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Our goal has always been to help publishers and advertisers thrive and create sustainable businesses. For many years Google has used optimization and machine learning techniques to improve the performance of our ads products, and now we’re happy to share that we’ve been extending those techniques to DoubleClick Ad Exchange customers. Today we are introducing Optimized Private Auctions and optimized pricing in the Open Auction to help our publisher partners grow their revenue and give programmatic buyers greater access to premium inventory.

More control of Private Auctions

Private Auctions were developed to help publishers negotiate higher prices by creating special segments of inventory for preferred buyers. As deal volume has grown, we discovered an additional opportunity for publishers to make even more money with Private Auctions. On average, 5% of Private Auction impressions on our platform have an Open Auction buyer willing to pay more than the Private Auction deal price. If all of these bids from Open Auction buyers were able to win their auctions, publishers would see a significant lift to their programmatic revenue.

Optimized Private Auctions, now available to all publishers using DoubleClick Ad Exchange globally, give publishers the ability to allow high-value Open Auction bids to compete against Private Auctions. Full transparency is available to buyers, who can see in the DoubleClick Ad Exchange UI which of their Private Auctions are being optimized.

Greater accuracy with optimized pricing in the Open Auction

In addition to helping publishers maximize revenue from Private Auctions, we’ve been experimenting with optimized pricing to help publishers set price floors in the Open Auction that more closely reflect the value of their inventory.

The Open Auction tends to have a large price gap between what a buyer bids and what they pay. We’ve observed more than a 50%1 price gap between bid and closing prices in many cases. Publishers see this gap as a revenue opportunity and try to close the gap by applying manually-calculated price floors. This is difficult to do well and can lead to lost revenue, or to complex implementations such as offering the same query repeatedly at different price floors that can increase user latency and hurt advertiser performance. We think there’s a better way.

Optimized pricing in the Open Auction uses historical data to automate the post-auction analysis and updating of floor prices that publishers already do, and takes it a step further. Not only does our technology use signals like ad unit and device, it also calculates audience-based floors, so publishers can fully benefit from building valuable audiences. And as we’ve always done, if there is a floor applied to an impression, whether publisher or algorithmically set, we share it with buyers in our bid requests.

In our experiments to date, we have applied optimized pricing to about 15% of transactions, creating over 5% lift in revenue for publishers using the Open Auction. As we expand our experiments with optimized pricing, we will monitor its performance to ensure advertisers continue to get great ROI.

Increasing price transparency

While Optimized Private Auctions and optimized pricing in the Open Auction help publishers get more value for their inventory, they raise important questions. In our conversations, programmatic buyers and sellers have expressed a strong desire for greater transparency and openness in how advertising is valued and prices are set. As the programmatic ecosystem continues to grow, we look forward to partnering with buyers and sellers in an open discussion on price transparency in the industry.

Posted by Jonathan Bellack
Director, Product Management
1 Google internal data, desktop and mobile web impressions in North America

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Publisher digitally recreates the experience of reading a glossy print magazine and attracts more brand advertisers with component-based native ad formats.

Aller Media is a leading, Scandinavian publisher that owns a variety of media outlets including KK.no, a landmark fashion and lifestyle magazine. With more of its users on mobile devices, KK.no invested in a responsive website to deliver contextually relevant experiences. But its ads, particularly the custom native formats, didn’t respond to the user's context in the same way as its content.

In late 2015, KK.no partnered with DoubleClick to build fully responsive, component-based native ads. The result: beautiful and seamless user experiences across mobile and desktop, increased ad viewability and greater impact for advertisers.

"With Native Ads on DoubleClick, KK.no saw over 85% growth in ad viewability on mobile without compromising user experiences. They actually love it. It’s a part of how they consume the content on the site."
Kirsti Engedal Alfheim, Head of Ad Operation, Aller Media

Visit DoubleClick.com to learn more and watch the video.

Posted by Nataliya Kozak
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

Danielle Landress
Associate Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick

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People want great experiences wherever they’re consuming content – on the web, in apps, on every screen. Savvy publishers have responded by building smart, responsive websites and new app interaction models. But improving the content experience alone is not enough. Publishers need to evolve their advertising as well, from boxy banners to flexible and contextually relevant native ads that scale. To help them do that, we’re extending our native ads for apps solution to work across all screens – on the web and in apps – making it easier for publishers to set up, deliver, and measure directly-sold native ads everywhere.

