with next steps. You can also learn more about the product in our Manufacturer Help Center.

Posted by Matt Henderson, Product, Google Shopping

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Today the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) announced a new pilot blacklist to protect advertisers across the industry. This blacklist comprises data-center IP addresses associated with non-human ad requests. We're happy to support this effort along with other industry leaders—Dstillery, Facebook, MediaMath, Quantcast, Rubicon Project, TubeMogul and Yahoo—and contribute our own data-center blacklist. As mentioned to Ad Age and in our recent call to action, we believe that if we work together we can raise the fraud-fighting bar for the whole industry.

Data-center traffic is one of many types of non-human or illegitimate ad traffic. The newly shared blacklist identifies web robots or “bots” that are being run in data-centers but that avoid detection by the IAB/ABC International Spiders & Bots List. Well-behaved bots announce that they're bots as they surf the web by including a bot identifier in their declared User-Agent strings. The bots filtered by this new blacklist are different. They masquerade as human visitors by using User-Agent strings that are indistinguishable from those of typical web browsers.

Google has always invested to prevent this and other types of invalid traffic from entering our ad platforms. By contributing our data-center blacklist to TAG, we hope to help others in the industry protect themselves.

We’re excited by the collaborative spirit we’ve seen working with other industry leaders on this initiative. This is an important, early step toward tackling fraudulent and illegitimate inventory across the industry and we look forward to sharing more in the future. By pooling our collective efforts and working with industry bodies, we can create strong defenses against those looking to take advantage of our ecosystem. We look forward to working with the TAG Anti-fraud working group to turn this pilot program into an industry-wide tool.

For more details about the kinds of data-center traffic filtered by the TAG Data-center IP blacklist read our detailed post on the Google Online Security Blog.

Posted by Vegard Johnsen, Product Manager Google Ad Traffic Quality

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Last year, mobile devices used before or during shopping trips influenced just under one trillion dollars — or 28% — of in-store sales in the United States.1 Those sales grew from the billions of shopping micro-moments that power today’s buying economy. Fewer people wait to head to the mall on Saturday to go shopping; thanks to smartphones, shopping now happens anytime and anywhere. Read on for the latest ways we’re helping retailers reach shoppers in those crucial I-want-to-know, I want-to-go, and I want-to-buy moments.

I-want-to-know: Giving immediate answers for every shopping need
We're improving the mobile experience on Google to aid shoppers as they browse, compare, and research products.

1 in 5 people swipe to interact with shopping ads, expressing a strong desire to learn more.2 So we’re rolling out a new enhancement that gently expands the shopping ads as you swipe, revealing information like product ratings and availability at a nearby store. The result: more qualified traffic driven directly to retailers. This feature will begin rolling out on Chrome for Android this month, with iOS to follow in the coming months.
Expandable shopping ads

Conversational search is also really important -- we’re seeing more shoppers literally asking Google to help them learn more about products. So we’re rolling out new experiences that answer them right back.

On searches for the top-rated products, such as “Best women’s Nike running shoes,” we’re starting to show newly-designed shopping ads with authoritative rankings and product ratings. The new design is so helpful to those specific users that we've seen click-through-rate increases of up to 11% for retailers for these queries.3 Product queries that include “reviews” or “recommendations" are also increasingly common, so we’re showing new product review cards with product ratings and snippets from the most useful reviews from around the web. Finally, shoppers who want to learn more about a product’s features, like the resolution of the camera they’re considering purchasing, may now see a product attribute card with the most relevant information.
New experiences for shoppers searching for the best products, product reviews and attributes

I-want-to-go: Helping shoppers find local stores
1 in 4 people who avoid stores say they do so because they don’t want to waste their time finding out that the thing they want isn’t in stock.4 So we’re doing more to serve people who clearly want to focus on products that are available within driving distance.

In late 2013, we launched local inventory ads, which show shoppers when the product they want is available at a nearby store. We’ve seen very positive results: retailers who enabled local inventory ads on mobile and desktop campaigns saw a 2% increase in overall clicks and no drop in online conversion rate when local inventory ads were served instead of shopping ads (PLAs).5 Because we’ve seen that LIAs are good for both shoppers and retailers, we’ll now be showing many more local inventory ads than we did before by prioritizing showing LIA over shopping ads on local intent shopping queries, like “coffee maker near me”. This new experience increased clicks on shopping ads by 85% for these queries.6
Local inventory ads for local intent queries

What if you could give shoppers the right information at the right time – without them even needing to ask? Google Now does just that by bringing people the information they need at the moment they need it. We’ve recently released two new cards for shoppers.

The Google Now in-store card appears when a shopper is near a store, displaying useful information such as sales, closing hours, loyalty card data, and more. When she clicks “Search store inventory,” a Google-hosted, retailer-branded local storefront allows her to browse that store’s shelves 24 hours a day. Also newly available is the Google Now price drop card. This card highlights a significant price reduction on a product the shopper has previously browsed, giving her a compelling reason to make that purchase now, online or in-store.
Google Now in-store card, local storefront & Google Now price drop card

I-want-to-buy: Making it easy to purchase on mobile
US retailers’ conversion rates on desktop computers are 2X higher than on mobile.7 So we’re working on new solutions to help retailers increase mobile engagement and sales.

There are lots of great shopping apps out there, and we want to encourage shoppers to use them. That’s why we’re starting to work with a select group of global retailers including eBay, Flipkart and Zalando to add deep links to their apps right in their shopping ads, driving people straight to their mobile app instead of their website. This is a tremendous new opportunity for retailers and app developers to drive engagement with their shopping apps, and we’ll be expanding it to more advertisers in the coming months.
App deep linking for shopping ads

Finally, to help smartphone shoppers buy with ease from their favorite retailers, we'll be testing Purchases on Google. When a shopper searches on mobile for a product such as “women's hoodies”, she may see a shopping ad with 'Buy on Google' text. After clicking the ad, she's taken to a retailer-branded product page hosted by Google. Checkout is seamless, simple, and secure, thanks to saved payment credentials in her Google Account.
Purchases on Google

For retailers, opting in to Purchases on Google means improved mobile conversions thanks to a simplified checkout process. Participating retailers only pay for clicks on the shopping ads to the product page; all clicks and interactions on the product page are free. While Google hosts the product page and provides purchase protection for customers, retailers own the customer communication and can offer customers the option to receive marketing and promotional messages. “Customers increasingly want to shop on their own terms. Purchases on Google facilitates that flexibility while maintaining the merchant’s ability to own the customer relationship.” says, Peter Cobb, eBags Marketing EVP and Shop.org Chairman.

Although we're still in early experiments with a limited number of retailers, we see Purchases on Google as a big step towards helping retailers drive more mobile conversions and win more customers. “Purchases on Google will simplify our customers’ ability to search for items on Google and then buy with Staples.” said Faisal Masud, Executive Vice President of Global E-Commerce, Staples, Inc. “Working with Google on this offering will make the discovery and purchase process even easier for the customers we serve, with the power of both of our companies behind it.”

Jason LaRose, Chief Revenue Officer, Digital at Under Armour echoes a similar sentiment: "As the consumer continues to rapidly adopt mobile as their primary device, we have to move at a similar pace in how we reduce purchase friction and enhance the user experience with our brand. Google's technology solutions help us innovate, so our collaborative efforts are rich and ongoing.”

Greater expectations
With shoppers today, big expectations come from the smallest moments. That's good news, because retailers now have the technology to deliver on those expectations. The tools we shared this week can help retailers be there in those billions (and trillions!) of micro-moments with the right experience, and in the right context, to win the moments that matter the most.

To learn more about Google’s solutions for retailers, visit google.com/retail or contact your Google account manager.

