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Advertising should be free of invalid activity – including unauthorized, misrepresented, and fake ad inventory – which diverts revenue from legitimate publishers and tricks marketers into wasting their money. Earlier this year we worked with the IAB Tech Lab to create the ads.txt standard, a simple solution to help stop bad actors from selling unauthorized inventory across the industry. Since then, we’ve shared our plans to integrate the standard into our advertiser and publisher advertising platforms.

As of November 8th, Google’s advertising platforms filter all unauthorized ad inventory identified by published ads.txt files:
  • Marketers and agencies using DoubleClick Bid Manager and AdWords will not buy unauthorized impressions as identified by publishers’ ads.txt files.
  • DoubleClick Ad Exchange and AdSense publishers that use ads.txt are protected against unauthorized inventory being sold in our auctions.

Preventing the sale of unauthorized inventory depends on having complete and accurate ads.txt information. So, to make sure our systems are filtering traffic as accurately as possible, we built an ads.txt crawler based on concepts used in our search index technology. It scans all active sites across our network daily, over 30m domains, for ads.txt files, to prevent unauthorized inventory from entering our systems.



The adoption of ads.txt has been growing quickly and the standard is reaching scale across publishers:
  • Over 100,000 ads.txt files have been published
  • 750 of the comScore 2,000 have ads.txt files
  • Over 50% of inventory seen by DBM comes from domains with ads.txt files

We believe ads.txt is a significant step in cleaning up bad inventory and it's great to have the broad support of our partners like L’Oreal, Omnicom Media Group, and the Financial Times.
“Consumers place enormous value on the ability to trust brands, which is why transparency in advertising is a top priority at L’Oreal. We look forward to collaborating with Google on this initiative as we continue to encourage the industry to follow suit.”
- Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO L’Oreal USA
"Removing counterfeit inventory from the ecosystem is critical to maintaining trust in digital. The simple act of publishing an ads.txt file helps provide the transparency we need to quickly reduce counterfeit inventory from harming our clients."
- Steve Katelman, EVP Global Strategic Partnerships, Omnicom Media Group
“It's great to see adoption of ads.txt across the industry and we're happy to see Google put their support behind this initiative. By eliminating counterfeit inventory from the ecosystem, marketers' budgets will work that much harder and revenue will reach real working media to fund the independent, high-quality journalism which society depends upon."
- Anthony Hitchings, Digital Advertising Operations Director, Financial Times

It’s amazing to see how fast the industry is adopting ads.txt, but there is still more to be done. Supporting industry initiatives like ads.txt is critical to maintaining the health of the digital advertising ecosystem. That’s why we’ll continue to invest and innovate to make the ecosystem more valuable, transparent, and trusted for everyone.

Posted by Per Bjorke
Product Manager, Google Ad Traffic Quality

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I used to wait all week to watch 90210 on Thursday nights at 9:00. Today, I can binge watch Breaking Bad whenever I want, wherever I want. Whether it’s 1997 or 2017, there is one simple thing that keeps us coming back to TV — great content. But the issue today is that the experience and the content are often at odds — while the content is addictive, the experience is not.

I believe that the future of TV is one that’s smarter — that brings together the TV content you love with the seamless experience of digital — on every screen or surface. Building towards that future, at our Partner Leadership Summit in Chicago early this month, we announced several new products and features to DoubleClick for Publishers, made for our TV.

Video ad experiences get smarter, live and on-demand, with Dynamic Ad Insertion

Over the years, we’ve rebuilt our video platform from the ground up — we knew that TV was a very different experience from the web and we knew that broadcasters had different challenges, infrastructure, distribution partners and content from web publishers. With TV coming to digital, we put our stake in the future of building for a better user experience — one that was connected, always on, and on-demand.

Powering dynamic ad insertion has become a leading benefit of our platform. Over the last couple of years, we’ve successfully powered dynamic ad insertion for live streaming and on-demand content for many of the largest news, sports events and episodic premiers. In fact, over the past two years alone we’ve seen a 4X increase in ad impressions delivered via our Dynamic Ad Insertion product by TV partners like CBSi, AMC, Bloomberg, TF1 and many more.1

Smarter TV ad breaks optimize revenue within each pod, programmatically

We’re also bringing new updates to a key feature of our platform — smarter TV ad breaks. With this update, ad slots no longer need to be sold as fixed lengths in the break. Smarter TV ad breaks automatically optimize your ad break to the revenue-maximizing combination of ads, personalized and relevant for each viewer. For example, a ninety second ad break can now be filled by two 15-second and two 30-second ads or one 15-second, one 60-second and two 6-second bumper ads depending on what will bring you the most revenue. Importantly, we’re able to do this across your programmatic or reservation deals, while respecting your business rules, such as competitive exclusions and frequency capping within the break or stream.

