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How Google Tracks You – And What You Can Do About It

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How Google Tracks You - And What You Can Do About It

How Google Tracks You – And What You Can Do About It

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?

It’s because you are – and for a rough proxy of this, use the browser extension Ghostery to see how many tracking scripts are watching you on a typical media site. (It doesn’t work for everything, but a large media site like Vice.com has 50+ trackers, with 40 of them focused on advertising).

Capturing this user data helps sites sell their inventory to advertisers, but a select few companies operate in this capacity at a whole different level. Google and Facebook are the best of examples of this, as nearly $0.60 of every dollar spent on digital advertising goes to them. They both have the sophistication and ubiquity to capture incredible amounts of information about you.

Google is Everywhere

Today’s infographic, which comes to us from Mylio, focuses in on Google in particular.

The search giant is massive in size, and there is a good chance you tap into Googleverse in some way:

  • Global market penetration for Android is 61-81%.
  • Google has a 78.8% market share for online search.
  • The company generates $67.4 billion in annual ad revenue.
  • Google processes two trillion searches annually.
  • 30-50 million websites use Google Analytics to for tracking.
  • There are 700,000 apps available in the Google Play store.
  • 82% of videos watched online come from YouTube.
  • In total, Google has at least 79 products and services.

According to Google’s documentation, it uses these services to pull out information on the “things you do”, “things you create”, and the things that make you unique.

See What Google Collects

All in all, Google tracks your activity history, location history, audio history, and device history. It also builds a profile for you for serving ads – age, gender, location, income, and other demographic data.

You can view and actually download this history by using a tool called Google Takeout.

Many people understand that their data helps support advertising revenues on websites they enjoy. Others are rightly concerned about their privacy, and how their information is used. Regardless of which category you fit in, becoming informed about how privacy on the internet works will help you craft an experience that best fits your preferences.

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Ranked: The Most Valuable Brands in the World

This infographic ranks some of the world’s biggest companies by brand value in 2020 and visualizes the movers and shakers over the past year.

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Ranking The World’s Most Valuable Brands

Due to its intangible nature, the power of a brand can be difficult to translate to a balance sheet. That said, a brand that truly connects with consumers and stands the test of time can deliver immense financial value.

Today’s graphic pulls data from the 2020 edition of Brand Finance’s annual Global 500 report, which ranks the world’s top brands by value using a multi-dimensional formula.

By quantifying the true value of a brand, investors and key decision makers can identify value that extends beyond quarterly earnings reports.

How much are brands really worth?

A Closer Look at the Leaderboard

With 18% growth in the last year resulting in an eye-watering brand value of $220 billion, Amazon is a clear winner as the world’s most valuable brand—towering over Google and Apple’s brand valuations. As the largest online marketplace on the planet, Amazon relies on innovative technologies and investments in fast-growing sectors, such as healthcare, to create a diverse retail ecosystem.

Although tech companies command five of the top 10 spots in the ranking, brands from more traditional industries are hot on their tails.

Here are the top 100 most valuable brands according to the report:

