Google’s YouTube measurement system, Ads Data Hub, now works with media bought through DoubleClick and the Google Display Network (GDN).
Ads Data Hub is designed to provide insights into ad spend and campaign performance across Google properties while respecting user privacy.
It is meant to solve inconsistencies in measurement that have emerged (especially in mobile) due to fragmentation in the larger ecosystem, said Geoff Samek, senior product manager for ads data and privacy at Google.
Google doesn’t claim Ads Data Hub represents its move to “people-based marketing,” popularized by Facebook, but agency sources see parallels between the two offerings.
Ads Data Hub runs on Google’s analytics data warehouse, BigQuery, which keeps data secure while preventing advertisers and tech vendors from extracting user-level data.
Here’s the thrust of it: Advertisers can push their own first- or third-party data sets into Google's BigQuery database to commingle with post-campaign data associated with various user IDs, including login data from users who have opted in.
In this way, advertisers and their ad tech vendors get access to more (anonymized) data than they would if they were just using a pixel for measurement. But the trade-off is that they must access and analyze the data in BigQuery.
“The core future benefit of Ads Data Hub is the access to impression-level data tied to Google’s cross-device ID, so in essence Google is enabling a move to people-based measurement,” said Slavi Samardzija, global CEO of Annalect, Omnicom’s data and analytics division.
Expanding advertiser access to other cross-device Google data sets, such as search and location, would further strengthen Google’s measurement and attribution capability, Samardzija added.
And so far, Ads Data Hub isn’t for media activation. The impression-level data Google shares across Ads Data Hub is only available for measurement and reporting right now – but that will soon change.
Google says Ads Data Hub will eventually enable advertisers to “buy media with greater precision.”
While Ads Data Hub could eventually set up one-to-one measurement and ad targeting, some industry watchers worry that it also strengthens Google’s massive walled garden.
“It's still a pitch to use DoubleClick for DMP-style measurement and targeting,” said one agency buyer. “They have a strong claim about their ability to sync users across devices, and video, display and search. But ultimately the product exists to fuel inventory sales.”
The evidence for these possible shifts, however, is only circumstantial.
Some ad buyers think the Ads Data Hub acts like a DMP because of its functionality. Also, in the past, Google has restricted third-party DMPs on GDN and more recently reduced support for third-party pixels and cookies on YouTube.
However, Samek insisted Ads Data Hub is not a new DMP for Google. Nor does Google restrict the types of marketing databases or data management systems that can hook into the system, he said.
“Google has its own data management platform in the form of Audience Center,” Samek said, “but this is really a more complete measurement system for our partners.”