Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Where Google Misses the Mark for Premium Publishers: Be Especially Wary of Your Mobile Display Inventory

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Where Google Misses the Mark for Premium Publishers: Be Especially Wary of Your Mobile Display Inventory

Article excerpt

I love Google. For the last dozen years, I have been a partner as well as competitor to Google. As a publisher, I was a long-time customer of syndicated Google search advertising as well as embedded, contextual text advertising.

Google is brilliant at serving and monetizing text advertising. These are solutions based on mapping scale of advertisers to scale of potential keywords, something no individual publisher can possibly replicate. The money generated from these placements is incremental and does not compete with the publishers' own direct efforts to sell a similar product.

Display is a different ballgame. While programmatic buying is surely challenging the value of this model, it still represents a significant market.

Google's core display product undercuts this model in damaging ways. Google will serve what its algorithm perceives to be the best possible ad at that given moment. It does not discern the appropriateness of the ad content itself or the economics involved. This often defaults to the lowest common denominator served into a premium display position--a text ad, from a direct response marketer, sold for less than 10 percent of what the publishers' direct sales force is trying (and succeeding) to get for that same inventory.

This is particularly damaging in emerging areas like mobile. Because most premium publishers don't sell their mobile inventory yet, you often see Google text ads appearing in prime display mobile real estate. Because many of these publishers are using DFP as their first party ad server, Google wisely makes it very easy for them to automate their Adsense backfill. …

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