RankingBrand2020 Brand ValueYoY % ChangeCountrySector
#1Amazon$220B17.5%United StatesRetail
#2Google$160B11.9%United StatesTech
#3Apple$140B-8.5%United StatesTech
#4Microsoft$117B-2.1%United StatesTech
#5Samsung$94B3.5%South KoreaTech
#6ICBC$80B1.2%ChinaBanking
#7Facebook$79B-4.1%United StatesMedia
#8Walmart$77B14.2%United StatesRetail
#9Ping An$69B19.8%ChinaInsurance
#10Huawei$65B4.5%ChinaTech
#11Mercedes-Benz$65B7.8%GermanyAutomobiles
#12Verizon$63B-10.5%United StatesTelecoms
#13China Construction Bank$62B-10.2%ChinaBanking
#14AT&T$59B-32%United StatesTelecoms
#15Toyota$58B11.1%JapanAutomobiles
#16State Grid$57B11.1%ChinaUtilities
#17Disney$56B22.7%United StatesMedia
#18Agricultural Bank of China$55B-0.7%ChinaBanking
#19WeChat$54B6.8%ChinaMedia
#20Bank of China$51B-0.7%ChinaBanking
#21The Home Depot$50B7.3%United StatesRetail
#22China Mobile$49B-11.9%ChinaTelecoms
#23Shell$47B12.4%NetherlandsOil & Gas
#24Saudi Aramco$47BN/ASaudi ArabiaOil & Gas
#25Volkswagen$45B7.6%GermanyAutomobiles
#26YouTube$44B17.5%United StatesMedia
#27Tencent QQ$44B-11.3%ChinaMedia
#28Starbucks$41B4.5%United StatesRestaurants
#29Wells Fargo$41B2.3%United StatesBanking
#30BMW$40B0.0%GermanyAutomobiles
#31Deutsche Telekom$40B-13.6%GermanyTelecoms
#32Moutai$39B29.1%GermanySpirits
#33PetroChina$38B3.3%ChinaOil & Gas
#34Coca-Cola$38B4.8%United StatesSoft Drinks
#35Mitsubishi Group$38B42.8%JapanAutomobiles
#36McDonald’s$37B18.9%United StatesRestaurants
#37Taobao$37B-20.7ChinaRetail
#38NTT Group$36B-12.8%JapanTelecoms
#39Bank of America$35B-3.6%United StatesBanking
#40Nike$35B7.3%United StatesApparel
#41Porsche$33B15.6%GermanyAutomobiles
#42Sinopec$33B14.7%ChinaOil & Gas
#43IBM$33B1.5%United StatesTech
#44CITI$33B-9%United StatesBanking
#45Honda$33B28.6%JapanAutomobiles
#46Marlboro$33B-2.7%United StatesTobacco
#47Deloitte$32B9.6%United StatesCommercial Services
#48Chase$31B-13.8%United StatesBanking
#49Tmall$31B-15.9%ChinaRetail
#50UPS$29B0.6%United StatesLogistics
#51American Express$29B6.2%United StatesCommercial Services
#52Xfinity$29B6.4%United StatesTelecoms
#53United Healthcare$28B-7.4%United StatesHealthcare
#54Sumitomo Group$28B4.5%JapanMining, Iron & Steel
#55Intel$27B-5.5%United StatesTech
#56VISA$27B-3%United StatesCommercial Services
#57Instagram$27B58%United StatesMedia
#58China Life$25B-4.4%ChinaInsurance
#59Accenture$25B-3.8%United StatesIT Services
#60Allianz$25B7.5%GermanyInsurance
#61CSCEC$25B-3.3%ChinaEngineering & Construction
#62PWC$25B-0.3%United StatesCommercial Services
#63Lowe’s$25B3.4%United StatesRetail
#64Mitsui$24B15.8%JapanMining, Iron & Steel
#65General Electric$24B-14.4%United StatesEngineering & Construction
#66EY$24B2.1%United KingdomCommercial Services
#67Oracle$24B-6.7%United StatesTech
#68Cisco$24B7.1%United StatesTech
#69BP$23B2.6%United KingdomOil & Gas
#70CVS$23B9.1%United KingdomRetail
#71Total$23B8.1%FranceOil & Gas
#72FedEx$23B-5.1%United StatesLogistics
#73Netflix$23B8.4%United StatesMedia
#74China Merchants Bank$23B1.8%ChinaBanking
#75JP Morgan$23B15.3%United StatesBanking
#76Boeing$23B-29%United StatesAerospace & Defence
#77Costco$23B32.1%United StatesRetail
#78SK Group$22B-17.5%South KoreaTelecoms
#79Wuliangye$21B30.1%ChinaSpirits
#80Evergrande$21B0.5%ChinaReal Estate
#81Nestle$21B3.4%SwitzerlandFood
#82Hyundai Group$21B-2.8%South KoreaAutomobiles
#83China Telecom$21B-2.8%ChinaTelecoms
#84Siemens$21B-7.2%GermanyEngineering & Construction
#85TATA Group$21B2.3%IndiaEngineering & Construction
#86Mastercard$21B8.4%United StatesCommercial Services
#87Bosch$20B-14.6%GermanyEngineering & Construction
#88IKEA$19B-9.4%SwedenRetail
#89HSBC$19B-3.6%United KingdomBanking
#90Spectrum$19B25%United StatesTelecoms
#91Vodafone$19B-10.3%United KingdomTelecoms
#92Pepsi$19B2.2%United StatesSoft Drinks
#93Alibaba$19B28.8%ChinaRetail
#94Ford$18B-1.4%United StatesAutomobiles
#95AIA$18B17.3%ChinaInsurance
#96Orange$18B-13.7%FranceTelecoms
#97Nissan$18B-4.5%JapanAutomobiles
#98Chevron$18B4.7%United StatesOil & Gas
#99GUCCI$18B20.2%ItalyApparel
#100Dell Technologies$18B-22.9%United StatesTech

