Google’s Brad Bender Takes Steps To ‘Democratize Programmatic’ For Buyers

Brad-Bender-Google-headshotGoogle is building a technology platform that will underpin two of its buy-side solutions: DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), a DSP and ad server for large advertisers, and Google Display Network (GDN), where search advertisers and small advertisers play.

“We think there are huge opportunities to democratize programmatic for Google Display Network buyers,” said Brad Bender, VP of product.

In February, Bender took charge of DBM and buy-side ad server DoubleClick Campaign Manager.

Since then, he has made one critical change to GDN that made it look at lot more like DBM. Buyers can now buy outside of Google’s network, albeit in one narrow use case: retargeting campaigns.

“We are really proud of our reach, with 2 million high-quality sites, but for the speed factor we are partnering with a number of exchanges,” Bender said.

Bender talked about that change, and more, with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: GDN buyers now have access to other exchanges. Does that change what you’re doing on Google’s exchange?

BRAD BENDER: Of course, when possible, we are going to be buying on our own exchange because there are advantages when we do so. It improves latency because we have server-to-server connections. The breadth and quality of publisher partners in our exchange, the technology infrastructure and the protections we have, in terms of spam filters, fraud filters – this is market-leading innovation. The cross-exchange inventory on GDN only applies to remarketing, where speed is important.

What kind of differences exist between the two platforms now? If I put the same budget and targeting behind a campaign in GDN vs. DBM, what kind of discrepancies would I see in performance?

What we found with DBM is that because it’s hooked up to multiple exchange environments, we can see users with the speed that I talked about. Fundamentally, it’s about bringing the best of both worlds together to bringing maximum performance to advertisers. It comes back to what kind of marketer they are. If they are seeking advanced controls, integrated workflow and to buy direct from publishers, that’s DBM. Or if they are someone starting from AdWords, the starting point is GDN.

Are any of these changes in response to your fast-growing competitor, Facebook? Facebook is also targeting the advertising long tail and is building out Audience Network to go up against GDN.

As a general rule we don’t comment on what other competitors are doing. With our unique intent signals, our new mobile ad formats, the reach and inventory, we feel we are in a unique position to democratize access to these powerful programmatic tools.

Google has made mobile the center of many of its product announcements recently, indicating work is being done. But someone I recently quoted said, “Google is behind in mobile, and knows it.” I’ve heard that sentiment echoed by others. Why are people saying that?

There are lots of third-party estimates. We are very happy with our mobile business. I won’t repeat all those announcements, but that points to the progress there. If you look at most of our major launches over the past few years, they’ve all been mobile.

Opening up GDN to cross-exchange inventory seems more open, but Google also closed off YouTube inventory to outside exchanges last year. How should we understand those two things in relation to each other?

Our focus is being a good partner to our clients and the industry. We have dozens of integrations with data partners, DMPs and other third parties. YouTube specifically is a separate matter and the reality is that [the] buying that was happening via the exchange was very slim.

What about the CRM matching product Customer Match? What potential does that hold for display?

That’s on the search side – search, YouTube and Gmail. I can just say from my perspective that it’s moving ahead well.

What about publisher-facing products like DFP First Look or exchange bidding in dynamic allocation? How are those changes to supply connections affecting the buy side?

We are always striving to stay close to our publisher partners and hearing what their needs are. We strive to be a good partner first. We want to make sure solutions work for all parties, and I include the advertiser and the users and their experience in that as well.

This interview has been condensed and edited.



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