Commentary

Hidden In Google's Alphabet Soup Is A Wave Of Media Measurement Advancements

Shrouded beneath Google’s Alphabet announcement were two other announcements Google made this month to bolster its ad validation and media measurement capabilities.

The first announcement came last week when Google inked a deal with comScore to make comScore’s validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) available to brands in the U.S. via DoubleClick Digital Marketing and DoubleClick for Publishers.

The second announcement -- which came on the same day as the Alphabet news, so it could have easily been missed -- regarded an expanded partnership with Nielsen, another other media measurement powerhouse. The Nielsen partnership makes Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings available to DoubleClick Bid Manager clients in Australia, Brazil, Canada and the U.K. Nielsen’s ad ratings have been available via DoubleClick Bid Manager in the U.S. since late 2014

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Search Marketing Daily has more on the comScore partnership and Real-Time Daily has the full story on the Nielsen deal, but it’s certainly no coincidence that Google (or Alphabet?) doubled down on ad verification and measurement with both comScore and Nielsen within one week of each other. 

Also, this month Google made the decision to remove YouTube inventory from the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. The company also updated a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to bring the concept of viewability to an entire Web page, not just the ads on the page.

The browser often shows only part of a Web page, creating difficulty in verifying whether an advertisement on the Web page served up in view,” wrote Real-Time Daily, explaining the patent. “The patent provides examples of ads in view, but it also suggests that companies can use the method to identify other types of content by frequently referring to ‘content for display.’”

Some in the industry, such as Magnetic CEO James Green, believe Google already offers the cleanest ad exchange out there, but all of these moves -- the comScore/Nielsen partnerships, the YouTube plans and the focus on viewability -- indicate Google’s desire to clean up the programmatic media marketplace even further.

Heading into 2015, one of my programmatic predictions was that two ad tech players would “rise above the rest by the end of 2015 with a full compliment of offerings.” Google was already a frontrunner, and these developments serve to separate Google even further from the field.

And that’s because the industry is zeroing in on curbing fraud and cleaning up the inventory available to programmatic buyers. Essentially, the technology required for programmatic trading at scale is in place, and now buyers and sellers want to use that technology to the best of its ability. The best way to do that is by improving targeting, viewability, measurement, fraud detection and other quality boosters. Google’s moves show that it’s ahead of -- or at the very least, on par with -- this curve.

The Alphabet news is understandably getting all of the attention right now, but the ad tech arms race is still alive and well, and Google clearly regards itself a favorite. Why else would it be building its walls higher and higher?

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