Last week we learned that from early next year, Google intends to only sell YouTube inventory via its own buy-side products, namely Adwords and Doubleclick Bid Manager (DBM). This will prevent non-Google DSPs from being able to buy YouTube inventory programmatically. VAN asked some of the space’s leading companies what they thought of Google’s decision and how it is likely to affect the wider video advertising market.
Rob Norman, Chief Digital Officer, GroupM
Put simply, this means that no other DSP will be able to buy TrueView inventory programmatically, so there will be significant impairment to video DSPs including TubeMogul, AOL and other video dependent programmatic platforms. This move will also affect certain advertisers who have elected not to align on the Google tech stack, who are going to incur significant operating inefficiencies by having to deploy new technology or face losing a significant source of supply. This raises associated questions of aligning on a single tech stack operated by a source of inventory.
We have consistently supported open competitive markets with access to all players with the appropriate technology. Our expectation is that the ad tech sector will respond negatively and interpret the move as a restrictive practice. We also believe the sector will attempt to offset the impact by focusing on aggregating other sources of video supply.
We created GroupM Connect specifically to allow access to all supply sources and develop expertise on all DSPs – including DBM – and as such the operating implications are minimal. We created Xaxis to create value for advertisers through sophisticated and superior targeting via Turbine and believe that the remaining video supply is more than sufficient to allow that. We have emphasised to Google that we believe that this move is counter to the best interests of the market, including Google itself, and have encouraged them to actively consider wider DSP integration in the shortest possible timeframe. At the very least we would hope and expect that Google will allow DBM (and by extension TrueView) to integrate sufficiently to become a supply source to other DSPs.
Jeff Green, CEO, The Trade Desk
Programmatic thrives on an open marketplace: publishers want to monetize their inventory by welcoming as wide a range of appropriate buyers as possible, and buyers want to access that inventory via their platform of choice. While YouTube inventory may only represent a small piece of our business (less than 2 percent), I worry that it’s a step backward for Google in supporting the open ads marketplace that so many sellers and buyers have voted with their inventory and dollars to support.
YouTube was once the biggest property in programmatic. They are a very small part of it now. I’m disappointed to see them leave the open market, but I credit them with being a catalyst to forcing more of the premium content (non-UGC) to participate. We hope and expect that Google will open YouTube inventory back to the marketplace at the encouragement of their direct clients on the sell and buy sides.
Gar Smyth, VP of Marketing, DataXu
This is a publisher vs publisher battle. Its Facebook vs Google vs other walled gardens where the battle is being played out. Facebook limits inventory on its open exchanges, while concurrently trying to out-Google Google by allowing its advertisers to extend its ads to properties outside of Facebook. Meanwhile, Google doesn’t want Facebook to have this access to a premium source, and shuts them down.
DataXu is an interested observer in these publisher inventory battles. We’re strongly aligned with advertisers and their agencies rather than publishers. We will always advocate an open transparent market where the open market dynamics provide the true value of an impression.
The walled garden strategy is like a closed economy – it’s the Chinese economy 25 years ago with price controls and price protection practices. Overall, not beneficial for advertisers, consumers or the industry at large.
Rich Astley, UK Managing Director, Videology
This decision by Google moves them one step further away from the open ecosystem model that the industry seems to be moving toward. As content continues to diversify and viewing migrates across devices, we see many TV advertisers choosing to use independent technology platforms that allow them to manage audience delivery unfettered across screens and ecosystems.
This runs contrary to the notion of keeping YouTube inventory within the walled garden of DoubleClick products. That said, Google AdX represents only a small proportion of the video inventory our platform users choose to select here in the UK, so we aren’t overly worried about the impact for our customers, only the message it sends to an industry looking for more convergence, not less.