Is Google Instant A Real-Time Bidders Dream?

That’s what it’s called – “Google Instant” and according to the AdWords help section, as users type, AdWords will deliver ads: “As a user starts to type a search, Google Instant automatically shows results for a popular search that begins with those letters. An algorithm tries to predict what the rest of the query might be based on popular queries typed by other users. The predicted text is shown in light grey in the search box, and search results and ads are automatically shown for that predicted query.” Read the help page. And, visit the Google Instant site.

Oh baby.. this could have far reaching implications, bidder-holics.

For now, this appears to be just for search queries on – not for graphical display which could, in theory, be connected with Google’s search partners. Imagine targeting an “instant” of a query using real-time bidding (RTB) with a display ad. Someone could bid on “demand” or “demand side” only and potentially beat bidders for long(er)-tail phrases such as “demand-side platform,” etc. Search and display come closer together. Nutty.

What’s more – think about the Google search partner who gets paid on a CPM basis. Do you think they’d move their AdSense tag higher in their ad network stack if they were getting paid more through multiple Instant display ad impressions? Sure! – Perhaps the consumer sees 3 ads instead of one with some sort of time and impression limit set by Google and/or the publisher. Diabolical! OK, to be clear, this is not happening yet.

But wait. Let’s keep going while the RTB mojo is flowing.

One more thing on paid ad impressions around organic search on If Google made its paid search ads real-time bidding enabled, where the bidders could see a user cookie as a user inputs a query, all bidding hell breaks loose especially when its overlayed with the quality score black box. Attribution between display and search and other digital channels gets even tighter. Ad spend increases as marketers can clearly see the effects between channels as the bidding swivels on the cookie. Publishers with valuable audience make mo’ money which fuels creation of better or sustained content for consumers. It’s a Holy Grail! – or should be.

And, the Kawaja ecosystem map will fragment into 100 more maps as new SEMs, agencies, DSPs, maybe your mom, start their own bidding shop.

And, will get a new links page.

And, Google will own us all.

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  1. All interesting points, John. Thanks for closing the loop for us display folks. It will be fascinating to see what other technologies and tactics develop out of this. Unlike Ping, this feels like a game-changer.

  2. DSP Jockey

    So a searcher typing in terms will get rapid-fire ads based on each word? Sounds like a logistical and attribution nightmare.

  3. Varoujan Bedirian

    RTB seems to be at a stage where we’d try to pair it with just about any other system/functionality to see if it’d stick. Surprised there haven’t been RTB-Ping posts.

    Reason Google is incentivized Not to make paid search ads RTB-enabled is that doing so would undermine its grip of the search marketplace. Prerequisite of cornering search is to have as much of the keyword targeted search campaigns running in Google’s own system (keeps other search providers needing Google for demand; encourages more campaigns to be entered in Google as the nexus of distribution, etc. to the virtuous cycle).

    The other point about search partner query changing the content of the page and the display ad alongside that content, for each keystroke entered … now this would not only entail predicting on only searches entered on that site (to make predictions more relevant), but also minimizing page design to load content quickly, comparing eCPM of Google provided display ad (based on search keystrokes entered so far) with site sold (and most probably audience targeted) campaign, and being able to load the winner very quickly (meaning potentially cutting off 3rd party ad servers). All issues that Google avoids by having Instant functionality on Google O&O SERP, since the latter is pretty clean, is completely within Google’s design control and does not have any 3rd party (RTB or not) serving on it for the general public.

    • Jason White

      Well said, V and you are absolutely right. The biggest way for G to lose control of their marketplace is to not see what is coming into it and as John mentioned, everyone and their mom gets into it. So it begs the question of the display publisher, have they given up on seeing transparency of the ad being delivered on their site and what assurances do they have there won’t be a “race to 0” once they dump inventory in AdEx? Is this rationale for the pub aggregator to exist?

      • Varoujan Bedirian

        Hey Jason. Good point.
        In Display, AdX does ask for a lot of creative-side transparency from buyers in RTB (landing pages blocked, ad servers passed through, verification providers used, ad categories blocked, etc.), but I do not know (maybe someone can elaborate) whether Google shows to their publishers the served results along these dimensions.
        Having said that, there’s still money to be made being 2nd, 3rd or 4th in the growing industry of publisher aggregators, but the aggregation strategy needs to be that of primary ad server kind (DFP), not secondary (Pubmatic, etc.), otherwise, the primary ad server technology company can innovate the secondary out of business, much like we’re seeing with Google and their DFP + AdX one-two punch.

  4. Instead of bidding on keywords, we will now start bidding on key letters.

    How much are you willing to pay for “B” for Britney Spears?