Google To Offer More Data Insights To Pubs, Release Its Answer To Header Bidding In 2018

Google on Tuesday unveiled its Insights Engine Project – including six products for data visualization, integration and insights – and promised that exchange bidding will be generally available in early 2018. Read the release.

For the first time, Google, via an Insights Engine product, will give publishers the types of user demographic and content consumption information it’s been sharing with advertisers to buy targeted ads. The company announced the development at its Publisher Leadership Summit in Chicago.

The Insights Engine represents Google’s attempt to integrate its DoubleClick ad products with other Google tech, including machine learning, its data warehouse, BigQuery, and visualization tool, Data Studio.

DoubleClick connections with BigQuery and Data Studio are being beta tested. The goal is to allow publishers to consolidate their data assets into a single warehouse and use Data Studio for reporting. BigQuery is in open beta and Data Studio is in closed beta until early 2018.

“You have all this data about the queries that come in, and this is the ability to get a large-scale export of that data into a cloud system they can query with SQL,” Jonathan Bellack, Google's director of product, said at a press roundtable.

Publishers like Vice, The New York Times and Hearst, which are already using it, won’t have to worry about onboarding massive files.

Of course, giving a bunch of data to Google isn’t always at the top of a publisher’s to-do list.

But Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce, said DoubleClick's integration with BigQuery is an enterprise product, so there shouldn’t be any fears around data leakage.

“It’s the same governance when a company puts their email on Google,” he said. “It cannot be used by other teams. There are very tight controls.”

Two other Insight Engine products – Insight Cards and new forecasting capabilities – are “coming soon.”

Insight Cards are “conceptually very similar” to the insights pubs pull from Google Analytics, said Bellack. However, Insight Cards are powered by machine learning and focused on ad-related information and trends, such as a decline in traffic and potential causes. The forecasting product will make predictions, such as areas of expected revenue growth.

Google expects to make both components generally available later this quarter.

Finally, Google is undergoing limited tests with the last two components of Insights Engine: Audience Insights Report and Audience Insights in Programmatic Deals.

The Insights Report will give publisher partners aggregated insights into user demographics like age and gender and the types of content people are consuming. Audience Insights in Programmatic Deals connects that data to DoubleClick Bid Manager. Basically, it’s a way to make audiences more valuable.

If this sounds like a TV-type solution, that’s intentional. Google hopes to attract broadcasters entering digital and online publishers that are pushing out more video.

While Google shares insights for advertisers to buy targeted ads, Bellack said, this is the first time it’s sharing this data with its publisher partners. The data comes from users who consent to share their information for more relevant ad experiences.

“With these tests, we’re not asking for anything new from publishers,” Bellack said. “It’s a test of sharing things, not asking publishers to give us anything new.”

Exchange Bidding Lives!

Google also said Exchange Bidding – which used to be called Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation – will be generally available in early 2018. Exchange Bidding is Google’s answer to the header bidding craze that emerged in recent years – a trend that took away Google’s priority in the waterfall.

But unlike header bidding, which requires each website owner to place a tag for each exchange on their page, Exchange Bidding is server-side. While a server-side solution has numerous advantages, there is also the danger of reduced match rates because the server-side solution must match with tags on a website owner’s page.

Lower match rates reduce revenue – and that’s a problem some publishers said plagued Exchange Bidding.

But Bellack begs to differ. “Match rates were never a problem for the partners we were working on actively,” he said. “Multiple exchanges could conduct businesses successfully. We never experienced a point where it was unacceptable and it suddenly became acceptable.”

As of now, Bellack said Google is mostly fine-tuning Exchange Bidding and adding new publishers.

 

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