Content gets smarter with TV Content Explorer

To effectively monetize TV content, you need a platform that can better understand the content you’re monetizing, the audiences engaging with it and serve the right ad in just the right moment no matter where users are consuming it. That’s why we’re launching TV Content Explorer in DoubleClick for Publishers, available in beta by the end of 2017.

Leveraging Google’s machine learning expertise and smart heuristics, TV Content Explorer creates and automatically organizes an intuitive catalog of your shows and clips. We analyze millions of signals from video content feeds, automatically applying classifiers and making recommendations for how content should be organized across dimensions like show, genre, trending, dayparts, etc. With this inventory catalog, you’ll get a clearer view of the opportunities and packages available to sell.

But that’s not all. To ensure that you aren’t leaving any revenue on the table, the Explorer will also proactively surface deeper insights into audiences and monetization opportunities via insight cards. We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with this feature and are excited to bring even more innovation to this Explorer in the future.

Inventory decisions get smarter with updated forecasting and pacing models

Accurately predicting inventory volumes across a multitude of devices for TV content requires consideration for factors such as seasonality of content, unpredictable viewership spikes for live events and varying programming schedules.

That’s why our new forecasting and pacing models, currently in beta, were built to include a lookback window of 18 months, consideration for organic growth over time, audience seasonality and one-off anomaly corrections for unpredictable events like breaking news. Soon, it will also allow you to import offline traffic data and upload custom pacing curves to inform the algorithm for greater accuracy.


Audience strategies get smarter with insights from Google

We recently shared that we’re starting limited tests to help our partners better understand their audiences with new insight reports that expose demographic and interest data from Google. This presents an opportunity for broadcasters and programmers to personalize ad experiences more effectively and package digital inventory similarly to how TV is bought and sold. Additionally, we’re starting limited tests to help partners serve ads against demographic data from Google via Programmatic Guaranteed deals with DoubleClick Bid Manager.

TV is here to stay because there’s no such thing as too much good content — it’s hard for me to imagine a world without 90210, Breaking Bad or Designated Survivor. By bringing everything that’s good about digital to TV, we’re only making it unstoppable. Stay tuned to learn more about how we’re evolving our platforms for a future where TV will be smarter, just as it will continue to be everywhere.

Posted by Rany Ng
Director, Product Management, Google
1DoubleClick Internal Data, Jan-Sept 2015 and Jan-Aug 2017

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There are many issues impacting the health of the advertising ecosystem today. Counterfeit, misrepresented, and fake ad inventory are diverting revenue from high quality publishers. And, publishers are looking for tools to help them stop unsuitable ads from appearing alongside their content and damaging their brand. Addressing these challenges is critical to creating a healthy ecosystem where publishers can thrive. That’s why we’ve been investing in multiple initiatives to help alleviate these problems for our partners.

Helping stop the sale of counterfeit ad inventory

When counterfeit inventory is allowed to be sold or an unauthorized reseller puts underpriced inventory into the market, it prevents publishers from receiving the full value of their inventory. That’s why we fully support the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard. Ads.txt gives publishers and distributors a simple, flexible and secure method to disclose the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory. It increases transparency in the inventory supply chain making it more difficult to sell counterfeit inventory or resell inventory without a publisher’s approval.

We recently announced that DoubleClick Bid Manager will only buy a publisher’s inventory from sources identified as authorized sellers in its ads.txt file when a file is available. At our recent Partner Leadership Summit, we announced three updates to our publisher ad platforms to support the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard.

  • AdSense has begun to display ads.txt alerts in the user interface to let publishers know if we identify errors in their ads.txt file.
  • By the end of October, DoubleClick for Publishers will include an ads.txt generator and validator to help publishers create their initial ads.txt file and correct and modify their existing ads.txt files.
  • And most importantly by the end of this year, DoubleClick Ad Exchange and AdSense will filter unauthorized inventory, as identified by a publisher’s ads.txt file, from our auction.

