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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 racy, suggestive ads 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 a racy, suggestive ad 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