Today, Google announced its integration of Google Ad Manager and DART. Users of Google Ad Manager are “upgraded” to DFP for Small Businesses. It’s free, as are most all of Google’s products, provided you have less than 90 million impressions a month. If you’re bigger than that, then you have to pay support for the premium product.
So if you’re in the business of selling ad server software, I believe your goose is cooked. Your prospects are about as good as Netscape trying to charge you $89 a year for their browser, Omniture charging $250k a year to use their analytics software, or AOL charging you $20 a month to keep your email address. There may still be folks who will buy the black magic of ad serving, but it’s pretty clear that few firms can compete with Google on ad optimization, as arguably nobody is better at this when it comes to targeting, eCPM maximization, forecasting CTR, frequency capping, and so forth.
But there still are niches that Google doesn’t play in– or won’t play in. One such example is social ads that inject personalized information into ad templates. So while Google has potentially won the game of deciding which is the best ad to show to what person, they have not gone down to the level of using social data to create personalized messages– so customized that they might have your name, friend’s images, and other details in them.
Look out for social ad-serving companies that go beyond retargeting and BT networks. In the same way that there is unintended personalization on Facebook– expect that to spread to the general web. And once the wave of spammers has had its fill, expect local businesses to run smart local ads using social data.
As a common practice, Google also released a few videos with this product update. Below is one for the DoubleClick For Publishers on trafficking in the UI. Notice that related videos are “sex trafficking in Cambodia”, “human trafficking”, and the like. Perhaps Google DOES have a ways to go with its targeting capabilities.