Google Beefs Up DFP Mobile: Q&A With Marcel Gordon, Product Manager, DFP Mobile

 

While Google introduced core mobile ad serving capabilities to the DoubleClick for Publishers ad serving suite last summer, the company is just now releasing the real mobile muscle. Launched today (check out the blog post), DFP Mobile offers support for a wide array of mobile rich media ad formats such as video interstitials, advanced targeting options, forecasting and reporting functions, QR code previews for testing creative and more. Fortunately DFP Product Manager Marcel Gordon gave us an inside look at the ad server’s improved capabilities as well as insight into what publishers desire on the mobile front and how the landscape will change in the near future.
 
How does this new add-on module to the DFP ad server expand on the mobile ad serving features you released over the summer?
 
In the summer we released core mobile ad serving functionality in DFP, giving every DFP publisher the ability to serve ads to mobile websites and mobile applications. The DFP Mobile module extends this feature set, allowing publishers to capture more opportunities on mobile. The new features in DFP Mobile include mobile rich media capabilities, advanced targeting options, better support for feature phones and tighter integrations with mobile ad networks.
 
Which feature in particular do you believe will absolutely wow your publisher clients, and why? Perhaps the integrations with other Google products?
 
We definitely see a lot of value in providing seamless integrations with other Google products, and we think that opening up the DoubleClick Ad Exchange for mobile is going to have a huge impact, but the “wow” features in DFP Mobile are definitely the richer ad formats. For example, we’ve allowed publishers to create full-screen video ads for mobile applications by just dragging and dropping a video into DFP. We handle the transcoding and select the right format to serve. This enables publishers to deliver an ad format that until now has only been available via ad networks.
 
What do you believe differentiates the forecasting and reporting capabilities from other mobile ad servers?
 
We don’t think about DFP Mobile as a mobile ad server; rather, DFP is an ad server that understands mobile from the ground up. Mobile campaigns run on the same ad serving platform that DFP provides for desktop. That gives publishers access to all of the reporting and forecasting functionality of DFP, including forecasting that updates in realtime and reporting on non-targeted key values.
 
Can you explain the QR code previews for testing creative on real devices?
 
We heard from publishers that checking that a particular creative works on a variety of mobile devices is very painful. To alleviate that, we’ve added QR codes to our creative previews, allowing traffickers to scan a QR code and see the ad on the phone. It’s simple feature, but we’ve seen a very positive response from ad operations teams - it really speeds up the testing process, giving time back to focus on operations.
 
What are the benefits for publishers of having a one-stop ad-serving shop -- display, mobile and video?
 
Publishers tell us that the opportunity to unify their forecasting, trafficking and reporting on one platform is invaluable. It gives a single view of the business and enables the ad operations team to work in a single tool. On the mobile front, we’re particularly excited about the opportunities that a single platform creates in a world of device proliferation. Having a single platform will be essential as advertisers look to reach their audience across all devices.
 
What do you see as the limitations? How are you addressing these?
 
Audience targeting is the biggest challenge on mobile right now. We want to help publishers to maximize the value of their audience across all their content, but mobile web sites and mobile applications present special technical challenges. We know this is something our publisher partners want and we will continue to invest in this area.
 
How do you feel publishers could adapt their businesses to better serve their mobile users, in particular on the ad front?
 
We’ve seen some wonderful success stories where publishers have gone beyond just delivering content to mobile devices, and re-imagined how their content could be useful to their users. Some of these are transformative: One longtime online publisher told us that just months after releasing a mobile application, they had more traffic on mobile than desktop.
 
Applications in particular present an exciting opportunity to rethink the ad experience, making it more integrated with the overall user experience. In DFP Mobile, we’re striving to balance simplicity with the flexibility that publishers need to innovate in this space. It’s definitely not a zero sum game.
 
What are your thoughts on mobile ad standards, such as the recently announced MRAID program from the IAB?
 
Google has been closely involved in the development of the MRAID standard, and we’re implementing it for both DFP and AdMob. MRAID will simplify mobile advertising and increase reach for advertisers. It will also be the foundation for bringing mobile application inventory to the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, unlocking real-time bidding and large scale spending through DSPs.
 
Q: What are the biggest changes coming to the mobile ad ecosystem in the next few months? How about the next year?
 
We’ve seen a huge investment in mobile in 2011, at Google and across the industry. The key components of the display advertising ecosystem are going to emerge in the next few months. I’m particularly excited about the potential for ad exchanges to unlock large advertiser spend and bring publishers higher CPMs by maximizing the value of each impression.

Mobile inherits all the technology that has been built over the past few years for desktop, from direct deals to DSPs, so ad exchanges bring a tremendous range of new possibilities for publishers.

 

 

 

 

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Marcel is a Product Manager at Google, leading the mobile efforts on DFP, DoubleClick’s publisher ad serving suite. Marcel has been a PM at Google for over four years, working on projects ranging from click fraud in AdSense to Google Alerts.

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