On Monday, Google announced the acquisition of Admeld, a sell-side platform which includes RTB'd inventory, real-time bidded tools for publishers and a list of big brand publisher clients. Read yesterday's coverage.
We asked a selection of ad industry participants their views on the following question:
"What's your take on Google's acquisition of AdMeld?"
Click below or scroll down for more:
- Jeff Green, CEO, The Trade Desk
- Matt Barash, VP & Ad Director, Forbes
- Kurt Unkel, SVP of VivaKi Nerve Center (Publicis)
- Tim Cadogan, CEO, OpenX Technologies, Inc.
- Eric Franchi, co-founder and SVP Business Development, Undertone
- Marc Kiven, Founder & CRO, BrightTag
- Brendan Moorcroft, CEO, Cadreon (IPG Mediabrands)
- Arthur F. Muldoon, Co-founder & CEO, Accordant Media
- Frank Addante, CEO and co-founder of the Rubicon Project
- Frost Prioleau, CEO, Simpli.fi
- Darren Kelly, Chief Revenue Officer, Photobucket
Jeff Green, CEO, The Trade Desk
"Google has been a great partner. Ad Meld has been a great partner. Clearly as a result of this acquisition, Google becomes a more important partner for The Trade Desk and the ecosystem.
While I do worry about too much concentration of supply and demand around Google--so long as a substantial and market moving amount of display supply and demand exists outside of Google, the spot market dynamics continue to favor the end buyers and end sellers (advertisers and publishers) and put pressure on those in the middle.
This certainly signals to the digital advertising world (for any of you that have been missing it) that RTB is the future and Google is serious about display."
"Since word of the acquisition first emerged late last week, there's been a lot of talk that the deal was driven by RTB capabilities, access to publisher relationships and the liquidity those suppliers represent as an incremental addition to the existing flow through AdX, all of which provide valid rationale for Google's investment. But what I find most interesting and least top of mind for many of those watching from the sidelines would be the benefits of improved workflow. Programmatic buying is a nascent means of transacting in the digital arena, and is a minor yet growing influence in the way publishers and advertisers transact. Admeld brings tremendous workflow efficiency to Google in an increased effort to eliminate traditional IO's and a renewed spirit of on the fly innovation, while they continue to focus their display efforts on an end to end solution. I think it will be interesting to see how Rubicon and Pubmatic look to solve the workflow challenge as independent operations in a sandbox where allegiances and partnerships often make for the most unlikely of bedfellows."
"From a buyer’s perspective, I don’t think the purchase makes a substantial difference to an end Advertiser in near term. The trajectory we’ve been on with Admeld and their Publisher base to transact in a more automated fashion will undoubtedly continue. Also, with that being either an open-auction or pre-negotiated floors, our clients should see no pricing changes.
From a publisher’s perspective, I have to believe this will address several of the challenges related to transparency and tighter inventory controls that were frustrating to AdX and DFP publishers. And this in turn should drive up adoption of the solution amongst Publishers who to date have held back. Kudos to Google for listening to their customers. Looking forward to seeing the marketplace response – and I don’t mean the endless postings from the usual suspects who seem to have a lot of free time, but a real wave of consolidation so that we can get to scaling efficiencies in workflow that much faster and growing the overall digital pie together."
Tim Cadogan, CEO, OpenX Technologies, Inc.
First, this is obviously another major step in industry consolidation as Google adds another piece to its integrated value chain approach. That plays both ways: better for people who like everything in one package; worse for people concerned about Google encirclement and dominance. Second, it shows (again) that Google is not omnipotent. Doubleclick is the ad server for most of Admeld's clients and Doubleclick also has an ad exchange to help with non-guaranteed optimization. But Admeld was able to win those clients and evidently Google felt it had to buy Admeld to win them back. That indicates that alternative value propositions to Google's have an important place in the market.
Going forward, I'm very intrigued as to how the AdX system, the Admeld RTB system, the Admeld mediation layer - and maybe even the Invite DSP - will be all integrated. Or what will just be terminated. Also, how defensible will the asset be? Switching from one yield optimizer to another is easy. It’s just an ad tag. The speed with which Admeld was able to take clients from Rubicon and others is the clearest evidence of that. Plus many publishers now use more than one exchange / yield optimization solution. Last question: can Google hold onto the talent? A big part of Admeld’s value is Michael, Ben, Brian, Jason etc. Sure, Google’s great, but nothing beats building your own company. Look how long the Admob guys stuck around . . .
Eric Franchi, co-founder and SVP Business Development, Undertone
"The Admeld acquisition is interesting on a few fronts. First, an acquisition like this – particularly given the reported price and valuation – highlights the central role display plays, and will continue to play, in digital advertising. Second, given Admeld’s high caliber publisher relationships, it highlights the importance of quality, something Undertone is certainly pleased to see given we’ve been focused on quality longer than anyone else in the space.
Is this acquisition about RTB or a strategic move to bring premium publishers and their inventory deeper into the Google fold? It’s both. Admeld certainly brings significant RTB scale and technology to the table. Premium publishers, many of whom already work with Google via DFP, currently use Admeld primarily for yield optimization and secondarily for RTB. Clearly, there is an opportunity to create an integrated sell-side platform that spans inventory management, optimization and programmatic monetization.
