Helping Google and its network of publishers address the rapid global rise of ad blocking--by first improving the ad experience.

From late 2015 to spring of 2016, I joined the New York-based Contributor product team, working from Google headquarters in Mountain View. Over time my scope expanded to advertising programs at Google to rebalance consumer experiences with ads so they can continue to fund publishers and and important work they do.

Contributor is an ad removal service that significantly reduces display ads across Google's networks while compensating publishers and people who create free content. Instead of seeing ads, consumers see either a negative space, a patterned image, or even cat photos with a message thanking users for helping to fund the content they're enjoying.

Alternative revenue models are gaining in importance as global ad blocker installations rise sharply. For publishers and people who earn their living by creating content, ad blocking represents a significant challenge. And the story is still developing.

As such, I became involved in broader efforts to respond to ad blocking in a way that reduces annoyance for users while helping publishers keep their content free for everyone to enjoy. I'll update this case study periodically as industry involvement grows. In the meantime, you may see Google executives make announcements about work and perspectives I had a hand in shaping.

LAST UPDATED (June 2017):

Working at Google is always fun...and I was thrilled to be involved in product marketing, communications, legal, regulatory, commercialization, international public policy, revenue modeling, design sprints, messaging research, product advisory, and naming. I love working with people who care about putting the needs of users above all else. 

And I got to visit the labs of three major European cities in just a few days. (My sightseeing was largely limited to cups of amazing European coffees as I worked). Pictured below: research lab stairwells in London, Paris, and Berlin...and a gratuitous Instagram photo of a delicious Paris Opera crema.

Past work with Google: Analytics social ROI features

In June of 2011, Google acquired a social analytics company, whose technology and team were absorbed into the Google Analytics product team and roadmap. That fall, I was invited by their lead user experience designer and product marketing manager to offer perspective on how enterprise Web analytics users thought about and discussed social media.

The team felt that their new features offered a great way to begin a broad discussion about what really matters to a business, how to make and scale investments in social, and determine which sources of traffic are worth more in real dollars. At the heart of the new capability was a component called Social ROI, which attacked the universal problem of marketing attribution for site and business owners.

I guided the team on how to talk about the new features as a way to improve market share among enterprise users, where GA lagged competitively. Perhaps the most gratifying experience was collaborating with the lead designer on taxonomies for the new capabilities. 

Together we crafted a position for the new social measurement features that grabbed the attention of business analytics professionals, as well as technology and marketing press when they launched in March of 2012.

Bloggers and the press picked up on the story with a high degree of favor.