The Big Story: Imagining A Google Ad Tech Spinoff

The Big Story podcast

As US regulators increase antitrust pressure on Google, the company is considering offering its ad tech business as a concession to the US Justice Department, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Such a move could include a spinoff of a few ad tech products: the former DoubleClick DSP, now known as Google DV360, the Authorized Buyers exchange and the sell-side Google Ad Manager business (once DoubleClick for Publishers), says Ari Paparo, founder of Marketecture. Google’s mobile app-focused AdMob exchange would likely be spun off as well.

The winners of a Google ad tech breakup would likely be independent ad tech DSPs, competitive exchanges and marketers – as long as they haven’t invested too heavily in the full Google stack, given that those connections could be broken, Paparo adds.

If such a spinoff happened, effects would be seen in three vectors. First, DSPs would regain access to YouTube inventory. Second, publishers may have more choices besides Google Ad Manager, since they wouldn’t lose privileged access to AdSense and Google Ads demand. And third, YouTube content creators would benefit by the demand if all DSPs can serve ads to YouTube, rather than just DV360.

That said, there’s no guarantee that such a move would include all these products to be divested by Google or opened up to third parties. As Paparo points out, another walled garden behemoth, Facebook, has a full walled garden with no outside access to its ad units, which shields it from this flavor of antitrust issue.

When Google made its DSP the only way to access YouTube, barring outside DSPs from its inventory, it linked two separate products together and opened itself up to antitrust scrutiny.

Also in this episode: Google Analytics’ big transition next year is throwing marketers for a loop. But for publishers, the effects should be more muted. When it comes to priorities, managing the Google Chrome third-party deprecation is still a much larger (and more revenue-impactful) undertaking.

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