American retail giant Walmart enters 2020’s top 10 ranking with an impressive brand value increase of 14% to $77.5 billion. The retailer’s recent success could be partially attributed to its growing strategic partnership with Microsoft—which currently sits in sixth place. By tapping into Microsoft’s cloud services, Walmart can now provide a digital first retail experience for its customers.

Another brand that has experienced remarkable growth is China’s leading insurance company, Ping An. With 19.8% growth, resulting in a brand value of $69 billion, the financial conglomerate’s aggressive focus on fintech R&D has garnered the company 200 million retail customers and 500 million internet users—making it one of the largest financial services companies in the world.

While the majority of the world’s most valuable brands hail from the U.S. or China, which brands lead by region?

Most Valuable Brands by Region

Not surprisingly, Amazon leads as the most valuable B2C brand across the Americas, with the exception of Latin America. Beer brand Corona, was crowned as the leader in this region, boasting a brand value of $8.1 billion.

most valuable brands supplemental

In Europe, German companies outperformed other countries, with automotive brand Mercedes-Benz holding the title for the most valuable B2C brand for that continent—despite China being its biggest market.

On the other side of the world, Samsung reigns as Asia’s most valuable B2C brand. The company owns 54% of the nascent 5G market globally, having shipped 6.7 million 5G phones in the last year alone.

A Brand Eat Brand World

Whether brands are regional or global leaders, they still face the threat of being knocked of their perch by brands experiencing significant growth.

Climbing to the Top

With an increase of 65% to $12.4 billion, Tesla is officially the fastest-growing brand in the world. Despite concerns over not being able to keep up with demand, the electric car company is expected to exceed 500,000 vehicle deliveries in 2020. Having recently posted over $7 billion of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2019, the success of Tesla’s innovative models is sure to rattle the automotive brands in the ranking.

However, not everything comes down to innovation. European retailers Lidl and Aldi have seen growth of 40% and 37% respectively, and are only getting started.

After disrupting Europe’s entire supermarket industry by offering quality products at significantly lower prices, the chains now have their sights set on the U.S. market, with Aldi expected to surpass Kroger in sales.

Despite the unprecedented disruption caused by e-commerce, the popular assertion that entering digital operations brings instant success while bricks and mortar stores are doomed for extinction is being proved wrong

—David Haigh, CEO Brand Finance

In contrast, there are also well established brands that have struggled to retain brand value.

Racing to the Bottom

Chinese search engine Baidu—also known as the Google of China—recorded the largest drop in brand value, decreasing by 54% to $8.9 billion. The brand has struggled with a poor reputation and intensifying market competition. As a result, the brand’s revenues and subsequently its brand value were heavily impacted.

Boeing is a prime example of the unpredictability of brand value. As a company that once imbued trust and excellent safety standards, the brand’s value has dropped by 29% due to the recent reports of accidents that have tarnished its reputation.

The True Power of Brand

Boeing’s recent hardships reflect the volatile nature of brand value. While 244 brands in the entire ranking have increased their brand value year-over-year, another 212 have taken a hit.