The question is: will publishers go along for the ride? Given the power that this will give Google in display, and the very valid concerns that many have over programmatic buying, it is not a foregone conclusion. One thing is certain: non-Google partners who can address the needs of these publishers are in a great position."
Marc Kiven, Founder & CRO, BrightTag
This is probably one of the most important acquisition that Google has made to-date. This gives Google a unified stack for automating both sides of the ad transaction. With AdMeld, Google can accelerate not only adoption of RTB, but also can provide direct access to "premium audience" inventory that publishers are starting to make more readily available. To this point, it will be interesting to see how large publishers that are currently on AdMeld's platform react to this, particularly as their data further helps power Google's comprehensive media/data platform."
"The news of Google’s acquisition of AdMeld represents both a really exciting and yet another critical turning point in the rapidly evolving digital technology landscape. AdMeld has developed a comprehensive suite of services and established strong relationships with premier media companies, allowing them to provision premium inventory into the biddable media environment in a meaningful way. Their offering embodies the perfect complement to Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which has created an efficient mechanism for advanced digital media transactions.
As a result, through Google we now have even greater access to a wider and more diverse set of inventory, resulting in a richer array of opportunities for digital campaigns to take advantage of. This acquisition is great news for the industry and is proof that our space will continue to have aggressive, compound growth for the next several years."
Arthur F. Muldoon, Co-founder & CEO, Accordant Media
"Google continues to send clear signals that it is committed to invigorating the biddable display, video and mobile media marketplace to power its future growth. From acquiring AdMeld on the supply side and Invite Media on the demand side, to operating the largest ad exchange and other digital media platforms, to making bold forecasts about the potential size and adoption rates of biddable media, Google is moving with alacrity to operate an ecosystem comprised of universal platforms.
Over the past 12 months, AdMeld has certainly distinguished itself as a leader among the nascent 'SSP' category. We've loved working with them. They deserve credit for bringing premium buyers and sellers together on behalf of the sell-side, facilitating transactions and instilling greater trust and confidence among all industry participants.
While this transaction should enhance each company's positioning and Google's share of inventory supply and transaction volume, the deal by itself does not necessarily create a new stranglehold for Google. The biddable media market is much more complicated than search given the numerous supply sources, tactic and variety of value-added participants.
The game isn't over. Hopefully, any temporary shrinkage in RTB inventory access caused by the Google-AdMeld deal will be a wake-up call to the rest of the industry to step up the quality and quantity of their inventory. That effect would accelerate the growth of supply and demand systems, and a more transparent, dynamic and enhanced marketplace would evolve for all."
Frank Addante, CEO and co-founder of the Rubicon Project
"the Rubicon Project and Admeld used to be in the same business. We have remained committed to our vision of providing a platform that is designed to benefit publishers, and an open transparent market. Admeld veered off to being mostly an RTB arbitrageur, buying inventory at low prices from publishers and selling it for higher prices to advertisers while keeping the spread for themselves – without giving any transparency into this practice to publishers. This is bad for publishers because they lose revenue and face new channel conflict. This is very similar to how Google used DoubleClick to get first look at the impression and then arbitrage publisher’s inventory through Google AdEx. This acquisition and this type of business model is good for Google, but bad for publishers.
Google has struggled to get mass adoption with the top 500 publishers because their interests are not aligned, and sometimes competitive, with the publisher. Further, Google is a closed market that directly competes with many of the most important demand buyers (DSPs, ad networks, exchanges and other mega portals) which do not participate in Google’s closed market, but do participate in the open market powered by the Rubicon Project’s REVV platform. REVV, the Rubicon Project’s Yield Optimization platform, is more than three times the size of its closest competitors. REVV is trusted by 500+ premium publishers, including more than 80 of the Comscore 500. Each month, REVV processes 100+ billion impressions and 300 billion real-time-bids, reaching 565M unique users worldwide.
We, at the Rubicon Project, feel so strongly that this is bad for publishers and the open market that we’re offering all existing AdMeld customers 90 days of free service."
Frost Prioleau, CEO, Simpli.fi
"Google's acquisition of AdMeld makes total sense given the momentum of real time bidding across all classes of inventory.
This transaction is the sequel of Google's acquisition of Invite. Just as Google's acquisition of Invite strengthened Google's RTB capabilities for advertisers/DFA clients, their acquisition of AdMeld strengthens Google's RTB capabilities for publishers/DFP clients. Google had been talking up DFP's yield optimization capabilities, and AdMeld will definitely give those capabilities a boost.
As an RTB platform that is buying inventory for search retargeting campaigns on both AdX and AdMeld, we at Simpli.fi are looking forward to hearing more..."
Darren Kelly, Chief Revenue Officer, Photobucket
"We've worked closely with both the Google and AdMeld teams for a long time. There is some serious brain-power coming together here with this deal which can only be good for web publishers and the display advertising industry. I think this will accelerate innovation and lead to great new advertising options for both publishers and advertisers."
By John Ebbert