Google announced this week that it is releasing tools to allow publishers to do native audience extension. This represents an interesting change of strategy from Google, as it will allow premium pubs both to scale and build out a Publisher Trading Desk without any third party tech. It is likely that Google will soon offer DFP publishers the option to execute audience extension strategies outside of Google-run inventory using Bid Manager, bringing the full end-to-end stack into play. ExchangeWire spoke with Neal Mohan, VP of Display Advertising and Jason Bigler, Director, Product Management about the new Google product release as well as the company’s wider display strategy in Europe (full interview below the ExchangeWire take on the native audience extension release).
On Tuesday at ExchangeWire’s global Ad Trading Summit in London, Google exclusively unveiled a new product launch, enabling publishers adopting DFP to perform native audience extension from the same workflow. Google just released what could be the killer PTD tool.
The release will initially only extend into Adx inventory which seems a bit of a missed opportunity, but you have to assume this is only until the tool is fully deployed.
Whilst this offers a seamless, streamlined solution for publishers, one must question whether the current methods of building audience segments in DFP right now is advanced enough to make this a compelling solution for advertisers? Current first party segments are developed by publishers using fairly basic methods: page visitation with recency qualifiers. Will advertisers want more than this?
Leaving the question of conflict to one side for now, it will be interesting to see what Google’s current agency trading desk clients make of this announcement. Will this solution enable publishers to sell to the same agencies that the current ATDs sell to within their respective groups? Does this create additional competition? Yes. It will also create additional density on the publishers monetising through Adx, so obviously a plus for Google here too.
Neal Mohan, VP of Display Advertising and Jason Bigler, Director, Product Management discuss the new audience extension product release as well as the wider Google strategy in the European display market.
How will this “audience extension” work technically? Is it a function built into DFP – with options for audience extension on the dashboard?
JB: Audience extension is indeed a new feature within DoubleClick for Publishers that allows publishers to purchase third party inventory directly from within the core ad server workflow via DoubleClick Ad Exchange. Within DFP, the process is simple – just create a DFP line item, enable it for audience extension, and the inventory is acquired according to your bid parameters and targeting.
Ultimately this will give publishers a single place to manage, execute and optimise buying across both their owned & operated and external inventory. Other key benefits include integrated data management as well as cross-inventory performance reporting & insights. DFP Audience Extension is designed to generate more revenue for publishers by expanding the amount of premium inventory they’re able to offer their brand partners.
What inventory will be available for audience extension? All inventory on Adx?
JB: Audience extension inventory comes from the vast pool of brand safe inventory via publishers on DoubleClick Ad Exchange. At launch this includes all inventory on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange and in the future, we’ll look at additional sources as well.
Are there plans to allow publishers to extend out to other supply sources that are not powered by the Google stack, like AppNexus and Rubicon? And will this be where Bid Manager is employed?
JB: Audience Extension is still in beta and we see this as an iterative process. We’ll be rolling out more functionality over the coming weeks and months which will include extending the supply and integrating Audience Extension with DoubleClick Bid Manager.
Do you think premium publishers have the means and the set-up to become traders or roll out functional Publisher Trading Desks?
JB: Many publishers are already functioning in this capacity. When it comes to DFP Audience extension, it is best suited to publishers with high value content channels within their inventory, or for example, those publishers with unique audiences onsite that have a value to advertisers beyond their own site. There are also publishers who are interested to use Audience Extension in order to scale their coverage of a particular geographic region and increase their value to advertisers.
What growth has Google seen from markets outside of the US? What does EMEA / APAC now represent as a % of your ad business?
NM: I’ve been in the digital media industry since the very early days and I have never seen a technology get adopted faster than programmatic buying / real time bidding. The reason is that it works – for publishers, advertisers and agencies – we all just see better results.
We are seeing tremendous growth on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange overall: spend has increased more than 130% year-over-year and the number of both buyers and sellers on the exchange has increased more than twofold over last year. A significant amount of this growth has come from EMEA countries.
Let’s not forget that the landscape differs greatly throughout EMEA. Internet access, mobile penetration, display advertising and programmatic trading are all at varying levels of maturity across Europe which makes it important to adopt a country-specific approach. The DoubleClick Ad Exchange has customers operating in 26 countries reaching consumers in over 200 countries. We work hard to offer in-market expertise and local service/support for our partners across European markets.
