In this week’s Digital Marketing News, Google has expanded the insights available in Google Ads, TikTok clapped back at U.S Senators who alleged their data handling was unsafe, and a former Google CEO spoke about the 20% Project and how “brutal” it could be.
Google Ads Adds Diagnostic Insights
Google is introducing a fresh data set to the Insights page on Google Ads, which emphasises any issues that are found whilst a diagnostic check is running. This new data set is called Diagnostic Insights.
Diagnostic insights will help marketers identify any issues that are preventing a campaign from showing, generating low engagement, or making it more difficult to track conversions.
The data set is located on the Insights and Overview page, which is found under your Performance Max campaigns. The data will let you troubleshoot problems as soon as they get detected.
Google Ads provides you with a thorough breakdown of the following data insights:
- Account status
- Billing status
- Policy review
- Conversion tracking
- Campaign budget
- Bid strategy target
- Campaign status
- Ad strength
Tailored recommendations will remove the guesswork out of fixing any issues Google find, so the campaign can go back to performing optimally in a quick fashion.
Diagnostic insights were teased by Google in May this year, with an announcement stating that the new insights would be rolling out soon. After two months, they’re rolling out.
The diagnostic insights data set only shows when an ad campaign has not received traffic or conversions.
If the campaign is running and people are engaging with the ad, there will be no diagnostic issues that are reported.
This feature is currently in beta, so not everyone has access to it. It’s being gradually rolled out.
As well as not everyone having access to diagnostic insights, they’re only available for performance max campaigns at this moment in time.
TikTok Responds To Unsafe Data Allegations
TikTok has denied that user data was accessible to China-based employees. The current TikTok CEO, Shou Zi Chew offered a strong refutation of a news article that claimed TikTok was not handling sensitive U.S user data in an unsecured manner.
Chew also answered questions that were sent by senators from the U.S about who can access the data, as well as questions regarding Chinese government control over TikTok.
The article in question was published by BuzzFeed and alleged that in a business meeting for TikTok, it was expressed that company employees located in China had full access to sensitive user data.
In response to the Buzzfeed article, nine U.S senators sent a letter to TikTok asking for more clarity, which drove the CEO of TikTok to provide an explanation.
Nine Senators sent TikTok a letter of concern due to the allegations that the China employees could access sensitive user data. The letter contained eleven questions regarding user data, one asked if the social media giant has ever conveyed sensitive data to the Chinese government.
The letter addressed to TikTok stated:
“The implications of these findings are stark, but not surprising. Rather, they simply confirm what lawmakers long suspected about TikTok…”
Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, responded with their own letter that was addressed to the senators. These answers were later shared as a PDF by the New York Times.
Chew stated TikTok was complying with securing the U.S. user data and has completed the necessary steps for locking down the data together with two prominent U.S companies.
Collaborating with the companies Oracle and Booz Allen, the security initiative that will be put in place is called Project Texas.
According to Chew, the employees who are working on Project Texas work on various parts of a project and do not know the project’s full scope.
The CEO affirmed that the employees involved in the leak which prompted the Buzzfeed article were unaware of other parts of Project Texas and weren’t aware of the data security policies involved.
“Some people working on these projects do not have visibility into the full picture , working on a task without realizing that it’s a single step in a much bigger project or a test to validate an assumption.
That’s critical context for the recordings leaked to BuzzFeed, and one thing their reporting got right: the meetings were in service of Project Texas’s aim to halt this data access.”
The response also discloses that TikTok is working discreetly with the U.S. Government to secure user data in a way that not only ensures that U.S User data stays in the U.S but also controls who has access to it.
“…circumstances now require that we share some of that information publicly to clear up the errors and misconceptions in the article and some ongoing concerns related to other aspects of our business.
…As we recently reported, we now store 100% of U.S. user data by default in the Oracle cloud environment, and we are working with Oracle on new, advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future.”
China-Based Employee Access
Countering the articles, TikTok has rigid rules over access to user data.
