Google's Kate Herbert Talks Ad Trading, RTB, Liquidity, And Brand Safety On The New DoubleClick Ad Exchange

The latest and improved version of the DoubleClick Ad Exchange has been drawing some of Europe’s leading premium publishers to the new platform since it re-launched two months ago. Although still in its early days here in Europe, there are signs that publishers are beginning to see the benefits of trading inventory on the new Ad Exchange. FarneyMedia caught up with Kate Herbert, Senior Manager of AdX Global Services, last week to discuss the latest DoubleClick platform, exchange liquidity, brand safety and the state of the European exchange marketplace.

– Can you explain how display advertising is traded on the Ad Exchange platform?

The Ad Exchange is a platform that connects the biggest sellers of online advertising with the ad network community.

The Ad Exchange allows network buyers to purchase desired inventory at the price they want, to maximize ROI across the largest pool of inventory. Other buyers, such as direct advertisers, have access to the Ad Exchange Inventory through Google AdWords.

For sellers that want to work with multiple networks, DoubleClick Ad Exchange offers a yield management solution that gives you the control you want with the simplified ad ops management you need. Publishers can also access Ad Exchange media spend through Google AdSense.

– How does the DoubleClick Ad Exchange benefit publishers?

There are many benefits but the key positives for sellers include:

– Real-time dynamic allocation to maximize yield. Publishers can automatically generate the highest return for every impression, using real-time data and bids to allocate ad space to the sales channel that pays the most at that second.
– Access to many more advertisers. The Ad Exchange offers publishers access to new buyers, including AdWords advertisers, bringing higher quality ads and more competition for ad space on their sites.
– Hassle-free payments managed by Google. We manage the billing and payments from networks so publishers get one monthly payment and minimize having to manage multiple relationships.
– Greater controls. Publishers can decide what advertisers, networks, ad formats, and bid types to allow.
– New easy to use interface with enhanced reporting. We use the simplicity of Google’s user design principles to help publishers easily find out how their sites are performing, to help them make the right decisions about their ad space.

– How does the platform benefit media buyers?

The key benefits for those on the buy-side include the following:

– Access to more publishers and more ad space. Hundreds of thousands of AdSense publisher sites are now available on the Ad Exchange to Google-certified ad networks. And as more publishers join the Ad Exchange to take advantage of its yield management capabilities, more high quality inventory is being added all the time.
– Real-time bidder. The Ad Exchange has a new real-time bidder feature that allows buyers to use their own data, optimization and ad serving technologies to bid on their desired inventory on an impression-by-impression basis, choosing only the sites, audiences, or particular type of ad space they want to reach.
– New easy to use interface with enhanced buyer reporting capabilities. Redesigned reports are simple to use and understand, so buyers can easily see how their campaigns are performing to help them make the right decisions.
– More control and precision. Buyers control where their ads appear and don’t appear. They can use frequency capping, pacing and other features to precisely control ad delivery.
– Centralized clearing system. Google makes all payments to publishers, reducing complexity with a single billing and payment point. Buyers benefit from managing one business relationship instead of many.
– A new API – Ad networks and agency networks will have access to an API which enables them to integrate their own functionality and systems when working with the Ad Exchange.

– What differentiates your exchange from other European trading marketplaces?

Google doesn’t comment on specific competitors. The European market is a very dynamic area with a great competitive landscape. The DoubleClick Ad Exchange promises to provide a global ad marketplace that will make buying and selling of display ad inventory easier and more competitive.

– How is Google ensuring that there is adequate liquidity in its exchange?

The DoubleClick Ad Exchange is one of the most liquid marketplaces, reaching millions of unique users a month. As an open exchange, we’re continually growing and expect to be the most comprehensive trading platform available.

– Given the scale of the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, are there opportunities for European publishers to monetize their international traffic?

Absolutely. The DoubleClick Ad Exchange offers publisher clients the ability to have multiple ad networks compete for their inventory. Given the scope of the Ad Exchange, a common use case of the Ad Exchange is for networks to buy inventory in their local area. This allows sellers to leverage these sales opportunities in areas where they do not have a local sales force present.

– How does DoubleClick Ad Exchange ensure brand safety? Can you help safeguard against inappropriate ads appearing on a publisher’s site?

Ad Exchange offers multiple levels of protection against inappropriate and/or undesirable ads showing on a publisher’s website. All advertisers must adhere to a policy which prohibits several categories of undesirable ads. Ads submitted by advertisers are reviewed by an ad approvals team, and once approved, publishers have the opportunity to view & approve ads before running on their sites. In addition, third party ad calls are continuously monitored to check for malware.

Is there a minimum volume of ad inventory you are required to trade every month – or can you sell ad impressions on an ad-hoc basis?

There are no minimum inventory requirements for publishers working with Ad Exchange. We leave the control up to the publisher to decide when, what and how much inventory they want to make available to Ad Exchange.

– The new trading platform has RTB (Real Time Bidding) capabilities. Are there many buyers in Europe using RTB?

We have a number of buyers globally currently using our Real-Time Bidder capability with Ad Exchange. Over the next few months, we anticipate the majority of Ad Exchange buyers will take advantage of the Real-time bidder.

– How would you sell the benefits of RTB to traders on the buy and sell side of the DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

The Real-time Bidder (RTB) component of Ad Exchange lets buyers use their own data, such as interest-based targeting or re-targeting, to help determine their bid for each impression. Traditional approaches to yield management attempt to estimate the buyer that will provide the highest yield, these are being supplemented with real-time bidding information. Ad Exchange has a superior return for our buyers because RTB allows the buyer to decide what they are willing to pay for a particular impression. The buyer will only pay the value of the next highest bid in the auction process. Working with our auction, RTB provides a more transparent and straightforward approach for buyers that will provide them higher ROI. RTB also provides buyers with an optional cookie matching service, allowing them to take data that they have collected and stored in their own cookie space and use it on the Ad Exchange with the Real-time Bidder.

The Real-time bidder has significant benefits for our seller customers. Buyers have the ability to leverage their own data and targeting with RTB, allowing them to better optimize their bids, driving higher yields for our sellers. The majority of Ad Exchange buyers are using RTB, increasing competition and thus yields for sellers. Sellers should see minimal latency in the system because RTB helps avoid one more more redirects and evaluates multiple buyers in parallel.

– What are the technical criteria for ad networks, DSPs and publishers to buy and sell on the exchange? Do they have to be using DFA and DFP to trade ad inventory?

Both buyers and sellers must adhere to the Google Ad Exchange Technical and Editorial Policies. Networks and Publishers can use any Google Certified Ad Technology to trade ad inventory.

– Are premium publishers beginning to view the exchange model as an efficient channel to sell unsold ad inventory?

Publishers are now more familiar with the concept of ad exchanges and understands the potential benefits of this efficient sales channel. More and more publisher are open to testing the exchange on a portion of their inventory. We see this as a necessary step greater adoption across EMEA.