Earning people’s trust for the future of the web
January 26, 2023314 views0 comments
By Nitin Gajria, managing director, Google Africa
Access to quality information has never been more important than it is today. We’re living through a pandemic; seeing a cost of living and energy crisis; witnessing a horrific war in Ukraine; and experiencing increasing climate crises across the globe.
People rely on accessible and trusted information to help them navigate the uncertainty. Today nearly 66 per cent of the world is online, including around 43 per cent of the population in Africa, with an explosion of tools, information and content at their fingertips. According to the UN’s International Telecommunication Union mobile cellular penetration rate is over 100 per cent in Africa.
Ads have played a key role in that, having funded our favourite content from newspapers to magazines, entertainment TV, and now the web.
But with more people online, and more concerned about their privacy, the ads-funded internet model has become a subject of debate.
It’s clear that we need a more responsible, respectful internet. Digital advertising needs to be safer for people; successful for publishers; and stronger for businesses.
These global shifts are happening in Africa too. In the last five years, search interest in private browsing increased by 60 per cent in Nigeria, by 30 per cent in South Africa and by +110% in Kenya. Kenya is the 15th country in the world that searched most for private browsing in the last five years and the African country that searched most for the topic.
Make no mistake, this is important for businesses in Africa to acknowledge and respond to. People want great online experiences – delivered with the privacy they deserve, by brands they can trust. For advertisers in Africa, this presents a clear responsibility – but also an opportunity.
1 – Ads can be made more private
Moving to a world without third party cookies means rethinking the tech on which much of the advertising system is built, and building new, privacy-first solutions. But those solutions can – and do – exist.
We’re sharing and testing many of them through the Privacy Sandbox: providing new technologies that will allow users to see relevant ads on both web and mobile, without compromising their privacy or tracking them across sites or apps. We’re collaborating with industry around the world on the change – listening to their feedback, while staying on course with our commitment to phase out third party cookies on Chrome by the end of 2024.
While we are building privacy safe solutions for the future we are also giving people greater control over their data right now. That’s why last year we launched My Ad Center globally. In 2021, 300 million people visited Ad Settings – choosing to make ads more specific to them. My Ad Center gives people control over the ads they want to see across Search, Discover and YouTube by choosing what they like and don’t – in a single place. This works for both users and advertisers because the best ads are helpful, relevant and safe.
2 – People want an ad-supported web
Making the change to a more respectful, responsible ads-supported web model isn’t only vital to advertising success – it’s essential for the future of the web.
It has been estimated that if personalised advertising were to suddenly go away, as much as $32 to $39 billion would shift away from those who rely on open web technology – including publishers, at a time where authoritative information has never been more important.
Some say that all services should simply be paid for. But that would turn the web into a luxury good – shutting billions out.
3 – People deserve to trust what they see
Protecting our users and keeping them safe online remains our utmost priority and at key moments like elections that’s even more important.
We want to improve voters’ confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms, and South Africa is the latest country to be added to our political advertiser verification program. Verified election ads are clearly labelled with the name of the organisation that paid for them and people can see how much was spent and what campaigns were run in our political transparency report.
Africa is experiencing incredible change, presenting both opportunities and challenges. The continent is home to 19 of the top 20 fastest-growing countries on the globe, and its internet economy has the potential to grow to $180 billion by 2025.
We are at a crossroads, for online advertising, and the future of the internet. Without people’s trust, the future of the ad-supported web is at stake. We need to embrace the change: building an ad-supported web fit for the future. A web that gives people the quality information they need, delivered with the privacy they deserve, by brands they can trust. We’re here to help support that transition.