Google has done a good job of consolidating various solutions into one stack. In terms of the end to end platform solution, how many does the industry need / can support?
NM: What we heard from our customers again and again is that they wanted a single place that they could manage their various digital media campaigns and see how they work in concert. This was the vision behind the launch of DoubleClick Digital Marketing earlier this year. That said, we’ve also made our ‘stack’ open, so that our clients can continue to work with the tools and technologies that work best for their business. Similarly, we are continuing to build a comprehensive solution on the publisher side to give our publisher partners the control and flexibility their business requires.
We welcome competition as it helps to spur innovation and these advances will ultimately help to simplify the ad creation and buying process which will help both advertisers and publishers.
Regarding the publisher tools being developed, what sort of competitive advantage is being created by integrating Admeld into the DFP part of the business?
NM: Our vision is to provide a single integrated solution for publishers that allows them to manage all their inventory across formats – on desktop, video or mobile – whether directly or indirectly sold. We’ve said from the beginning that the goal of the Admeld acquisition was to bring together the best of their technology and ours in order to give our publisher partners more transparency and control. Over the past year you can see how this has played out: we announced we’d be letting Admeld publishers tap into Ad Exchange demand, that we’d be bringing Admeld style transparency to DFP and AdX, and we launched preferred deals, which brings together Admeld’s private exchange know how with the best of AdX.
Moving forward, you can expect to see this also play out across the desktop, mobile and video space where, for example, Admeld’s optimization capabilities will be more fluidly integrated with AdX and DFP.
What is the next iteration of the Doubleclick audience solution? What will Google’s DMP play look like? Does Google need DMP capability?
NM: Publishers are looking for increased control over their own data, which will help them get the most value from their inventory. We are working on tools to help them do this and at ATS we announced a new development for our publishers which we’re calling DFP Audience Extension.
Audience extension is a feature that allows publishers to reach their audience across other sites, bundle these impressions with their inventory, and resell those packages to advertisers at a premium. Audience extension inventory comes from the vast pool of brand safe inventory via publishers on DoubleClick Ad Exchange and publishers can access this without leaving DFP.
In terms of stack propositions emerging, do you think we could start seeing more strategic alliances (Rubicon / Smart Adserver, Adaptv / Mediamind)? Is ‘collaboration’ a viable stack strategy?
NM: As I’ve said, we see competition as the driver for innovation in our space. We believe an integrated proposition allows for greater efficiency, reduces discrepancies and improves performance for publishers and advertisers. However, we also believe that it’s important to remain open and give our partners the choice of utilising whatever the point solutions that work best for them.
How will Google work in an open ecosystem? How open will the stack be? How do you interoperate with other preferred point solutions?
NM: We strongly believe that an open ecosystem will help to simplify and grow display advertising. We’ve worked hard to develop an open system with APIs and SDKs and many clients have built entire business on the back of them. For example, we’ve had customers build their own trafficking and media planning systems that are fully integrated into DDM Manager, a number of third parties have integrated with the AdX real-time bidding API and we’ve had customers develop their own reporting solutions as well. Our aim will always be to empower our customers with solutions that best meet their needs and sometimes that means working with proprietary solutions.
The industry seems to be working towards ‘customisation’. How is Google enabling clients build differentiation in an increasingly undifferentiated space?
NM: We think it’s important for our clients to have choice, to use technology to solve their needs rather than try to mould their business to fit the technology. Clients can choose an integrated platform or utilise our best-in-breed products individually. It’s like a tool kit – you can take the whole box, or just pick out the one or two tools you need.
How can agency clients create distinct competitive advantage if they all use the same stack?
NM: Technology shouldn’t be the strategy. Technology should get out of the way and just ‘work’ so that agencies can define and pursue the strategies that will best serve their clients. This has been our goal, to create a best-in-class suite of ad tech solutions that do the heavy lifting on the tech side so that agencies can continue to work their magic – including custom insights, creative solutions, optimization capabilities, etc. that agencies are starting to build on top of our technology stack.ExchangeWire