Google Research Blog
The latest news from Research at Google
Running Continuous Geo Experiments to Assess Ad Effectiveness
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Posted by Jon Vaver, Research Scientist and Lizzy Van Alstine, Marketing Manager
Advertisers have a fundamental need to measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. In a
, we described the application of geo experiments to measuring the impact of advertising on consumer behavior (e.g. clicks, conversions, downloads). This method involves randomly assigning experimental units to control and test conditions and measuring the subsequent impact on consumer behavior. It is a practical way of incorporating the gold standard of randomized experiments into the analysis of marketing effectiveness. However, advertising decisions are not static, and the original method is most applicable to a one-time analysis. In a follow-up
, we generalize the approach to accommodate periodic (ongoing) measurement of ad effectiveness.
In this expanded approach, the test and control assignments of each geographic region rotate across multiple test periods, and these rotations provide the opportunity to generate a sequence of measurements of campaign effectiveness. The data across test periods can also be pooled to create a single aggregate measurement of campaign effectiveness. These sequential and pooled measurements have smaller confidence intervals than measurements from a series of geo experiments with a single test period. Alternatively, the same confidence interval can be achieved with a reduced magnitude or duration of ad spend change, thereby lowering the cost of measurement. The net result is a better method for periodic
isolated measurement of ad effectiveness.
Power Searching with Google is back
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Posted by Dan Russell, Uber Tech Lead, Search Quality & User Happiness
If you missed
Power Searching with Google
a few months ago
or were unable to complete the course the first time around, now’s your chance to
sign up again
for our free online course that aims to empower our users with the tools and knowledge to find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily.
The community-based course features six 50-minute classes along with interactive activities and the opportunity to hear from search experts and Googlers about how search works. Beginning September 24, you can take the classes over a two-week period, share what you learn with other students in a community forum, and complete the course assessments to earn a certificate of completion.
During the course’s first run in July, people told us how they not only liked learning about new features and more efficient ways to use Google, but they also enjoyed sharing tips and learning from one another through the forums and Hangouts. Ninety-six percent of people who completed the course also said they liked the format and would be interested in taking similar courses, so we plan to offer a suite of upcoming courses in the coming months, including Advanced Power Searching.
Stay tuned for further announcements on those upcoming courses, and don’t forget to
register now for Power Searching with Google
. You’ll learn about things like how to search by color, image, and time and how to solve harder trivia questions like our
A Google a Day
questions. We’ll see you when we start up in two weeks!
Helping the World to Teach
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Posted by Peter Norvig, Director of Research
Research at Google
ran a large open online course,
Power Searching with Google
, taught by search expert, Dan Russell. The course was
, with 155,000 registered students. Through this experiment, we learned that Google technologies can help bring education to a global audience. So we packaged up the technology we used to build Power Searching and are providing it as an open source project called
. We want to make this technology available so that others can experiment with online learning.
The Course Builder open source project is an experimental early step for us in the world of online education. It is a snapshot of an approach we found useful and an indication of our future direction. We hope to continue development along these lines, but we wanted to make this limited code base available now, to see what early adopters will do with it, and to explore the future of learning technology. We will be hosting a community building event in the upcoming months to help more people get started using this software.
shares in the open source vision for online learning platforms, and Google and the
team are in discussions about open standards and technology sharing for course platforms.
We are excited that
UC San Diego
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)
, and a group of universities in Spain led by
are considering how this experimental technology might work for some of their online courses. Sebastian Thrun at
welcomes this new option for instructors who would like to create an online class, while Daphne Koller at Coursera notes that the educational landscape is changing and it is exciting to see new avenues for teaching and learning emerge. We believe Google’s preliminary efforts here may be useful to those looking to scale online education through the cloud.
Along with releasing the experimental open source code, we’ve provided documentation and forums for anyone to learn how to develop and deploy an online course like
. In addition, over the next two weeks we will provide educators the opportunity to connect with the Google team working on the code via Google Hangouts. For access to the code, documentation, user forum, and information about the Hangouts, visit the
Course Builder Open Source Project Page
. To see what is possible with the Course Builder technology register for Google’s next version of
. We invite you to explore this brave new world of online learning with us.
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