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Google Results Signal Advertisers Are Spending Despite Privacy Concerns

Google's latest quarterly results suggest advertisers are not slowing their digital ad spending in the face of a deepening public debate over data privacy.

Google parent company reported first-quarter revenue was up 26% year over year.

During a call with its investors, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google started working on GDPR compliance roughly 18 months ago and that the company was "very committed" to the European privacy initiative.

When asked whether GDPR will materially impact Google's ad targeting abilities, making it less attractive, Pichai said he wasn't too worried, given that most of Google's ad business remains centered around search, "which relies on a limited amount of stored user information."

Thus far Google has been spared the intense scrutiny faced by Facebook in the wake of disclosures that a political consultant harvested data for a vast number of Facebook users.

But privacy concerns remain a big issue all the major tech companies, as consumer attitudes harden amidst repeated data breaches.

More people are becoming suspicious of sharing data through third parties. In a March 2018 survey from Raymond James, more than eight in 10 US internet users said they were at least somewhat concerned about how their personal data is being used on Facebook.

Similarly, in a Gallup survey of 785 Facebook users in April 2018, 43% said they were very concerned about invasion of privacy. That's an increase of 30% in 2011.

By and large, users are questioning how their data is being used, thanks in large part to GDPR. In fact, a February 2018 study from The7stars revealed that roughly a third of UK internet users said they plan to "exercise their right to be forgotten after GDPR goes live."