About four months after Google got the regulatory go-ahead for its estimated $400 million acquisition of supply platform Admeld, the search giant has unveiled the first phase of the two companies' integration.
Over the next few weeks, Google will be rolling out AdX Connect, which represents the full immersion of Admeld's clients to the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. Speaking at the client-only Admeld forum this morning, Neal Mohan, Google’s VP of display advertising, also said that the advertiser, buyer, and bid transparency levels in the exchange would be improved, so that they are comparable with those currently provided to Admeld publishers.
In a phone briefing with AdExchanger, Mohan described this as an important step for the two entities and for Google's growing display business. In particular, this is the first phase of what Mohan said will be a seamless platform around display tools for publishers and advertisers. "We want to move away from a world where there’s the ad exchange and then there’s Admeld," Mohan said. "Over time, those products are going to come together. You’ll see a seamless product that should be the best yield management tool for publishers."
"That's several months off, of course, and involves a tremendous amount of integration work in terms of Google’s and Admeld’s existing technology," he added. "But in having this unified product, that doesn’t just mean taking the best functionality from Ad Ex and putting it in Admeld and vice versa – though, of course, that’s part of it. What I mean is that it should apply to all channels, all formats as well. It should work not just for desktop display, but for publishers’ video inventory, mobile inventory. If you are a publisher, you should just be able to go to this one unified product and manage all of your yield in one spot."
DoubleClick for Publishers will remain the overall revenue management platform for content sites, Mohan added, and it will still be primarily focused on the direct sales aspect of the business. That said, it is intended to work very closely with the all-encompassing yield management product Google is developing with Admeld. "That unified product will be the SSP/yield management component of the overall DFP suite." Mohan said.
He didn't say how many current Admeld publishers currently avail themselves of DoubleClick AdX. But he said that it would definitely mean a great deal more inventory that will raise CPMs, and thereby help erase publishers lingering fears of seeing their direct digital ad sales cannibalized by the exchange model.
"The general benefit is simply, with substantially more demand from advertisers, comes higher yields for publishers," Mohan said. "At the moment, there’s no more advertiser demand competing for that inventory, because it isn't being offered."
That remains to be seen, but advertisers are certainly eager to access more premium inventory. The argument has been, generally, that if publishers don't find the lift they're looking for, the inventory will not materialize.
"As publishers discover what audience buying and data-driven buying can do for their revenues, nothing speaks better than that," Mohan said. "We did a study on the ad exchange a few months ago that showed when publishers make their inventory available on the ad exchange, many of them see a lift of up to 188 percent in revenue. No amount of talking an explaining can do better than showing the money."
Separately, Google also announced two changes in the way advertisers buy display through AdWords. One is a new UI that brings all of the AdWords display-buying tools together on a single screen, replacing the four separate places advertisers would have had to go to to start running a campaign in the past. The second involved an overhaul to its contextual targeting engine ever, which will allow display buyers to bid and optimize campaigns at the keyword level - something that was only previously available in search.
"The concept there is that this is a pretty significant update to the functionality of our Google Display Network," Mohan said. "The idea is that advertisers on the network can use contextually targeted keywords, they can use audience based buying and direct website placements. Specifically for the contextual portion, which is the largest way advertisers buy the Google Display Network, we’ve made it so the level of refinement and granularity that advertisers can employ, can get down to a more precise definition for the types of inventory that they’re looking to buy.
"We’ve also made it so that advertisers who have worked with us predominately through search, using keywords on our display network is now much more intuitive," he continued. "We think it will make a big impact in terms of performance over the next several months."
By David Kaplan