Google has finally added new social capabilities to its DoubleClick online
display advertising system, even as it faces new questions from the
Federal Trade Commission over its growing dominance of the $36
billion U.S. digital ad market.
A year after
bundling its advertising technology stack into the DoubleClick
Digital Marketing platform, Google is incorporating some social
features made possible by its $250 million
acquisition of Wildfire in 2012. Neal Mohan, Google VP-display
advertising, said the technology will help marketers measure how
their social marketing impacts other channels such as search,
display and mobile.
Neal Mohan, Google, at Ad Age Digital Conference 2012
"The first Wildfire and DoubleClick integration is really around
attribution, incorporating social engagement on a brand's social
[accounts] into where brands are already used to looking at the
results from all of their digital marketing efforts," Mr. Mohan
The new social tools were one of several enhancements to
DoubleClick announced at a meeting of its advisory board of
advertisers and publishers in Dana Point, Calif.
The event comes days after Mr. Mohan acknowledged that the FTC
had contacted Google with new questions about its display ad
business. "They have contacted us, and they're looking into some
questions, which we'd obviously be happy to answer," Mr. Mohan
said. The FTC closed a previous antitrust investigation of Google
earlier this year, and in that review "no issues were whatsoever
were raised about our display business," he said.
While social measurement is a big step for DoubleClick, the new
capabilities are also notable for what they don't include. "Right
now, as you know, Wildfire doesn't have a paid social tool nor does
it have direct access to Facebook or the other social platforms
that are out there," Mr. Mohan said. That leaves Google's
advertisers to flock to competitors like Adobe or smaller
pure-plays like Optimal and TBG Digital for their
Facebook and Twitter buys.
Google's demand-side platform DoubleClick Bid Manager, the
former Invite Media, has
similarly been locked out of the increasingly popular Facebook
Exchange and has seen buying agencies such as Mindshare and VivaKi's Audience on
Demand turn elsewhere. Mr. Mohan referred a question about Google's
inability to access Facebook's retargeting exchange to the social
Wildfire's social marketing suite will now plug into the new
version of DoubleClick for Advertisers, dubbed DoubleClick Campaign
Manager, to track the performance of non-paid social media
campaigns such as polls and promotions alongside display ad and
search campaigns. That reporting will be displayed on an aggregated
basis, so marketers won't be able to tie a Facebook post's
impression to a display ad click, but will instead correlate those
compiled results. "Just like you'll see impressions and views for
paid campaigns, you'll also understand the social activity as
another part of what drove a certain amount of conversions down the
funnel," Mr. Mohan explained.
Google is also socializing its YouTube sales strategy within
DoubleClick for Publishers, testing a shared-selling feature to
bundle a publisher's YouTube inventory with inventory on its own
site to be sold by the publisher's or YouTube's sales teams
(provided the publisher agrees to let YouTube sell its inventory).
Previously publishers were resigned to manage their site's
inventory separately from their YouTube inventory and had to
manually manage things like who had first rights to which inventory
and how could bundles be sold. Mr. Mohan said the technology
powering the shared selling will respect the rules a publisher sets
around its inventory, such as arrangements it may have with various
Finally Google will be helping publishers create and sell new
types of inventory. The company is among those most responsible for
the recent native advertising hype, having built a multibillion
business on search ads that fit seamlessly with search-result pages
and searchers' intentions. Beginning with a handful of publishers
-- including Forbes, which has used DoubleClick to sell its
sponsored story units -- DoubleClick for Publishers will support
individual outlets' native ad products by plugging their content
management systems into the platform. That way publishers can
manage their native ad inventory alongside more traditional units,
underscoring native as just another format.
"Native advertising, I don't think is something that's a
replacement for or in lieu of display or video or what have you,"
Mr. Mohan said. "It's a great idea. It's another format that I
think should work alongside all of those others."
But native ads are only as good as the content they promote. To
help matters, Google has created Google Web Designer, a free
product marketers can use to create rich-media content in HTML5,
enabling it to run on desktop, tablets and smartphones.
Watch as Google unveils the the above-mentioned features and
its ThinkDoubleClick event in Dana Point, Calif. on Tuesday:
Tim Peterson covers digital media for Advertising Age out of the publication's Los Angeles bureau. He previously reported on social media and ad tech for Adweek and worked as a reporter handling the digital marketing beat at Direct Marketing News.