The growth we’ve seen in ads.txt adoption has been strong. As of October 12, our ads.txt crawler has found files from over 11,000 urls. However, only 252 of the comScore 1000 publishers have published ads.txt files. The broader the adoption of ads.txt, the faster we’ll be able to help prevent the sale and purchase of counterfeit inventory and foster a fair and safe market for publishers to grow their businesses.

Number of urls that have posed an ads.txt file globally as found by our crawler

Keeping unsuitable ads off of publisher sites

We've heard from our publishers that they want more options and control to determine the types of ads that appear on their sites from our advertising partners. While we have strict policies on our own platforms to protect publishers and our users from harmful, misleading and inappropriate ads, we are introducing more controls and filters so publishers can make their decisions about what is and what isn't suitable for their brand.

We have released two new controls in DoubleClick that allow publishers to block sensational, tabloid-style ads and ads featuring significant skin exposure from their sites. And we recently made changes to significantly improve the accuracy and quality of our automated creative classification filters. We’ve always had comprehensive controls to help publishers automatically block the types of ads that appear on their sites, and these updates will help publishers fine tune the types of ads that appear alongside their content.

Mock-ups of an ad featuring significant skin exposure and a sensationalist ad blocked by our sensitive category controls

Creating a fair and safe marketplace for publishers

Helping publishers create sustainable businesses and continue to grow is core to our mission. That cannot happen without a healthy advertising ecosystem. By helping to stop the sale and purchase of counterfeit inventory, and giving publishers the controls to prevent unsuitable and unsafe ads from appearing next to their content, we hope to make it easier for our partners to succeed.

Posted by Pooja Kapoor
Head of Global Strategy, Programmatic and Ecosystem Health

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At Google, we’ve always believed that our mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible” is closely aligned with that of the media industry. Without you, there’s no information. This partnership is what sets us apart, and what fuels our commitment to helping you build thriving and sustainable businesses.

Our commitment is particularly evident in how we’re evolving DoubleClick. There’s no doubt that the dual explosions of programmatic advertising and mobile devices have ushered in a new digital era fueled by data. Today, you can be better news publishers, entertainment programmers or app developers — and make smarter content and business decisions — with the immense amount of information available to you.

We believe there is a new opportunity emerging to turn raw data into powerful insights. So, we are announcing the Insights Engine Project, an ongoing initiative to bring Google’s cloud computing and machine learning expertise to DoubleClick’s reporting and forecasting systems. We want to make it easier for you to optimize your business for success with both consumers and advertisers. Our teams have been hard at work for some time now, and today we are announcing seven features in development, many of which are already in testing with select partners.

Custom data analysis and visualization with BigQuery and Data Studio

All the data in the world is not much use if you can’t analyze it and see the results. To make this easier, we are connecting DoubleClick to two powerful Google tools — BigQuery and Data Studio. BigQuery is Google’s fully managed, petabyte scale, low cost enterprise data warehouse for analytics. Data Studio turns your data into customizable informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read and share. Both connectors are in beta now, with broad availability in early 2018.

Smarter decisions with insight cards and a new forecasting experience

Late last year, we started using Google machine learning to offer opportunities and experiments in DoubleClick for Publishers and Ad Exchange. So far, our partners have implemented more than 6,700 recommendations worth millions of dollars in new revenue.1 Often, the most valuable insights are not simply into what has happened in your business, but also into what your peers are doing, and especially into what comes next.

In the months to come, a new set of insight cards in DoubleClick will give you information about how you are performing relative to your peers on key success metrics like ad viewability, site latency, and more. And to help you be more confident about the future, we will also be launching a new forecasting experience that includes automatic growth detection, seasonal adjustments, and easy viewing of historical data side by side with future predictions.


Audience insights for more relevant content and ads

The Insights Engine Project does not stop with business data. We also believe that helping you learn more about your audience can help you deliver more relevant and higher quality experiences. In the months to come, we will be conducting two limited tests of sharing demographic and interest insights with our partners, including using those insights to deliver more relevant ads in programmatic deals with DoubleClick Bid Manager advertisers. These tests will help us explore the best way to make ads and content more relevant for users, while ensuring their privacy and preferences are respected.

