Google's DoubleClick Ad Server Gets Major Upgrade

Better ad management, distribution and new features are the focus of Google's DoubleClick upgrade.
Posted February 22, 2010

David Needle

Google continues to invest in DoubleClick, the ad management system it bought in 2007 for a whopping $3.1 billion. Today Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) released a major upgrade to the ad server that includes a new interface and new features designed to make it easier for publishers to manage ad campaigns across multiple Web sites, including when they want them to appear.

Neal Mohan, vice president of product management at Google, said the upgrade improves ad serving by combining Google's technology and infrastructure with DoubleClick's display advertising and ad-serving experience.

"For major online publishers -- including social networks and online communities, entertainment sites, e-commerce sites and news sites -- managing, delivering and measuring the performance of ads on their Web sites can be a hugely complicated process. A publisher's ability to manage this process can have a significant impact on how much money they make from their online content," Mohan said in a blog post announcing the upgrade.

The upgraded DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) includes more detailed reporting and forecasting data that Mohan said will help publishers understand where their revenue is coming from and what ads are most valuable. Google also said it's incorporated sophisticated algorithms that automatically improve ad performance and delivery.

Two other noteworthy changes include integration with the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange's "dynamic allocation" feature. With dynamic allocation, Google said publishers will be able to open up their ad space to bids from a variety of ad networks. Finally, Google said it's also released a new public API that publishers can use to build and integrate their own applications with DFP or integrate those of third parties. Google noted that users already have sales, order management and workflow tools are currently under development.

IDC analyst Karsten Weide said the integration features and other improvements are solid moves by Google, though he thinks Yahoo's (NASDAQ: YHOO) lead in the online display category isn't threatened.

"Ad services like this are a technological service where there is a lot of competition and it's kind of a commodity business -- it's not where the real money is," Weide told

"But this strengthens Google's position and they have some nice features here. Clients do want to integrate their media plays across different formats including search and display, so anything you do to simplify that and reduce the friction there, with all the different dashboards and systems, is good."

In addition to Google, its main Web rivals have paid dearly to capture more of the ad services market. Microsoft paid $6 billion in cash for online ad company aQuantive back in 2007. Two weeks after Google bought DoubleClick, Yahoo announced it would pay $680 million in cash and stock for the remaining 80 percent of the Right Media advertising exchange it didn't already own.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: Google, Yahoo, DoubleClick, ad exchange, dynamic allocation

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