Regarding China-based employee access to data:
“Employees outside the U.S., including China- based employees, can have access to TikTok U.S. user data subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our U.S.-based security team.
In addition, TikTok has an internal data classification system and approval process in place that assigns levels of access based on the data’s classification and requires approvals for
access to U.S. user data.
The level of approval required is based on the sensitivity of the data according to the classification system.”
Chew also denied that the Chinese government can govern or access U.S user data or TikTok.
“…employees of Beijing Douyin Information Service Limited are restricted from U.S. user database access.
The Chinese state-owned enterprise’s acquisition of 1 % of Beijing Douyin Information Service Limited was necessary for the purpose of obtaining a news license in China for several China- based content applications, such as Douyin and Toutiao
The Chinese government does not directly or indirectly have the right to appoint board members or otherwise have specific rights with respect to any ByteDance entity within the chain of ownership or control over the TikTok entity .”
At this moment in time, TikTok can still be downloaded on app stores worldwide.
Google’s Brutal Review Process For New Projects
Eric Schmidt, a former CEO of Google has spoken about the company’s “brutal” review process employees had to experience when they were pitching ideas for new products or projects.
The process was revealed Schmidt took part in a Q&A session at a Collision conference in Toronto. He was questioned about his approach to forecasting a company’s future and whether he uses a bottom-up or top-down method.
Collision is an event mainly for startup companies and investors, so the questions are typically involving those subjects.
One question that was asked encouraged Schmidt to reveal some insights about Google and how an employee pitched a new business idea when he was the CEO.
Google had something called the 20% project that ran from 2004 until 2013, which was a company benefit that allowed an employee of Google to work on a side project. Multiple side projects became top products for Google, such as Gmail, AdSense, and Google News.
The former CEO spoke about how he managed the 20% project when he was in charge, and how it differed from how he explained it while working for Google.
The 20% Project
As a response to the aforementioned forecasting question, Schmidt spoke about how he, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin approached it during his tenure at Google.
Schmidt always remarked that Google used a bottom-up method to manage the 20% project. A bottom-up method means that there is a joint effort in deciding how to approach an idea for a new product.
However, at the Collision event, Schmidt stated that Google’s leaders were actually more involved than the public would believe.
It wasn’t a joint effort or a team decision that allowed these side projects to become more than just side projects. Instead, the judgment was cast through a “brutal” review process that came from Google management.
“When I was running Google, I would always explain how we did it. It was completely bottoms up. You had 20% time where teams could assemble, and people could follow their passion. These were brilliant people, the highest talent.
I would not tell you the rest of the story — and the rest is that Larry [Page], Sergey [Brin], and I would review these things, and these reviews were brutal.
Are these ideas good enough?
Can we fund them?
Are they going to work?
Are they going to scale?
Are they legal?
To build a systemic innovation culture, which is what I think we’re talking about here, you need to have both bottoms up and tops down.”
Schmidt further explained how using both a bottom-up and a top-down approach can be beneficial, and that both are needed in order for a business to succeed for the next 10 to 20 years:
“The bottoms-up is where the creative ideas come from, and the top-down organizaes and systematizes the decision-making. If you do both, you will win big in the next 10-20 years.
If you do a bit of it, you’ll do OK. You’ll be ‘one of’ the companies. The great companies can invent something and then systematize it, and then regularize it, and then scale it.”
Criticism Of The 20% Project From Employees
The quotes from Schmidt actually reflect the criticism that the 20% Project has received from employees of Google. 12 years ago, one Google employee started a thread on Quora.
The Quora thread stated that the 20% Project was ineffective because of the number of levels that a project would have to go through in order to be approved:
“There is a colossal amount of overhead involved in launching anything. The number of approvals (both technical and product) needed for the smallest of launches is overwhelming. For example, you’ll need to have your service live in multiple data centers from day one, because Google has extremely frequent planned maintenance. There are some tools to help you, but you’ve got to do a ton of leg work.”
More information about The 20% Project
To learn more about the 20% Project, you can watch the following video from SHRMWeKnowNext, which features Shannon Deegan talking about the 20% Project: