Wednesday, September 2, 2009 | Posted by Aaron Goldman
Google recently announced that it's opening up the Content Network to "qualified third-party vendors" (read: networks and exchanges). Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost breaks down the news and includes this little bit of tid from yours truly...
"Opening the network would also give advertisers 'more eyeballs' and a better shot at reaching select consumers, such as 'one-arm pet lovers.' There's maybe a few thousand of those pet lovers out there, and opening the network adds a huge pool of inventory into the system to find those people more easily,' according to Aaron Goldman, managing partner at Connectual. 'It you're an advertiser running with exchanges and networks it helps you,' he says. 'Publishers will have more people competing for ad inventory, and have a better shot of getting a higher effective CPM and more relevant ads on the page.'"
Now, when I used that analogy, I'm not sure if I meant that the pet-owners had one-arm or the pets themselves did. Either way, it's a pretty niche audience and, as an advertiser, if you're looking to reach these folks with display ads currently running through a network or exchange, you should be happy that Google just added a mass pool of inventory for you to mine.
If you're an AdSense publisher, you should also be happy as your effective CPM's should rise with more advertisers bidding in the system. That said, as a publisher, you may not think you're displaying more relevant ads as the units themselves will be targeted to the visitor not the content of the page like you've been used to. For example, if you run a sports site, you've been used to Google showing sports-related ads. Now, if a one-armed pet lover comes to your site, you'll see an ad for artificial limbs (either human or animal as the case may be) and wonder why? Hopefully, you won't wonder for long once the fatter checks start coming in for Google.
The only constituency that stands to lose here are current Google Content Network advertisers. As David Szetela points out in the article, they may see inflated pricing due to incremental advertisers bidding for the same inventory. As with any announcement from Google, the best practice is not to freak out, just monitor your campaign and react to any fluctuations. However, if you have not yet explored buying through networks or exchanges, now is as good a time as any.
Update 9/18: Google just unveiled the "new" DoubleClick Ad Exchange. This places the earlier news about opening up the Content Network to 3rd parties in greater context. Now, ads on the Google Content network will be eligible to run through the exchange and out to the thousands of 3rd-party sites that operate through exchanges like Right Media, Turn, and X+1. Marketers beware! I'd anticipate radical performance shifts -- this inventory will perform much differently than what you've been used to, for better or worse!