Supporting the news industry with subscription offers

Finally, subscriptions are becoming a more and more important part of the business of our partners in the news industry. So, we are also testing the application of machine learning and audience insights to the subscription business — helping you optimize the best moment to reach users when they have a higher likelihood of paying.

The first step

As we enter the next phase of digital growth, in a world that’s AI-first and where data is king, we’re excited to partner with you in new ways to drive sustainable growth beyond tomorrow into the further future. We are confident that when you have the right pieces of information in the right places, the possibilities are endless. The Insights Engine Project starts with the initiatives I have described here, but will continue into 2018 and beyond, so stay tuned to learn more about how you can start taking advantage of these new capabilities.
Posted by Jonathan Bellack
Director of Product Management, Publisher Platforms
1 DoubleClick Internal Data, Oct 2016 - Sept 2017

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Cross-posted from The Keyword

At some point, we’ve all been caught off guard by an annoying ad online—like a video automatically playing at full volume, or a pop-up standing in the way to the one thing we’re trying to find. Thanks to research conducted by the Coalition for Better Ads, we now know which ad experiences rank lowest among consumers and are most likely to drive people to install ad blockers.

Ads, good and bad, help fund the open web. But 69% of people who installed ad blockers said they were motivated by annoying or intrusive ads. When ads are blocked, publishers don’t make money.

In June we launched the Ad Experience Report to help publishers understand if their site has ads that violate the Coalition’s Better Ads Standards. In just two months, 140,000 publishers worldwide have viewed the report.

“This report is great for helping publishers adapt to the Better Ads Standards. The level of transparency and data is incredibly actionable. It literally says here’s the issue, here’s how to fix it. I think it will be helpful for all publishers.”
Katya Moukhina, ‎Director of Programmatic Operations, POLITICO

We're already starting to see data trends that can give publishers insights into the most common offending ads. Here's a look at what we know so far.

It's official: Popups are the most annoying ads on the web

Pop-up ads are the most common annoying ads found on publisher sites. On desktop they account for 97% of the violations! These experiences can be bad for business: 50% of users surveyed say they would not revisit or recommend a page that had a pop-up ad.

Instead of pop-ups, publishers can use less disruptive alternatives like full-screen inline ads. They offer the same amount of screen real estate as pop-ups—without covering up any content. Publishers can find more tips and alternatives in our best practices guide.

Mobile and desktop have different issues

On mobile the issues are more varied. Pop-ups account for 54% of issues found, while 21% of issues are due to high ad density: A mobile page flooded with ads takes longer to load, and this makes it harder for people to find what they're looking for.

Most issues come from smaller sites with fewer resources

Our early reporting shows that most issues are not coming from mainstream publishers, like daily newspapers or business publications. They come from smaller sites, who often don’t have the same access to quality control resources as larger publishers.

To help these publishers improve their ads experiences, we review sites daily and record videos of the ad experiences that have been found non-compliant with the Better Ads Standards. If a site is in a “failing” or “warning” state, their Ad Experience Report will include these visuals, along with information about the Better Ad Standards and how the issues may impact their site.

We encourage all publishers to take a look at their report. Here’s how.

  1. Gaining access to the report
    The Ad Experience Report is part of Google Search Console, which means you need to be a verified site owner to access it. You can either ask your webmaster to add you as an owner or user, or verify ownership yourself. Learn more.

  2. Understanding the report
    If your site has been reviewed and the status is “Warning" or "Failing," the report will show videos of the ad experiences that are likely to annoy or mislead your visitors. Click on desktop or mobile reports to see the specific experiences identified.


  3. Fixing the issues and requesting a review
    Once you’ve identified the violating experiences, work with your ad ops and site design teams to remove the annoying experiences. After that, describe how you addressed each of the issues in the ‘Request review’ area and click ‘I fixed this’. You’ll receive a confirmation email saying your review is in progress. Learn more.

Looking ahead

Over the next few weeks we’ll begin notifying sites with issues. For even more insights on the types of sites and violations found, publishers can visit The Ad Experience Report API.

The good news is that people don’t hate all ads—just annoying ones. Replacing annoying ads with more acceptable ones will help ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to sustain their work with online advertising. This is why we support the Coalition’s efforts to develop marketplace guidelines for supporting the Better Ads Standards and will continue working with them on the standards as they evolve.

Scott Spencer
Director of Product Management, Sustainable Ads