Reducing complexity to scale beautiful native ads across screens

Running native ads across all of a publisher’s digital inventory has, until now, been an operationally complex process requiring hours spent manually coding and compiling individual ad creatives from advertiser-provided assets.

Now, DoubleClick for Publishers supports native creatives that easily scale and adapt to different content layouts on different screens. Instead of providing rigid, pre-defined ad creatives, advertisers can give publishers components that make up their ads – image, headline, copy, etc. Publishers set up a central library of native styles suited to their content and DoubleClick automatically compiles the creative from the components, applying the right style based on where users are consuming content.

These native creatives can run both in traditional banner slots and a new, responsive fluid ad slot in Google Publisher Tag and the Google Mobile Ads SDK. And ActiveView and third-party measurement are fully supported.

Flexing The New York Times’ native advertising strategy

Last year, The New York Times launched “Flex Frames”, a new suite of natively styled ads developed in-house. The goal was to extend innovative storytelling and beautiful user experiences to ads across all of their content platforms.

“We think better designed ads that play off the functionality and user experience of our site will allow us to grow our business.”
-Sebastian Tomich, Senior Vice President of Advertising & Innovation, The New York Times
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Flex Frames was a hit with users and advertisers alike: CTRs were up 4-5X compared to regular 300x250 in-line units, and advertisers jumped at the chance to take advantage of new in-line video inventory.

Scaling Flex Frames, however, proved challenging. The team was dedicating too many hours to coding and compiling ads for review by advertisers.

The New York Times turned to DoubleClick’s new solution to serve these native ads more efficiently wherever their users may be – in apps, on the web, or even on AMP pages. By overlaying audience data, the team is able to optimize the creative presentation to match the editorial experiences that individual readers respond to the most, delivering compelling user experiences and great results.

“Performance on mobile is surpassing desktop, and that’s a big opportunity. We see our partnership with Google and DoubleClick as the answer to scale and that’s been the biggest challenge for advertisers trying to innovate today,” says Tomich.

The New York Times isn’t the only publisher benefitting from this technology. Today, more than 200 publishers globally, including Aller Media in Norway and Grupo Expansion in Mexico, are using DoubleClick to deliver fully responsive native ads across all their web and app properties.

DoubleClick’s goal has always been to help publishers thrive and deliver great advertising experiences with the least complexity. With our growing investment in native solutions for publishers, we’re excited to power ad experiences that are more engaging and seamless for users everywhere, unlocking brand spend in a way that’s sustainable and scalable.

Learn more about Native Ads on DoubleClick in our Help Center and experience their responsiveness in this interactive demo.

Posted by Tom Bender
Product Manager, DoubleClick

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As Jonathan said a few weeks ago, our goal has always been to help publishers thrive and create sustainable businesses with advertising. First Look was developed to help publishers maximize the revenue from all of their inventory by enabling them to give trusted programmatic buyers the opportunity to bid on 100% of their inventory -- even ahead of sponsorships and reservations. It’s simple to set up with no required code changes, zero added latency, and it works across all channels and formats. Since its preview in October 2015, 300+ publishers have leveraged First Look to grow programmatic revenue.

“First Look has been a great compliment to our monetization [strategy] and our ad stack. Since implementing it, Gannett has seen a 15% lift in eCPM of our programmatic channel.”
-Tim Wolfe, VP of Revenue Operations, Gannett

Publishers like About Inc. and Frankly Inc have also seen significant results with First Look.

“Given the appetite for First Look inventory, we have realized a material lift in programmatic revenue since the product was made available.”
-Scott Mulqueen, Vice President of Programmatic & Audience monetization, About, Inc.

“By leveraging First Look, we have been able to expose more inventory and maximize yield on premium users and content through a seamless & easy implementation. As our programmatic stack continues to mature, we see great potential for higher cpms and greater volume.”
-William Ammerman, Head of Advertising, Frankly Inc.

It’s been almost a month since we released First Look to all publishers and we’re happy to help them achieve higher yield for every impression while maintaining their user experience. If you want to learn more about Gannett’s strategy and approach to using First Look read more on DoubleClick.com.

Posted by Alex Shellhammer
Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick