Reimagining the future of buying and selling ads online

We’re in the midst of an online advertising revolution that makes the consumer the center of all we do—with creative tools to make ads that don’t just inform but inspire and dazzle, and measurement frameworks that go beyond clicks to drive real emotional engagement. The next step is to look beyond the ads themselves and reimagine the entire system of buying and selling ads online in a way that puts users first. Today, at our DoubleClick Insights conference, we’re gathering with our closest customers to discuss how we can partner to accomplish this and to unveil some tools for advertisers and publishers that we think will help us all reach this goal.

In particular, we’re introducing DoubleClick Digital Marketing: the first modern ad platform built for the modern digital world. You can read the details on the DoubleClick Advertiser blog, or watch live. This represents the biggest overhaul ever of our DoubleClick ad platform, used by agencies and large advertisers around the globe for digital media buying. One of the central challenges we’re looking to solve with this effort is that digital marketing is still incredibly complex—with marketers juggling multiple systems to manage their different digital efforts across banner ads, paid search campaigns, mobile ads, online video and measurement using systems that don’t talk to one another. We think of this a bit like an old school ‘90’s stereo system, with separate CD, cassette and radio players and a mess of wires in the back. What we want to provide to our partners should be more like the intuitive, powerful smartphones we carry in our pockets today—which not only play all our favorite music, but take pictures, keep our schedules and more.

Towards this end, DoubleClick Digital Marketing will weave together the technologies that buyers currently use to plan, manage, schedule, deliver and measure their online buys in a way we think will not only help them work smarter and faster, but ultimately be more responsive to their customers and deliver better ads.

For our publisher partners, our focus continues to be on bringing together the best of our products, and those of Admeld, the publisher technology company we acquired last year. So we're announcing some new tools to give publishers greater transparency into their businesses and better ways to work with their partners, for example a new Market View on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange that gives them the big picture of what’s happening across the exchange, rather than just their own performance. We think that ultimately, by empowering publishers’ growth and success and enabling them to continue funding great online content, everyone wins.

For more details on our announcements today, be sure to check out our DoubleClick Advertiser and DoubleClick Publisher blogs throughout the week, or tune in to the live stream of DoubleClick Insights, from 9am-1pm PT today, June 5.

Think Insights now includes research from 21 countries

Whether you’re a marketer in Milan or a planner in Pretoria, you can now get your hands on more Google research and tools to help you better understand your audience and how consumer behavior is changing. Our Think Insights website has just expanded to cover 21 different countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Think Insights can help you understand your customers better, develop your digital strategy, find data to support a business case, stay on top of the latest consumer and industry trends and get insights directly from industry thought leaders. Here are just a few examples of what you can do on the updated site:
  • Access our research library of studies and whitepapers from across 21 different countries. You can search for research by country, sector, marketing objective or media type.
  • Use the Insights MENA tool to explore the media habits of consumers in the Middle East and North Africa, or do the same for consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa with our Insights Africa tool.
  • Watch new videos on the consumer journey, with information on behaviors such as “research online, purchase offline” (ROPO).

Visit Think Insights to see how the site can help you, and follow Think with Google on Google+ for ongoing updates.

Making the web work for major brands

In the 1950s, major brand marketers, like movie studios and consumer goods companies, embraced television, helping spark a multi-billion dollar industry—and the beginning of TV’s golden age.

One reason these brands invested in TV was the emergence of new measurement tools, like TV ratings and market research, that helped show which ads were reaching the right audiences and having a positive impact.

Measurability is already at the heart of digital advertising—every second, businesses rely on insights from products like Google Analytics and Google AdWords to help them grow.

But major brands are interested in things like “brand recall” (such as whether consumers remember the name of your cereal), and “brand favorability” (whether they think positively about it), rather than just clicks and online sales. The metrics that the online advertising industry uses today aren’t always equipped to tell that fuller story. Many brands scramble together metrics like clicks, ad impressions, and numerous tools and measurement solutions, trying to make sense of them and—some time later—acting upon the insights they can glean.

The lack of these actionable, truly useful metrics is a key reason that many major brands have been cautious in embracing digital advertising over the past decade, even as high-quality content and millions of users have moved online.

We think that a new generation of measurement solutions will help brands quantify the benefits of investing online and will help to fund the next generation of great online content and services.

Today at the Ad Age Digital Conference we’re introducing the Brand Activate initiative, a new effort to re-imagine online measurement for brand marketers and—crucially—to help brands turn measurement into action, immediately. We're working with the industry and supporting the IAB's Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) coalition on this project.

We believe that the industry’s significant investment in these areas can substantially grow the online advertising pie, help major brands invest for growth, and fund new digital content and services.

Read all the details about this initiative, and the first solutions (Active GRP and Active View) on our Agency blog.

Take a walk on the sell-side

In June, we announced that we are acquiring Admeld, a New York-based company that helps large publishers (also known as the “sell-side” by people, like me, who live and breathe display advertising) maximize their revenues from online advertising. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today cleared this deal. We’ll close the acquisition in the coming days and then start the real work—building improved products and services that help our publisher partners to make more informed decisions across all their ad space, and to grow their revenues.

The opportunity for major online publishers is huge...and growing. People are spending more and more time consuming online content across numerous devices, advertisers are running more online and mobile campaigns to reach them; and ads continue to get more engaging and relevant. This represents an unprecedented moment for publishers. We believe that improved technology and services can help publishers seize it and make online advertising work much better.

For now, it’s business as usual—Admeld’s products will operate separately to Google’s existing solutions (such as DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange). But over time, there are opportunities to bring the best of both businesses together in a variety of ways; and to develop entirely new solutions, too.

As we do this, Admeld and Google are guided by some core shared beliefs:
  • We want to give publishers more control over their ad space, and offer more flexible ways to manage and sell it. Publishers’ businesses should influence the technology they use; not the other way around
  • We believe that publishers can make better decisions to maximize their revenues when they have better insights at their fingertips
  • We envisage a much simpler system that enables publishers to manage and sell their ad space—across desktop, video, mobile, tablets and more
The content produced by Google’s and Admeld’s publisher partners is the lifeblood of the Internet. We can’t wait to start building the next generation of tools and services that will help them grow their businesses.

Update December 6, 2011: Our acquisition of Admeld has now closed.

(Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)