John Chow let the cat out of the bag when it came to breaking the news that Google is working on a Google Display Advertising Network. John broke the news because he got invited to participate in this secret club; I wonder if it comes with secret Masonic Handshakes? The details which John shared are:
- Google is creating this network to go after the big Fortune 1000 brand advertisers
- They want to sell video and banner ads to these companies for high CPMs
- Lucky publishers get to have a flat negotiated fee with Google for a full year and must guarantee a minimum amount impressions
About two weeks back a friend of mine asked me to poke around and see what I can find out about the double secret probation ad network. She already had some scoop on the CPMs and the length of the deal. However, what we talked about was some other motivation behind the now not-so-secret plan. With success, Google can theoretically eliminate a site's sales force. Think about it. Google represents you to these big fortune 1000 company and sells your already negotiated CPM to them on your behalf. No need to have somebody on your payroll peddling your product; just a site manager and a trafficking coordinator. No need for your account manager. So, not only do you get your CPM theoretically if you are over-sold you could eliminate some cost too. Not bad, huh? Plus, perhaps you have reduced paper work. However, isn't that a possible sales pitch for all ad networks? BTW - before you think the old man is crazy, imagine if the deals included some upfront payment for part of or all of a site's inventory? Google has deep pockets.....
I guess I'm a little skeptical. Ad networks are nothing new and the marketplace is very crowded. Besides the rare occasion when I used content networks and Google's Site Targeting, I am a huge fan of Advertising.com for their reach and ability to predict and optimize my advertising campaigns. Can Google build a better mouse trap the Advertising.com ?
The other part that makes me skeptical is my assumed interpretation of John's post is that these Fortune 1000 companies are willing to pay big CPMs in the name of simplicity and assumed targeting. And, having been one of those Fortune 1000 online advertisers on more than one occasion (ex - AT&T, Bank of Montreal) and I'm currently consulting for a few of them, it just isn't the case. Brand marketers need documented results and if they are sophisticated like my clients, it is a lot more than just running some impressions without an expected action or ROI. A number of my clients require sophisticated behavioral and/or geo-targeting while boosting brand awareness and post-click actions. Everything is getting measured.
Maybe Google is just testing here again or maybe not. They have so many balls in the air now like radio, print, mobile, spreadsheets, and now this it becomes almost difficult to keep track of everything involved and what they are becoming besides a CPC search network. I hope they don't start eating peanut butter sandwiches.