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From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

Google Approaches Online Safety with “The Tech Talk”

Finalist in Family and Parenting

Audience Honor in Family and Parenting

About this entry

When you hear the phrase, “Safer Internet Day,” you might automatically want to skip to the next thing. It’s not the sexiest day. Or even the most fun to talk about, let alone support with an influencer marketing campaign. But with a larger moment happening for Google around Safer Internet Day, the Kids and Families team was tasked with showing up for the third year running to drive awareness and engagement around Google’s Be Internet Awesome program. Our challenge? Stop the scroll and engage parents. How do we leverage the“Safer Internet Day” moment to create conversation that is helpful in nature? How do we position these resources as an easy approach to help as many parents and families tackle internet safety at home?

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Building off of our 2020 Safer Internet Day campaign encouraging parents to have the “tech talk,” we continued with the narrative, finding that it was sticky. As with the *other* talk, parents perked up, realizing that internet safety is actually a really important reason to sit the kids down. This talk is significantly less awkward considering it has no script (or puzzling metaphors), and it's not a talk that millennial parents received as kids themselves…naturally leaving some question marks on how to best approach the subject. Our core strategy was to guide parents, giving them space and tools to keep the talk deeply personal and reflect different values, rules and approaches that make sense for their family. 

In 2020, we saw the strongest results on Instagram and YouTube, so in 2021, we focused our efforts there. With the concept of the “tech talk” as our creative angle, we left it up to each of our 26 partners to take Google’s Be Internet Awesome resources and design the content in their unique direction with a goal of connecting with their audience to encourage link clicks and conversation. 

For consistency across the campaign, each partner posed the question, “have you had the tech talk?” to open up the conversation. In doing so, we encouraged parents in their communities to confide and converse about where they are with the tech journey with their kids, building value for other followers with authentic and actionable content around how to approach the topics of internet safety and digital wellbeing. To ensure we didn’t lose people to such a dry subject, we asked that partners keep the content upbeat and show that we’re all in it together to create a safer internet for the next generation… even if that means sharing moments like your kid sharing a picture of you with no pants on to the entire extended family as an online privacy teaching moment. 


Parents on Instagram rely on the creators they follow to share guidance on how to be the best version of themselves in their quest to raise happy, self-sufficient little people. Looking to stop parents in their scroll, we did just that as we introduced new audiences to the idea of the tech talk - the solution to how to (do your best) to keep your kids safe online. The campaign proved its success with an all time high campaign SOV of 42% (audience comments referencing the campaign) showing us that this angle was something families found valuable. The high engagement showed us that there are not enough people being given the resources to start these conversations, and that we were able to position internet safety as an important family discussion, as well as provide helpful resources to kickstart those conversations to do just that. 

The quality of conversation further proved that, with comments mainly falling within three categories: 

  1. Praise for talking about online safety & safer internet practices;

  2. Excitement around Be Internet Awesome & free online internet resources;

  3. An openness to talk about their situations, opinions, & journey with their kids. 

We increased actual IG impressions by 8% and link clicks by 30% from our 2020 benchmarks. Partners were spot on in creating content that felt “Google-y” in nature: colorful, upbeat, and helpful, showcasing different perspectives and approaches. 

Additionally, our overall partner makeup not only exceeded the 2020 US Census numbers for diversity but also saw an increase YoY (+2% Black Partners, +5% AAPI Partners) to ensure that as many families as possible could see themselves represented within the content.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Anchor, Google


Entry Credits