When Prabhakar Raghavan was teaching at Stanford University some 20 years ago, he was recruited by two grad students — Larry Page and Sergey Brin — to help run their search engine startup company. He turned down the offer. Raghavan's response to the young founders: "You'll never make any money."
Today, Raghavan is responsible for how Google— worth $700 billion-plus — makes almost all of its money: advertisements.
But Raghavan, who transitioned to his new role as ads chief last October after leading Google Apps for the company, finds himself in a tricky situation. At a time when consumer concerns over privacy are seemingly at an all-time high, Google's money-minting ads business is showing signs of sluggishness. On last quarter's earnings call, Google announced slower than expected ad revenues, signaling concerns to Wall Street and sinking its stock more than 7% in after-hours trading.
To boost business in a post-Cambridge Analytica climate, Raghavan knows he can't merely give advertisers more access to user information. Instead, he needs to find the right balance between advertiser demands and user privacy.
This week at Google Marketing Live — the company's annual event for advertising partners — Raghavan and his team unveiled several new ad and commerce products to help Google boost its business with advertisers while driving home the message that it's respectful of privacy.