That's something that I keep wondering to myself now and wondering if any of you readers have the same concerns. Before I jump in with the some comments, let me just state upfront that I love Google from a marketing as well as a personal level and I firmly believe that every marketer needs to have Google in their advertising mix. That mix also includes content targeting.
It used to be that you wanted to avoid content because you had no visibility unless you used a bid manager and most of your fraud probably originated there. Now more and more clients are seeing good results now, plus as Google will point out to you, their network reaches about 80% of the internet. So besides getting great reach, you also get a tremendous amount of flexibility to get your price via their auction system as well as shifting inventory around from publisher to publisher if you use their site targeting platform. (site targeting is when you hand select sites but for this you pay on a CPM basis for now).
So for a tremendous amount of my clients I recommend buying sites through Google even if it is via site targeting. You see unlike going direct to a publisher you can advertise on their site and then move the inventory around among publishers with a click of a button. However, I wonder how much the sites like that flexibility?
I've run into quite a number of sales execs lately that are starting to get concerned about the inventory going through Google and quite a number of them have said they are going to recommend shutting it off. While I think this behavior is a little self-serving, what's a sales guy to do when Google does a better job of selling inventory? Even though Google is probably not trying to get rid of your sales force, you have to start to wonder if sites get upset when you don't go direct to their sales team.
The other aspect of content that is very interesting is how good is the inventory you are receiving. If you are just going the content targeting route and letting Google select your sites, you probably are less concerned where it appears on the page or whether it is a text, display, or video ad. However, if you are paying on a CPM basis even if it is low, you want better positions and more display/video impressions. One of my biggest pet peeves is paying a $3 CPM for a text ad.
I wonder how much pressure a sales team is under if their advertiser's are going through Google? Are they getting credit for those sales? If not, I wonder how long it takes for a good sales executive to get those campaigns shut off or at least shut off for clients that they consider A-list. It used to be back in the day, you couldn't run some text ads placement on a site unless you advertised with directly with a site. I wonder if we're going back to the future on that one soon.