We all know Google is big, but today a few things popped up that should be shaking the media industry in its very foundation. Sadly, I doubt that will happen, partly because the media industry is profit focussed and partly because it does not really know what its core competence is.
Jason Calacanis recently sent out an email in relation to Google starting Knol entitled “Is Google a content company?” This included one nice list:
Let’s run a test: what is the role of a content publisher?
1. Secure talent
2. Distribute their work
3. Monetize that work
4. Pay the content creator for their work
5. Build a library of that work for future monetization
If we can roughly agree that this is correct, then Google is a content company, at least with Knol, but possibly even because of the simple fact that many blogs are using AdSense. And if you look at some bigger publisher you are somebody wondering if Google didn’t secure their talent in an AdSense deal, is distributing their work via Google, monetizing it via AdSense, paying them a share and indexing the work for future monetization.
So all in all, Google is becoming a publisher.
Obviously, next up is advertising, the monetization part. Google came to the monetization of search via text links by accident and largely copied Overture. And now with Knol, they are trying to monetize more of the second clicks, which is actually similar in AdSense. If people don’t click on an AdSense link right away, then let them do it in the second click. Of course it was all performance driven but that let out the branding part of the business.
Then Google bought Doubleclick and boy is the strategy amazing. Their Adsense covers the smaller 100k visitors sites and Doubleclick covers the rest. Just check this Attributor post. It’s scary.
Today Google announced a few new additions to their content network … like Frequency Capping, which Plentyoffish is all happy about, understandably so, and argues that it will make Google dominate display ads. I personally think the last two points are the scary ones:
- Improved Ads Quality: Brings performance improvements within the Google content network.
- View-Through Conversions: Enables advertisers to gain insights on how many users visited their sites after seeing an ad. This helps advertisers determine the best places to advertise so users will see more relevant ads.
As a short background, what Google now does is serve a Doubleclick Cookie with each AdSense ad request, effectively creating one big cookie/profiling network over all Doubleclick and AdSense instances. But what are Doubleclick instances? Those are actually way more than the publisher installations DFP (Dart for Publishers) but also DFA (Dart for Advertisers). So an Agency like Pilot might run a DFA instance and use it to track AdImpressions of bookings they had, clicks as well as conversions. And this is where the scary part is. Those agencies will be able to (with a few twists) book directly into any AdSense placement that has image ads enabled. And they have a cookie about the user that clicks through having booked an Ad on a big publisher. Run a Frequency Capping campaign on a few of the biggest publishers out there where the audience is that you believe to want to attract, cookieing the user, then targeting them on AdSense. This model might still be a few days out but this is where this is going. At least, I have not heard yet that there will be no cookie sharing from DFA and DFP instances.
And on the other side, there are a lot of players out there that generate leads through Google’s clicks. This is a huge market, I know, and you know what… Google is going there too. Check out Google Merchant Search Beta, where Google is generating leads (possibly even sales, because they don’t say how the billing works) for credit institutes. Damn god.
Google is simply using their vast data pool to take a look at what to launch next. By now they are becoming a publisher, pushing further into advertising in both directions (clicks to leads and clicks to branding) and using their vast data pool to become more of the web. Bummer.
I see that many people out there do not want Google to become online Advertising but I am not sure if their “don’t want to” is linked to some strategy that is filtered through to the profit centers having no option but to use Google.