Posted by Jonathan Alferness, Vice President, Product Management, Google Shopping

1Deloitte, Navigating the New Digital Divide: Capitalizing on Digital Influence in Retail, May 2015.
2 Google Shopping internal data, Q2 2015.
3 Google Shopping internal data, Q1 2015.
4 Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, May 2014.
5 Google Shopping internal data, randomized user A/B experiment using Adwords Conversion Tracking for mobile and desktop, controlling for product mix and excluding local-only products, June 2015.
6 Google Shopping internal data,  randomized user A/B experiment, June 2015.
7 Aggregated data from Google Analytics for the US retail vertical, May 2015.

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People are living their lives online, seamlessly moving between apps and websites to shop, communicate, and stay entertained. In order for marketers to understand how campaigns are performing, you need to measure activities that span apps and websites.

Starting today, you can use Estimated Total Conversions to measure conversions that started on the web and finished in an app,1 or vice versa — for Display campaigns. It works whether the click and conversion occur on the same device or across two different ones. Learn more.

For example, let’s say you’re a clothing retailer. Shoppers might click your Display ad for blue jeans on their smartphones while reading the news in a browser, then buy those jeans later in your app on the same device. You’ll now be able to measure these conversions that occur between web and apps as part of Estimated Total Conversions.

Similarly, let’s say you’re the marketing manager for a hotel whose ad for a summer getaway runs in a weather app. Potential customers may click on your ad while checking the weather on their smartphones in the morning and then book rooms later in the day on your website from their computers, or with your app on their tablets. You’ll now be able to measure these conversions that start on one device and finish on another, whether between web and app or between apps.

Cross-device conversions are based on aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have previously signed-in to Google services. This data is then extrapolated to represent the broader population and only reported if it reaches a strict, highly conservative confidence level. To learn more about how cross-device conversions work, visit our Help Center or watch this helpful video.

If you have an app, be sure to set up conversion tracking (Android and iOS) for in-app activities so these insights are included in Estimated Total Conversions.

As consumer purchase journeys get more complex, Google continues to invest in innovations that help marketers measure these new paths with more precision. From store visits to cross-device insights in AdWords and DoubleClick, we’re building tools to help you make the best advertising decisions possible. By including app activities in Estimated Total Conversions, Google gives marketers a more complete picture of the value that AdWords delivers across devices, spanning websites and apps.

Posted by Levent Besik, Product Manager, Google Display Network

Does not include app promotion campaigns

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We get it.  You’re busy.  Staying on top of your AdWords game is important, but there are only so many hours in the day (or week {or month}) to read guides and watch webinars.

That’s why the Google Best Practices team put together a brand new newsletter.  It’ll be an email per month, and we’re designing it to take approximately three minutes to read in its entirety.  We want the insights and recommendations in it to be worth the time you put into reading it.  Even if it only takes three minutes to read, we want those to be three valuable minutes.

Whether it’s a quick video or recommendations on using a new feature, we hope to include the type of insights that make you better at doing what you do, all while getting you back to doing what you actually do as quickly as possible.

Sign up here.  We hope it’ll be time well spent.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

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We introduced Upgraded URLs in February to help you manage your landing page and tracking information separately, using the new final URL and tracking template fields. This new URL structure lets you track more insights into your ad performance, scale tracking updates across your account, and keep your ads running while making updates to your shared tracking templates.

As a reminder, all advertisers will need to use Upgraded URLs in place of destination URLs starting on July 1, 2015. If you do not use tracking parameters in your destination URLs or only use auto-tagging, you can wait for the auto-upgrade starting on July 1st.1

Today, we’d like to share tips to help you take advantage of the benefits of Upgraded URLs, and stories from advertisers who are succeeding with the new and improved URL system.

