It’s been two years since we completed our acquisition of DoubleClick, a leading provider of display advertising technology. This is the first in a series of posts over the next few weeks about our vision for online display advertising in the years ahead. Today, Susan Wojcicki previews the series and looks back at how we’ve brought Google and DoubleClick technologies together over the past two years. -ed.
The first online display advertisement — a simple, clickable image — appeared online over 16 years ago. Fast forward to 2010. You’re likely to see display ads — image, text, video and rich-media formats — on most of the websites that you visit. These ads are crucial to the Internet. They provide information about thousands of products, services and businesses. They help to fund the web content and services that we all use. And they enable large and small advertisers to reach new customers, increase sales and grow their businesses.
I’ve watched display advertising evolve from a series of simple, static images, to the incredible creative units that we see today. The best display ads today are often like mini-websites with complex animations, stunning graphics or videos, interactive and social elements. As technology enables better ways of matching ads, they’re becoming more relevant to the audience that views them and the website that hosts them. In addition, they’re bought and sold across the web more seamlessly than ever before.
Our belief in the potential of display advertising has spurred our investments in this area. We started investing seriously nearly six years ago, by offering display ad formats on our AdSense partner sites in the Google Content Network (which now comprises over a million online publishers). About three years ago, we acquired YouTube and began to offer various display advertising options.
And two years ago, we acquired DoubleClick, a leading provider of display advertising technology. Since then, we’ve been busy integrating the DoubleClick and Google technologies, and unveiling new features to improve display advertising for users, advertisers and online publishers alike. I thought this was a good opportunity to look back on what we’ve done over the past two years by bringing Google and DoubleClick together.
Helping our advertisers get better results
By combining Google and DoubleClick technologies, we’ve made significant enhancements to advertising on the Google Content Network. For example, we’ve offered support for third party vendors, enabled ads to be frequency capped so that users don’t see the same ad over and over, introduced view-through conversion reporting and opened a beta of interest-based advertising. Through these enhancements, we believe we can deliver more relevant, measurable ads that create more value for everyone — users get more useful ads, and these ads generate better results for advertisers and higher returns for publishers.
We’re also working to provide an integrated solution that enables advertisers and agencies to plan, buy, create, serve and measure display ads across the web, in a single interface. For the longest time, getting a display ad campaign up and running has been inefficient and cumbersome. We’ve made significant upgrades to DoubleClick’s ad serving technology, DoubleClick for Advertisers, adding new measurement and planning technologies, including Ad Planner and Google Analytics. These improvements streamline advertisers’ and agencies’ online advertising campaigns.
New ways of buying display ads: the Ad Exchange
In September 2009, we launched the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange. The Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that helps large online publishers, ad networks and agency networks buy and sell display advertising space. The new Ad Exchange is a major step towards creating a more open display advertising ecosystem for everyone. The technologies in the new Ad Exchange — principally “real-time bidding” and “dynamic allocation” — are already delivering great results for participants. AdWords advertisers can run ads on sites in the Ad Exchange, using their existing AdWords interface. This gives AdWords advertisers more high quality sites to run display ads on. Similarly, our AdSense publishers are benefiting from more high-quality display advertisers coming through the Ad Exchange.
Maximizing revenue for online publishers
A few weeks ago, we launched the upgraded DoubleClick for Publishers, to help publishers get the most value out of their online content and improve the process of selecting the ads to appear on their websites. In making this upgrade, we’ve been focused on combining the best of Google’s technology and infrastructure with the best of DoubleClick’s ad serving expertise to help generate more advertising revenue for major online publishers. For these publishers, managing, delivering and measuring the performance of ads on their websites can be a hugely complicated process that can have a significant impact on how much money they make from their online content. Ad serving is the core technology that underpins this process.
Unleashing creativity in advertising
There’s no shortage of creative marketers with brilliant ideas to engage and reach consumers — from remarkable rollerblading baby videos, to customizable ads featuring interactive Twitter feeds. We launched DoubleClick Studio, a rich media tool that makes it easier for agencies and advertisers to design interactive rich media ads. We’ve also continued to invest in DoubleClick Rich Media, which enables complex and creative ads to be easily trafficked and served. Ads created with these DoubleClick products are engaging users every day, and frequently appear on the homepage of YouTube, on sites in the Google Content Network and all across the web. To further help marketers run engaging ads across the web, we recently acquired a company called Teracent that developed technology that can tailor literally thousands of creative elements of a display ad, in real-time.
To date, we’ve put hundreds of thousands of engineering hours into building our display solutions and have partnered closely with advertisers, agencies and online publishers to help them get the best results; and to help users see more engaging and relevant ads. We’ve also developed controls like the Ads Preferences Manager and a specially-engineered opt-out plugin, so that users have transparency, choice and control over the ads they see.
However, our work in recent years is really only the beginning of what’s possible in this area. Across the board, we’re building and seeing vast improvements in display advertising technology. These technology improvements will make it far easier to buy ads across the web at scale, create engaging ad formats, measure the impact of ad campaigns in innovative and insightful ways, deliver relevant ads to precisely the right audiences in real-time and maximize the value of publishers’ online content. With these advances, we think that display advertising, as a category, can grow dramatically.
Over the next few weeks, we’re looking forward to exploring these themes on this blog, and explaining some of the ways that new technologies are helping to move display advertising forward for everyone.
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management