Google allows Third Party Ad Serving on Content Network: Implications

Hi guys,

I just want to share with you my thoughts about the recent news regarding Google Content Network. Is it Good or Bad? Is it beneficial to Advertisers? Let’s find out

Google Content Network?

For the benefits of those who don’t know what Google Content Network is:

  • We are all familiar with or your country specific Google’s domain, etc…
  • Google won the Search Engine war against Yahoo, Microsoft and other smaller engines. You can refer to the latest numbers from comScore, Hitwise or Compete to see how much Search market share Google has at the moment in US: Search share compared
  • However, we all know that people spend very little time on Search engine compared to other news sites or hobby sites. We only go to search engines when we have the needs to find something. Most of the time, we are busy watching videos, chatting on IM, emailing etc…
  • It’s the good thing that people spend little time on search engine, it shows that Search Engine works since it gives people what they want FAST.
  • Yet, if Google only had or the search engine, it couldn’t fulfill its own ambition of organizing the world information. At the same time, from a more practical point of view, Google needs to widen its reach to simply get more advertisers Money.
  • From Advertisers’ point of view, advertisers are concern about REACH, but not simply REACH but cost effective, timely REACH and a bunch of other things (which are not the focus of this post).
  • Google’s started Content Network, which essential a group of hundreds of thousands smaller sites, covering anything from YouTube, New York Times, Hardware Zone, Channel News Asia to mom and pop site, hobbies sites.
  • These companies/publishers participate in Google Adsense program, in which they allow Google to put ads on their sites and in exchange they will get part of the amount Advertisers pay Google.
  • Google categories its Content Network into different verticals, geo locations, with the option of targeting different demographics as well.
  • Simply put, Google content network is another version of an Ad Network like the ones managed by Pixel Media, Aktiv Digital or Ad Max in SouthEast Asia region.

Why allowing third party ad serving technology is important?

Well, i guess that’s the question on your minds right now (or at least some of you).
The fact is that Google made Big bucks with Search Engine Marketing (please refer to Google Financial Statement or its Stock Price if you have any doubts). However, when it comes to Display Media, Google is not quite there yet.

For Display Media, there are a couple of things:

  • Some companies need to create a good video, dynamic html banners etc… bascically, creating the creative.
  • After the creative being created, it needs to be put on relevant sites.
  • From mature markets, gone is the day when advertisers just blindly put an ads on Yahoo or MSN etc… and hope for the best. (Again the situation in SEA region is different from mature markets) Right now advertisers or the incumbent agencies will use third party ad serving technologies like DoubleClick (which is now owned and used by Google), Atlas etc… to serve their Display Media campaigns.
  • With these ad serving technologies, advertisers will be able to track users behavior across Multiple sites that they advertise on. They will know if a particular user has seen the ads but doesn’t click on it or how many times he sees the ads, what time, date etc…
  • More importantly, advertisers can track conversions from their Display Media campaign to derive ROI or Cost per Lead, Acquisition etc…

Google challenges Ad Network

As mentioned above, Google’s moved aggressively into Display Media (with the buy of YouTube media site, DoubleClick ad serving technology etc…).
However, one barrier for Premier Advertisers to start using Google Content Network (or Google Network) for their Display Media needs is the fact that previously Google didn’t allow third party ad serving technology on its Network.
More often than not, the Premier Advertisers have some kind of Global deal with a particular Agency Group, which uses a particular third party ad serving technology or its own technology to serve all the Display ads.
Now with the ban of third party ad serving technology on Content Network removed, Google makes it much easier for Premier Advertisers to go to Google, not only for its Search Engine Marketing (direct response marketing need) but even for Branding, Creating Awareness needs by using Google Network.

Google directly challenges Ad Network like Pixel Media, Ad Max, Aktiv Digital and the likes.
Advertisers come to Ad Network because of its wide reach (one stop solution to reach out to millions of eyeballs), the correct type of target audience (through profiling or targeting particular verticals), the ability to track the campaign effectiveness across multiple sites etc…

Now, Google offers the same deal or even a better deal because of its single Platform.
YUP! With a single platform globally, Advertisers can manage both Paid Search and Display Media (which covers Video ads, banner ….). The Display Media ads can be served by using third party technology so minimum work for advertisers and their agencies.

In conclusion, i have mixed feelings with this news. On one hand, i am glad that Google again makes it easier for advertisers, agencies or people like me to manage their campaigns. On the other hand, with a huge Content Network, i foresee that Google will successfully challenge many of the existing ad networks and soon Google will be the One Stop solution for all of your advertising needs (Online and may be even Offline).
When that time comes, it will be another Microsoft in the OS market.

Just my humble opinion, so feel free to comment otherwise.


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