Part of a brand’s purpose is to manage reputation, retain loyal customers, and generate awareness. Given that a brand is the sum of its parts, the ranking proves that an issue with any of these things could trigger a chain reaction, negatively impacting a brand’s bottom line.

So is it worth companies investing in their brand? All signs point to yes, for now.

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Animation: How Tech is Eating the Brand World

Changing consumer expectations have created a harsh environment for traditional brands to operate in—will tech companies make them obsolete?

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How Technology is Eating the Brand World

Building a brand with an imperishable competitive edge can be difficult.

Technology companies however, are redefining what that edge means. By hastily responding to emerging consumer needs and leveraging the power of brand, these companies can continuously create meaningful solutions for real problems with scale.

Today’s animated chart highlights the most valuable brands in 2019 versus 2001, according to the annual “Best Global Brands” ranking by Interbrand. It illustrates the degree to which technology companies have been able to scale into massive brands over a short time frame, supplanting some of the best known companies in the world.

What is Brand Value, and How is it Measured?

Interbrand has created and consistently used a robust formula to measure brand value. Brand value is the Net Present Value (NPV) or the present value of the earnings that a brand is forecasted to generate in the future.

The formula evaluates brands based on their financial forecast, brand role, and brand strength. The full methodology can be found here.

Tech Reigns Supreme

In 2001, the cumulative brand value was $988 billion. Today, that value stands at $2.1 trillion and represents an average CAGR of 4.4%. Over the years, global tech giants have swiftly climbed the ranks, and now represent a significant amount of the total brand value.

In fact, with a combined brand value of almost $700 billion, tech companies account for half of the top 10 most valuable brands in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Apple holds the title for the world’s most valuable brand in 2019—for the seventh year running.

Only 31 brands from the 2001 ranking remain on the Best Global Brands list today, including Disney, Nike, and Gucci. Coca-Cola and Microsoft are the few who have remained in the top 10.

Below is the full list of the world’s most valuable brands:

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)1-Yr Value ChangeIndustry
#1Apple$234B9%Technology
#2Google$168B8%Technology
#3Amazon$125B24%Technology
#4Microsoft$108B17%Technology
#5Coca-Cola$63B-4%Beverages
#6Samsung$61B2%Technology
#7Toyota$56B5%Automotive
#8Mercedes Benz$51B4%Automotive
#9McDonald’s$45B4%Restaurants
#10Disney$44B11%Entertainment
#11BMW$41B1%Automotive
#12IBM$40B-6%Business Services
#13Intel40B-7%Technology
#14Facebook$40B-12%Technology
#15Cisco$35B3%Business Services
#16Nike$32B7%Retail
#17Louis Vuitton$32B14%Retail
#18Oracle$26B1%Business Services
#19General Electric$25B22%Diversified
#20SAP$25B10%Business Services
#21Honda$24B3%Automotive
#22Chanel$22B11%Retail
#23American Express$22B13%Technology
#24Pepsi$20B-1%Beverages
#25J.P Morgan$19B8%Finance
#26Ikea$18B5%Retail
#27UPS$18B7%Logistics
#28Hermes$18B9%Retail
#29Zara$17B-3%Retail
#30H&M$16B-3%Retail
#31Accenture$16B14%Business Services
#32Budweiser$16B3%Alcohol
#33Gucci$16B23%Retail
#34Pampers$16B-5%FMCG
#35Ford$14B2%Automotive
#36Hyundai$14B5%Automotive
#37Gillette$14B-18%FMCG
#38Nescafe$14B4%Beverages
#39Adobe$13B20%Technology
#40Volkswagen$13B6%Automotive
#41Citi$13B10%Financial Services
#42Audi$13B4%Automotive
#43Allianz$12B12%Insurance
#44ebay$12B-8%
#45Adidas$12B11%Fashion
#46Axa$12B6%Insurance
#47HSBC$12B5%Finance
#48Starbucks$12B23%Restaurants
#49Philips$12B-4%Electronics
#50Porsche$12B9%Automotive
#51L’oreal$11B4%FMCG
#52Nissan$11B-6%Automotive
#53Goldman Sachs$11B-4%Finance
#54Hewlett Packard$11B4%Technology
#55Visa$11B19%Technology
#56Sony$10B13%Technology
#57Kelloggs$10B-2%FMCG
#58Siemens$10B1%Technology
#59Danone$10B4%FMCG
#60Nestle$9B7%Beverages
#61Canon$9B-9%Technology
#62Mastercard$9B25%Technology
#63Dell Technologies$9BNewTechnology
#643M$9B-1%Technology
#65Netflix$9B10%Entertainment
#66Colgate$9B2%FMCG
#67Santander$8B13%Finance
#68Cartier$8B7%Luxury
#69Morgan Stanley$8B-7%Finance
#70Salesforce$8B24%Technology
#71Hewlett Packard Enterprise$8B-3%Technology
#72PayPal$8B15%Technology
#73FedEx$7B2%Logistics
#74Huawei$7B-9%Technology
#75Lego$7B5%FMCG
#76Caterpillar$7B19%Diversified
#77Ferrari$6B12%Automotive
#78Kia$6B-7%Automotive
#79Corona$6B15%Alcohol
#80Jack Daniels$6B13%Alcohol
#81Panasonic$6B-2%Technology
#82Dior$6B16%Fashion
#83DHL$6B2%Logistics
#84John Deere$6B9%Diversified
#85Land Rover$6B-6%Automotive
#86Johnson & Johnson$6B-8%Retail
#87Uber$6BNewTechnology
#88Heineken$5,6264%Alcohol
#89Nintendo$6B18%Entertainment
#90MINI$5B5%Automotive
#91Discovery$5B-4%Entertainment
#92Spotify$5B7%Technology
#93KFC$5B1%Restaurants
#94Tiffany & Co$5B-5%Fashion
#95Hennessy$5B12%Alcohol
#96Burberry$5B4%Fashion
#97Shell$5B-3%Energy
#98LinkedIn$5BNewTechnology
#99Harley Davidson$5B-7%Automotive
#100Prada$5B-1%Fashion

