America’s businesses are growing. The web is helping.

Michael Edlavitch was a middle school math teacher in Minnesota when he started a website with free math games to engage his students. With free online tools, a passion for math and an initial investment of just $10 to register his domain, was born. Eventually Michael’s website became popular with more than just his students. So Michael gave Google AdSense a try as a way to earn money by placing ads next to his content. As word spread and traffic grew, the revenue generated from his site allowed Michael to devote himself full time to Hooda Math. Today, has more than 350 educational games and has had more than 100 million unique visitors to the site. Beyond building a business for himself, Michael is helping students everywhere learn math while having fun.

Over in New York, Roberto Gil designs and builds children’s furniture—loft beds, bunk beds and entire custom rooms. Casa Kids’ furniture is custom designed for the family to grow along with the child. Roberto works out of his Brooklyn workshop and doesn’t sell to large furniture stores, which means the Casa Kids website is an essential tool for him to connect with potential customers. To grow even further, Roberto began using AdWords in 2010. In the first few months traffic to his site went up 30 percent. Today, two-thirds of his new customers come from Google. Meet Roberto and learn more about how he’s making the web work for Casa Kids:

These are just two examples of how the web is working for American businesses. According to a McKinsey study, small businesses that make use of the web are growing twice as fast as those that aren’t on the web. That’s because the web is where we go for information and inspiration—from math games to practice over the summer to someone to design and build that perfect bunk bed for your kids. Ninety-seven percent of American Internet users look online for local products and services. Whether we’re on our smartphones, tablets or computers, the web helps us find what we’re looking for.

Here at Google, we see firsthand how the web is helping American businesses grow and thrive. Through our search and advertising programs, businesses like Casa Kids find customers, publishers like Hooda Math earn money from their content, and nonprofits solicit donations and volunteers. These tools are how we make money, and they’re how millions of other U.S. businesses do, too.

In 2012, Google's search and advertising tools helped provide $94 billion of economic activity for more than 1.9 million American businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits. This represents a 17 percent increase from 2011. Check out the impact made in each state, along with stories of local businesses using the web to grow.

Whether it’s building skills or building furniture, Google helps to build businesses. We’re thrilled to be part of such a vibrant industry and are committed to continuing to help make the web work for people and businesses everywhere.

Celebrating 10 years of shared success

Ten years ago we launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing relevant ads on their websites. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation as AdSense went live that first day. Our small team huddled together in a cramped conference room, and right away we saw that publishers were as excited about AdSense as we were.

Fast-forward 10 years, and AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense. AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great.

On this occasion, it’s especially inspiring to hear the stories of partners who have been with us since the very beginning—like a retiree in New Zealand who was able to pursue her dream of writing about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado who can spend more time with his kids, and a theme park reviewer who now sends employees around the world to test and review rides—all thanks to money earned from AdSense.

As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we hope you’ll tune into our live Hangout on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT) on the AdSense Google+ page. I look forward to joining several of our partners to share stories from the early days of AdSense, talk about how we’ve all grown since then, and discuss the future for publishers and online advertising. And if you want even more 10th anniversary celebration, just visit our AdSense 10th anniversary page at any time.

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world

Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.

To get started, simply visit and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.

For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.

Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.

Think Insights: Marketer data, information and inspiration just got a new address

Today marks the debut of the new Think Insights, Google’s hub for marketing insights and inspiration for advertisers and agencies. On, you can learn about the latest research in digital marketing, be inspired by creative brand campaigns, and find useful products and tools. You’ll also find industry-leading case studies and Google’s latest research, strategic perspectives, interviews with innovators and experts and more—all to help you make the most of the web.

Every week, we’ll feature content that spans industries and interests. Here’s a snapshot of our top stories:

  • In Understanding the Full Value of Mobile, learn how sporting goods industry leader adidas worked with digital performance agency iProspect to understand how mobile drives value beyond mobile commerce, particularly in-store sales. The campaign proved that mobile brought a 680% incremental increase in ROI.
  • The Hyundai Elantra: Driveway Decision Maker campaign lets you watch your favorite Hyundai model drive right to your driveway, using a combination of Google Maps Street View, projection mapping and real-time 3D animation.
  • YouTube Ads Leaderboard shows which YouTube ads most moved audiences this month, through a winning combination of savvy promotion and smart creative strategy; a new list is featured each month.

In our Perspectives section, we tap our own experts—as well as heads of industry, digital visionaries and Wharton professors—to lend their insights and analyses on the topics that matter most to marketers. The Product & Tools section contains information about our products and advertising platforms, as well as Planning Tools like the popular Real-Time Insights finder.

We built to help you do it all—stay up-to-date on the latest in digital marketing, arm yourself with data to support your business cases and create inspiring campaigns. Explore the site now, and if you like what you discover, don't forget to subscribe to our Think Letter for a monthly round-up of our most popular content.