Tips for upgrading your URLs
  1. To track audience, location and mobile performance, add the new ValueTrack parameters to your tracking templates using the advanced upgrade.2
  2. Keep your ads running even while you make important edits to your tracking using the new shared tracking templates. For example, if you launch a new promotion, add your new tracking parameters to your campaign level tracking template - saving you time and avoid losing potential new business.
  3. If you make frequent tracking updates across your account, use the advanced upgrade and shared tracking templates. This lets you make tracking updates in one place and apply them to your entire account, campaign or ad groups.
To learn more about the benefits of Upgraded URLs, check out this video.

Early success

From time savings to reliable and scalable tracking management - here are some of the success stories we’ve heard from advertisers who are using Upgraded URLs.

"Our clients like to move fast, which means a lot of changes to landing pages and tracking that we need to append onto our URLs. Upgraded URLs let us be nimble with these changes, without the risk of losing our ad history or triggering a review. The new value track parameters let us see deeper insights into our business, and we can set them at the account level for easier implementation. I absolutely recommend upgrading to any advertiser." — Sean McEntee, Account Lead at 3Q Digital

"Upgraded URLs let us set different final URLs for mobile and desktop under the umbrella of a single ad. This gives our teams and our advertisers’ businesses a more reliable way to update tracking and helps ensure customers land on the appropriate page, rather than relying on URL redirects." — David Gong, Director of Strategic Accounts at PMG

Upgrade today

If you haven’t updated your URLs yet, check out our blog or the upgrade guide to learn how you can upgrade them today. As always, please contact us at any time for help with the upgrade.

Posted by Leo Sei, Product Manager, Google AdWords

Your destination URLs will automatically be moved to the new final URL field for any ad groups that do not contain active or paused cross-domain redirect URLs. 
Adding the new ValueTrack parameters using the advanced upgrade, will reset your ad stats once during the upgrade. After the upgrade, any changes to your shared tracking template or custom parameters will not reset your stats. As a reminder, you can always access your historical ad stats in your normal AdWords reporting.

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Even as smartphone and tablet screen sizes get bigger, it can be hard for our fingers to keep up. It’s still so easy to click when you mean to swipe or to tap on a link or ad you didn’t mean to. When it comes to mobile ad clicks across networks, recent third party studies estimate that up to 50% of clicks are accidental. For advertisers, this can artificially inflate clickthrough rates and increase costs.

As we continue to enhance our display ad formats to make them more engaging, we also strive to maximize click quality. In 2012, we introduced confirmed clicks on banner ads to prompt users to verify that they actually meant to click on an ad. Over the past year, we’ve expanded on those efforts to provide greater automation and require less work from users. Now, to make the experience even more seamless, we’re automatically blocking ad clicks in several instances that frequently lead to accidental clicks. Here are three new updates we’ve made:
  1. Blocking clicks that happen close to the image edge: On mobile image ads, we’ve identified the image border as an area prone to accidental clicks when users are trying to click or scroll to adjacent content. Now, they must click on a more central part of the image to navigate to an advertiser’s website or app. 
  2. Blocking clicks on the app icon: On in-app interstitial ads, users will no longer be able to click on the app icon of an install ad given its proximity to the ad close button. Instead, users must click on the call-to-action button to visit an app store page and install the app.
  3. Adding a clickability delay: Ads will only become clickable after they’ve been onscreen for a short period of time. This gives users enough time to examine the content of an ad and helps eliminate accidental clicks from users who didn’t expect to see an ad.
A better experience for both users and advertisers

These latest click quality enhancements improve the user experience by keeping them within their desired website or app and not involuntarily taking them to another page. They also benefit advertisers by reducing costs from accidental clicks and improving conversion rates. To date, we’ve seen a 15% average conversion rate lift on display ads by driving more qualified clicks with these updates.

In the long run, advertisers can further improve performance by re-investing spend saved from accidental clicks back into their display campaigns. To learn more about display campaigns and ad formats, visit our Help Center and read more on best practices, as well as our latest ad placement policies for apps and websites to maximize click quality.

Posted by Pasha Nahass, Product Manager, Mobile Display Ads