Social Distancing With Friends: Google’s Tara Walpert Levy

Tara Walpert Levy GoogleThe coronavirus pandemic has led advertisers to rapidly switch directions, adjusting media buys and ad creative on the fly as the market changed overnight.

“Automation feels like a necessity,” says Tara Walpert Levy, VP of agency and brand solutions at Google. “Both to try to help people capture any profitable growth they can, and to de-risk the business.”

Along with embracing automation, she’s seeing traditional companies pick up the pace of their digital transformation. “You see a widespread effort among advertisers to amp up their ecommerce capabilities, their online ordering and curbside pickup capabilities,” she says.

Out of necessity, change slowly happening for many years is picking up.

That’s true within Google too. People have increasingly watched YouTube on TV, but in March that figure nearly doubled year over year, Tara says. Livestreams have also taken off – such as Andrea Bocelli’s livestream during Easter.

Business transformation is also happening in negotiations. Tara envisions the upfronts – in which YouTube participates – moving to more of a calendar year cycle, a change that benefits advertisers. She sees advertisers embracing measurable media that helps them count every dollar during the pandemic and adjust quickly to new trends. They’re also insights-obsessed at the moment, as they seek to quickly adjust to changes in consumer behavior.

During these tough times, Tara has been encouraged by people rallying around each other and rising to the challenge.

“They say crises bring out the best and the worst,” she says. “And I think we’ve seen a lot of the best in the industry.”

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