Art, Copy & Code: a series of experiments to re-imagine advertising

Last year, we started a program to partner with advertisers and agencies to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. Project Re: Brief set out to recreate some of the advertising industry’s most iconic, classic campaigns using the latest technology tools. This year we’re expanding that program to work with some of today’s most iconic brands and innovative marketers, in our new project: Art, Copy & Code.

Art, Copy & Code is a series of projects and experiments to show how creativity and technology can work hand in hand. Some of these will include familiar brands like Volkswagen, Burberry and adidas—projects developed in partnership with their creative teams and agencies. Others will be creative experiments with innovative filmmakers, creative directors and technologists to explore how brands can connect with consumers through a whole range of digital tools—including ads, mobile apps and social experiences. Our first partner project is a new social driving experience—Volkswagen Smileage.

Building off their 2012 campaign, “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them,” Volkswagen Smileage is a mobile app and web service that aims to add a little bit of fun to every drive, from your daily commutes to holiday road trips. The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called “smileage,” based on signals like weather, traffic, location, time and social interactions (e.g., a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow). You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagens.

Powered by the new Google+ sign-in, you can choose to share Smileage experience with friends and family. For example, during a road trip, photos and videos taken by you and your co-passengers can be automatically added to a live interactive map. The inspiration for the service came from a recent study showing that every day, 144 million Americans on average spend 52 minutes in a car—76 percent of them alone. We wanted to make that time a more shareable experience. Volkswagen Smileage will be available soon in beta—you can sign up on this webpage for early access.

We’ll have many more experiments to share in the Art, Copy & Code project soon—subscribe for updates at We’re committed to investing in technology and tools over the long term to help brands and their agencies succeed not just today, but in a digital future that will look very different.

If you’re planning on attending SXSW, stop by the Google Playground on March 9 to see demos of these experiments, or attend our talk on March 10.

M&M’s, Beyonce and Ravens dominate game day searches on Google

This year’s big game was filled with action—brothers battled on the field and a 34-minute-long power outage nearly turned the tide of the game. With all the excitement on the field, we looked online to see what fans across the U.S. were searching for during the game.

Overall, the top trending searches on Google during the game were:
  1. M&M’s
  2. Beyonce
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. San Francisco 49ers
  5. Colin Kaepernick
Other noteworthy trending searches include those about the power outage, which started trending mid-game and ended up ranking eighth out of the most-searched terms during game time. Searches for Beyonce spiked dramatically during her halftime show. And showing that ads drive consumer interest, searches for Chrysler spiked significantly after their fourth quarter commercial.

The most searched team: The Ravens
As they did in the game, the Ravens narrowly beat out the 49ers as the most searched team during the game on Google. The most searched players of the game were Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, David Akers and Jacoby Jones—thanks to his 108-yard kickoff return.

The Harbaugh brothers’ on-field battle has been one of the big stories of the game, so it’s no surprise that viewers took to the web to find more information on these coaches. While John Harbaugh took home the trophy, Jim was the most searched brother on Google.

Game day commercials
Lastly, it’s not game day without the commercials. Fans were seeking out commercials online throughout the game, driving searches for big game ads on Google 55 times higher this Sunday than the same time last week. The most searched for commercials on YouTube were ads from M&M’s, Mercedes-Benz, Disney’s “Oz Great and Powerful,” Lincoln, and Audi. Searches for "Gangnam Style" were also trending on YouTube, along with searches for big game performers Alicia Keys and Beyonce.

This year many advertisers turned to YouTube to share game day ads and teaser videos in the weeks leading up to the game. In 2013, big game ads or ad teasers were watched more than 66 million times on YouTube before game day.

Now that you’ve seen all the ads, vote for your favorite one on either the YouTube Ad Blitz channel or now through February 11. The winners of the Ad Blitz will be announced on the YouTube homepage on February 16.

Will you be Monday-morning quarterbacking the game or the ads?

Steel + silicon = business success in Detroit

From time to time we invite guests to post about items of interest and are pleased to have Linzie Venegas join us today. Linzie is head of sales and marketing for Ideal Shield, a manufacturing company in Detroit, Mich. that specializes in bumper post sleeves. Based in a city forged in tradition and steel, Ideal Shield has seen great success on the web—a story Linzie tells us in this post. -Ed.

When my great-grandparents moved from Mexico to Detroit in 1917, they were looking for a better life. They had no idea that one day their grandson, my father Frank Venegas, would invent a product and start a business that would help transform their adopted hometown. Thanks to my dad’s hard work and a little help from the web, that’s exactly what Ideal Shield has done.

