Google quantifies display advertising trends

I love Google.  I mean, really – I love Google.

It’s pretty safe to state that most people know how to Google, but what you may not know is that Google is always putting out tons of really useful information.  You may have to dig through some blogs to get to it, but if you look hard enough, you will find quite a bit of information about really useful things.  Yesterday (29 May 2012) is no exception as Google released “Digital Business Trends: Publisher Edition.”  You may download the report as a PDF “here.”

If you do any online advertising, you should really read this report as it directly impacts the media design and buying decision-making process.  Among the findings, for example, are that traditional 468×60 banner ads have fallen out of favor, representing 3% of ad impressions. By contrast, three larger ads—the medium rectangle (300×250), leaderboard (728×90) and skyscraper (160×600)—constitute 80% of impressions.

According to the report, publishers face the ever-changing complexities of selling display ads and reaching new audiences. As a business partner to publishers around the world, Google is no stranger to these challenges. We rely on data-based insights to guide our business decisions. During our routine deep-dives into the publisher display dynamics, we frequently notice trends that may be of interest to our clients as well, which is what prompted us to introduce this research publication. This premiere issue focuses on trends in the publisher display business. It is not meant to be a comprehensive industry report or forecast; rather its purpose is to share trends that publishers worldwide may find useful in planning digital strategies, gleaning new insights, and supporting their hunches. The metrics in this publication are derived from Google publisher products—DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Google AdSense network—to allow us to provide commentary on various display patterns, including geographic, vertical, and ad size trends over time. Based on rigorous methodology, the data sets contain tens of billions of impressions served by publishers globally, and are aggregated to preserve publisher confidentiality.

The information in the report is divided into sections:

Channel Mix

An ongoing challenge for publishers is to strike the right balance between direct sales (reserved) to advertisers and indirect sales (unreserved) through third-party channels such as networks and exchanges. How inventory is allocated between these two channels impacts overall ad revenue, since reserved inventory is generally sold at a higher price. In DFP, publishers assign different levels of inventory according to each channel.  These levels are aggregated here to illustrate what we’re calling the channel mix: the ratio of impressions between reserved and unreserved inventory.

Publisher Vertical and Geographic Comparisons

Using the aggregated impressions running through DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Google AdSense, this section compares how unreserved publisher inventory is spread across vertical subject content and geographic areas worldwide.

Ad Sizes

Publishers can maximize their revenue by choosing to offer ad sizes that are in higher demand by advertisers. They aim to strike a balance between customized ad packages with exclusive sizes that can be tailored to the needs of an individual advertiser, and standardized sizes that will accommodate creatives from the majority of advertisers and networks.

Mobile Web Ad Impressions

With consumer mobile usage growing rapidly, publishers are rethinking their content monetization strategy. Advertisers look to reach audiences across screens and formats, and publishers are responding to this demand with ever-more sophisticated channels for monetizing mobile content. Mobile has become essential to the overall ad inventory mix, but some publisher verticals on the mobile web are growing faster than others.

Video Ads

Videos tell stories—from publishers as well as advertisers.  Video is becoming a lucrative part of a publisher’s ad inventory, partly because it offers creative opportunities that attract brand advertisers, and partly due to tremendous viewer demand. We’re excited about the growth in video advertising, and we have more comprehensive metrics in store—so stay tuned for more to come.

I have already found the report to be quite useful (I’m already quoting it) and while I am usually hesitant to quote only one source for data, the data sets used to obtain the metrics presented in this report are sourced from DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) ad serving platform, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and Google AdSense, which makes for a large enough sample size to be fairly useful in my opinion.

Download and enjoy.

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