Google rolls out programmatic guaranteed globally in rearguard action against interlopers

Google has confirmed that both publishers and media owners can now use programmatic guaranteed - a method of delivering ad campaigns that have been brokered directly between a publisher and a media buyer using algorithms - across the globe following a six month testing period in the US.

Over 300 media buyers, and 200 publishers have taken part in the six month beta period thus far, with Google claiming that it has seen impression volumes double every quarter since the launch of this method of media delivery, often referred to as programmatic guaranteed, via DoubleClick.

Programmatic Guaranteed is now available to all marketers and buyers using DoubleClick Bid Manager, and all publishers using DoubleClick for Publishers (Df), according to Kurt Spoerer, DoubleClick, senior product manager, making the announcement via a blog post.

He added: "Initial steps to bring the benefits of programmatic to direct deals have been focused on automating the deal booking process. While that’s a good start, it only scratches the surface of what programmatic technology can do."

Programmatic guaranteed is rapidly seen as a way to assure both media buyers and sellers against concerns over both the miss-delivery of ads using such technologies (commonly referred to as brand safety), plus the potential erosion of inventory prices via auction-based selling using real-time bidding (RTB) technologies.

Spoerer added: "The true value of programmatic direct will be achieved when the power of real-time, data-driven decisions is combined with access to brand safe, reserved publisher inventory currently available through direct sales. This will not only shorten the time it takes to book and execute high value reservations type deals, but also improve advertising performance."

The blog post also contains testimonies from participants in the study, with tier one names from the traditional media owner sector such as VOX Media, Condé Nast and Generator Media all participating (see video).

Programmatic direct spending was expected to reach $8bn in 2015 in the US alone - more than 50 per cent of total programmatic display ad spend - according to research outfit eMarketer.

Rival ad tech outfits AppNexus and Rubicon Project have also been keen to compete for publisher interest in the sector with AppNexus forking out an estimated $100m for Yieldex last year to improve its offering in the sector, while the latter was said to have paid a tens of millions for iSocket and Shiny Ads in 2014 in late 2014.

Speaking with The Drum, eMarketer analyst Bill Fisher described his opinion on the dynamics behind the shift towards programmatic direct, as opposed to using programmatic media buying technologies to buy and sell media from open sources, such as ad exchanges.

He added: "A lot of the sentiment [during the interviews for a recent research study from the company was about cleaning up the image of programmatic.

"Much of the blame that has been laid at the door [of programmatic] has been over getting rid of distressed, rubbish inventory using open exchanges, and moving to a slightly more closed way of doing it is a way to show people that issues over brand safety have improved, etc."

The move also brings Google's publisher business into line with rival offerings, such as the AppNexus Publisher Suite (APS) which the independent ad tech outfit is positioning very aggressively, with the latter claiming that DFP is technology that is over 10 years out of date.

Ronan Shields

I cover digital media trading and martech for The Drum magazine, plus I write my own opinion pieces, I don't really commission them.

All by Ronan