Ideal Shield specializes in manufacturing bumper post sleeves. You may have seen these around—they’re colorful covers that slide over the steel pipes that keep cars from running into buildings. As a young child, my first job at Ideal was to assemble mailers for potential customers. Our mailers were unique—I would place a pack of jelly beans into each envelope. Talk about a great way to get a high “clickthrough rate!” Today, I head sales and marketing for the company, and we’ve taken our family business online with phenomenal results.

Ideal Shield’s father-daughter team Frank and Linzie Venegas in the factory surrounded by bumper post sleeves and guard rails.

We began using Google AdWords in 2004 to help potential customers find our product because many people didn’t know what it was. We were drawn to AdWords because everyone could see our ads—but we only had to pay for the customers who clicked through to our website. We also found that the leads were very qualified and had a higher close rate than leads from other sources. So far this year, for every $1 we've spent on AdWords we’ve gotten back $22. We’ve been able to have great success—without jelly beans!—using Google AdWords.

The energy we’ve put into our online presence has produced tremendous growth for our business; we’ve been able to grow our workforce by 20 percent. We’ve also focused on building our local community of Southwest Detroit. Each year we hire many interns from the local high school, Detroit Cristo Rey, and teach them skills that will last a lifetime. We’ve outfitted the junior and senior classes at Detroit Cristo Rey with Chromebooks so that they’ll have access to the power of the web anywhere, and many teachers there use the free Google Apps for Education suite with their students. This year, we were proud to hear that Detroit Cristo Rey achieved a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate. We also work with the Michigan Minority Business Development Council to teach other small businesses in the community the importance of an online strategy and how the web can help small businesses thrive.

My dad started Ideal with himself, my mother and a couple of laborers; today this family business has more than 35 employees and annual sales of $14 million. With help from the web, his hard work, determination and “out of the box” thinking have made Ideal a symbol of strength and renewal in Southwest Detroit. My father has always told me that if you take care of the community, the community will take care of you. Detroit is our community—it’s our heart, it’s our home. We’ve been surprised and delighted at how much the web has contributed to Ideal Shield, and we’re happy to share that success with Detroit. We can’t wait to do more!

London calling: some reflections on the digital games

The stats are in, and one clear winner from this year’s summer sports has emerged: digital media. Here’s a quick look behind the “screens” at how the web blew records away around the world, at the most wired Games ever.

Searches set a new pace
Mirroring the growth of the web and digital media, Google search volume around the world was dramatically higher this year than during Beijing in 2008:
  • Driven by a 900 percent increase in [ryan lochte] searches, American interest in [swimming] spiked 25 percent higher than 2008 levels.
  • The “Fierce Five” vaulted U.S. searches for [gymnastics] to almost double the 2008 peak.
  • Spurred on by a record-breaking performance by sprinter Usain Bolt, Jamaican searches for [track and field] raced up 40 percent from 2008.
  • Japanese gymnast and first-time gold medalist [kohei uchimura] proved he’s a “superman” in search as well as on the tumbling mat, with search volume in his home country up 420 percent over the last games.
  • Success may have been sweeter the second time around for wrestler [sushil kumar], the first Indian athlete to win an individual medal at successive Olympics, with searches up more than 375 percent from the 2008 games.
Here are a few more search snapshots:

Top Athlete Searches (U.S.) Top Athlete Searches (U.K.) Top Artist Closing Ceremony Searches (U.S.)
Michael Phelps Usain Bolt Jessie J
Ryan Lochte Jessica Ennis Beady Eye
Lolo Jones Michael Phelps Gary Barlow
Usain Bolt Victoria Pendleton Ed Sheeran
Alex Morgan Andy Murray Freddie Mercury

Global streaming goes the distance
YouTube powered the live stream for NBC Olympics and for the International Olympic Committee’s YouTube Channel, making the world’s games even more global and accessible. NBC Olympics saw more live streams than during the entire Beijing Games—more than 159 million total video streams and more than 64 million live streams across YouTube's online, mobile and tablet experiences. In all, more than 20 million hours of total video was streamed over 17 days. And of course, the Games were also streamed on the IOC’s channel (, with tens of millions of streams to 64 countries in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. We’ll have more details on the YouTube blog soon.

The multi-screen relay
More than ever, people experienced the Games not just via the TV broadcast, but on desktops, mobile phones and tablets. Through research panels conducted in partnership with NBC in the U.S., we learned a bit more about how this played out:
  • Mobile makes a strong showing: Many viewers turned to one or more “second screens” beyond TV to keep updated on the Olympics—nearly half of those who did (44 percent) did so via a mobile phone or tablet.
  • Power viewers: Second-screen viewing didn’t seem to diminish participants’ interest in watching the games on fact, it increased it. People who followed the Games on TV plus one other screen watched 52 percent more Olympics on TV than those who didn’t; people who followed on two additional screens spent more than twice as much time (105 percent) with TV. And people who watched live streams of events online watched 66 percent more Olympics on television than people who followed exclusively on TV.
  • Synchronized usage: Overall, nearly 56 percent of people who followed the Games on TV and at least one other screen did so simultaneously. These simultaneous viewers also watched TV for 67 percent longer than those who only watched TV.

