Friday, August 11, 2017

(The Big Disrupt) Google: Why Publishers need to concerned with Google's recent moves

Being publisher is probably the hottest seat in the digital ad ecosystem and it's about to get hotter as Google goes on the warpath against "bad ads" recently outing 1,000 publishers, Forbes Magazine among them, about the quality of ads on their sites.  

Google weren't exactly resting on their laurels last year as the search ad giant went to town on "bad ads" with the Mountain View based company throwing out 1.7 billion ads out of its network. Google also kicked out 200 publishers out of their network suspected of providing "fake news".  

While it's great that Google taking a much tougher stance against the bad ads we hate the most such as pop ups and interstitial ads, the clear losers in this play are publishers who now may be publicly shamed, receive stern warnings via email or outright blocked out of Google's ad network if their ads don't meet standards Google themselves played a role in creating. 

Add to that, with Google planning to release their own ad blocking app in the near future, publishers may find themselves further under the grip of its "partners". This is also bad news for Ad blockers as publishers will almost certainly choose to follow Google's guidelines than pay ad blockers whitelist their ads who neither the reach or ecosystem Google has. What's more is that ad blockers are just as dependent as publishers on Google's ecosystem. When Google releases their new ad blocker, ad blockers are going to see a sharp downturn in users and revenue as Google will almost certainly use chrome, the world largest browser by market share to shut out its competition.  

The relationship between Google and publishers is complex yet remarkably one sided. let's remember that Publishers don't do business with Google because they want to, they do business with google to earn revenue they already lost in the open market. with Google and Facebook vacuuming most the growth in the digital ad marketplace, publishers have no choice but to deal with these companies or die a slow death. The downside of this scenario is obvious as publishers are increasingly relying on their competition for revenue which in turn gives Google and Facebook a lot of power, power neither is shy about exercising.      

Publishers are more than aware that Google's tougher stance will affect them more than most as publishers lose revenue as Google continue to purge ads on their platform in the name of better ads which will have the effect driving up ad rates due to less ad inventory which makes Google's drive to clean up its ecosystem look as cynical power play as it gets. The effect of Google's recent changes has seen publishers report large drops in their CPC (cost per click) per ad rates since Google trialled their ad blocker last week. While publishers may see their CPC numbers return to normal in the next few days or weeks, it speaks to the lengths Google are willing to go to bring publishers to heel. 

In sum, what we're really seeing here isn't Google taking steps to deal with one of the biggest problem in the digital ad ecosystem but an expression of just how much power they have over it as they now can determine what constitutes a good ad and, by proxy, the inventory they display. What all this means is that Google is tightening its grip and publishers would do well not crumble in its grasp.  

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