If you missed it, last week, Rachel Maddow from MSNBC complained on Twitter that the Google Ads were not labeled and jumping in and out. Danny Sullivan from Google responded that Google always labels its ads and it doesn’t sound like those ads are from Google. To me, it sounded like Rachel Maddow’s computer had some malware on it, injecting fake ads on the Google Search results.
In reaction, Google released a short video explained how ads appear in Search and that these ads are always labeled.
Here is the video:
How do I know this is in response to the Rachel Maddow incident? Well, Danny Sullivan from Google posted on the Google Search Liaison account on Twitter “Our new 2-minute video explains how ads are always labeled plus the basics of how they appear (and often don’t appear for most searches) in Google Search.” I bolded the emphasis part.
It makes sense, Danny Sullivan said this was coming:
We’ll probably look at doing a blog post or a fresh help page from this to better help people understand how to identify if there’s malware that might be impacting their results. And if our UI needs improvement, we’ll work on that….
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 5, 2021
The video says “Ads are always clearly labeled to help distinguish them from the search results.”
Here is the transcript of the video:
When you’re on the hunt for something– say, the perfect camping chair– you might come to Google for help. And when you do, we’ll end up showing you a lot of information about camping chairs. A page like this actually displays two types of information related to your search– search results and ads. Search results show content from across the web, and which ones appear is determined solely by what Google systems think are most relevant to your query. No one pays to be included in search results. Then there’s the ads that may appear. Ads are always clearly labeled to help distinguish them from the search results, but the two actually share something in common. You’re seeing these links because our systems believe they’ll be helpful to your search, like a site listed in your search results that reviews the top camping chairs of the year and an ad from a business highlighting its best-selling chairs. Just like how TV networks run ads to help pay for the programming they produce, ads are how Google is able to keep Search working and free for everyone to use. But instead of businesses paying just for their ads to be seen, businesses pay Google only when a user interacts with their ad, which does happen. It turns out that along with the best information we can surface in search results, ads are often an additional helpful way to connect users with the products, services, or businesses they’re searching for. Like a local shop with a sale on camping chairs obviously wants to reach people shopping for camping chairs. And people like you who are searching for camping chairs will probably be interested in a sale on them. So when you see that store’s ad, you may find it useful, click it, and ultimately purchase a chair. The business gets a new customer. Google gets paid for a click. And you get just the chair you were looking for. Ads are only displayed in clearly marked sections of the page. And we only show them if they’ll be useful. That’s why some queries turn up just one or two ads. There could be more advertisers out there, but if our systems determine their ads aren’t relevant to your search, you won’t see them. And for most searches, that means no ads. Over the last four years, over 80% of searches on Google– like ones for the weather, translations, or who’s that guy from that thing– didn’t have any ads at the top of the results. Search has always been about bringing you the most helpful information. And when we do it right, you find exactly what you’re looking for.
That was a quick turn around time for a video explainer on this based on Rachel Maddows complaint.
Forum discussion at Twitter.