Since 2001—the first year the report featured 100 brands—several tech companies have joined and climbed their way to the top of the list, while 137 notable brands dropped off entirely, including Nokia and MTV.

In an interesting turn of events, Facebook dropped out of the top 10, and into 14th place after a volatile year. The move however, is not surprising. The tech giant has been mired in controversies, ranging from data privacy issues to prioritizing political influence.

Which Brands Are Growing the Fastest?

2019’s fastest growing brands also signals tech domination, with Mastercard, Salesforce and Amazon leading the charge.

The companies in this ranking experienced a significant increase in their brand value year-over-year (YoY).

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)YoY Growth
#1Mastercard$9B25%
#2Salesforce$8B24%
#3Amazon$125B24%
#4Gucci$16B23%
#5Starbucks$12B23%
#6Adobe$13B20%
#7Visa$11B19%
#8Caterpillar$7B19%
#9Nintendo$5B18%
#10Microsoft$109B17%

According to Interbrand, the success of these brands may be attributed to their ability to anticipate rapidly changing customer expectations.

While the relationship between business performance and brand equity has been a widely debated topic for decades, it is clear that customer satisfaction bolsters brand equity, and encourages impressive financial results.

Disrupt, or Be Disrupted

Beyond anticipating changing needs, some of the most successful brands also cater to a younger customer base. This is the most evident in luxury and retail—the two fastest growing sectors for the second consecutive year.

This audience is tech-first in their buying habits and increasingly demand more elevated and shareable experiences. As a result, traditional brands across all sectors are innovating to keep up with this audience, and some are essentially becoming tech companies in the process.

For example, Gucci attributes their success to finding the perfect blend between creativity and technology. The company that once relied on its heritage, now focuses heavily on ecommerce and social media to engage with their Gen Z customers.

Similarly, Walmart recently announced that they are employing virtual reality headsets and machine-learning-powered robots in an attempt to compete with Amazon.

Will traditional companies ultimately become tech companies, or simply get eaten alive?

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