Gold for digital businesses
Brands who invest in digital marketing to connect with customers grow their own businesses and help make great content possible. A few campaigns that caught our eye:

  • Visa’s global “Go World" campaign invited fans to show their support for Team Visa athletes in the form of cheers across social media. The campaign generated more than 59 million cheers, and Visa’s YouTube channel accounted for more than 47 million views of Visa’s commercials and athlete training videos from around the world.
  • Insurance provider Zurich launched a successful “Share your Sports Moments” marketing campaign on Google and YouTube, featuring members of the German Olympic team. The result: a significant uplift in the number of leads who then signed insurance contracts.
  • Lloyds TSB Bank, presenting partner of the Olympic Torch relay, conducted a successful AdWords campaign that kept pace with the Olympic torch as it passed through towns in the U.K., resulting in more than 190,000 clicks and more than 2 million impressions over three months.

Higher traffic and increased investment in the web also helped online publishers in a big way:

  • In the U.S., across 2 million sites in our Google Display Network and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, ads shown on sports-related websites increased by 19 percent, while revenues (RPMs) for these sites increased by 14 percent, compared to the two previous weeks.
  • Our premium ad serving platform for publishers (DoubleClick for Publishers), which helps some of the web’s largest publishers make money from their content, broke a new record, with one major publisher serving more than 400 million ad impressions in a day across its website and mobile content—driving higher revenues and more free content.

A fun note to end on: showing how the web can fuse data and creativity while opening the playing field, one of our software engineers used Google App Engine to create a “per capita” medal tally (the data is real, the accounting is somewhat creative). On this basis, one country stands above all others—congratulations to the most successful nation of the last two weeks, Grenada!

How November Will Be Won: By the Numbers

Did you know that 1/3 of people who see a campaign ad on YouTube have not seen it on TV? We recently shared this on our Politics & Elections Blog. You can read an example of the types of things we talk about on that blog below. For more information about marketing a campaign on YouTube visit our YouTube for politicians website.

Earlier this year, we introduced “Four Screens to Victory”, a framework for political campaigns that outlined how Google can help make the web work for candidates and issues groups up and down the ballot. With these digital platforms, campaigns can build their organizations, define the issues, persuade the electorate and - importantly - get the vote out and win the moment that matters in November on Election Day.

Access to political information no longer comes from one place - or one screen. In just the four years since the last presidential election, the continued growth of the web and the proliferation of mobile devices has radically transformed when, where, and how voters access political information.

The numbers are in, and savvy political campaigns need to take notice. The rules of reaching voters have changed and new approaches are warranted because:
  • More than 80% of eligible voters are online
  • Similarly, 83% of mobile phone owners are registered voters
  • 1 out of every 3 likely voters in November say that they didn’t watch tv in the past week
  • Voters are spending more media time on their mobile devices than newspapers & magazines combined
(Click the infographic below to get a larger version)

If you’re as inspired as we are by some of the data and the implications on your own political campaign, check out the “Four Screens to Victory” site to spark some ideas of your own and see how you can make the web work for your campaign.

David Kaufman, Google Politics & Elections Team, recently watched "i like ike"

Project Re: Brief, the documentary

A few months ago, we introduced Project Re: Brief, our experiment to reimagine online advertising. We took some of the most loved ad campaigns from the ‘60s and ‘70s and and brought them back to life for the digital age with the help of the advertising legends that made them in the first place. Together, we created a series of ads designed to start conversations and fire up imaginations about what technology can make possible, such as ads that enable two strangers on opposite sides of the world to connect over a can of soda, or that translate a customer service experience into an instant, shareable, personalized animated video.

But Re: Brief is not just about the ads themselves. It’s also about the creative process behind them: bringing “old school” advertising legends and technologists into the same room to create digital ads that consumers love as much as they loved the iconic campaigns of yesterday. To share this experience, today we premiered the documentary film Project Re: Brief, directed by Emmy winner Doug Pray, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—also available on YouTube.

This hour-long documentary follows the story of the five art directors and copywriters who made the original ads as they come out of retirement to “Re: Brief” their classic campaigns: Harvey Gabor (Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop); Amil Gargano (Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it”); Paula Green (Avis’ “We try harder”); and Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina (Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”). While major shifts in technology have reshaped the advertising business, as we learned from our heroes of the past, the basic tenets of storytelling haven’t changed. We found these icons’ ideas, wisdom and passion for great advertising inspiring and hope you do as well.

For more details on the film and the Cannes Lions festival, visit our Agency Blog.