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Google Makes A Bid For More Premium Display Dollars With ‘Above The Fold’ Ads

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Now that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has done the heavy lifting of fully integrating and, last month, upgrading DoubleClick’s system with AdSense and AdWords, the search giant plans a series of tweaks as it strives to make display its “next billion-dollar business,” as CEO Eric Schmidt put it.

One way to get there is more premium pricing from brand advertisers as opposed to Google’s typical direct response campaigns. And that’s the focus of a new tool Google is unveiling today that promises “above the fold” placement for display ads. Aimed at major marketers, advertisers will be able to bid against each other for display units across the Google Content Network with the guarantee that the winning ads will appear only in the top half of users’ screens.

In an interview with paidContent, Brad Bender, Google’s product management director, noted that when up to this point, advertisers who bought display on Google weren’t able to accurately select where their ads would show up. Major advertisers had been asking for a way to make sure that users see their ads when clicking on a site immediately, as opposed to seeing the spot once they scroll down.

Rather than try to adopt the Online Publishers Association’s ad formats, which offer takeovers or follow users as they scroll down a web page, Google being Google, the company opted for what Bender calls “a statistically driven approach.” And that’s where the bidding — and Google’s ability to identify different browser formats, monitor sizes and screen resolutions — comes in. “In contrast to cost-per-click ad buys, which is about connecting to users by starting conversations, advertisers buying according to CPMs mainly want to get their ads in front of the right users immediately,” Bender said. “This filtering tool helps satisfy that need.”

Inside AdWords Blog Post:

New tool for brand advertisers on the Google Content Network

Two types of advertisers run campaigns across the Google Content Network. The first group, direct response advertisers, measure the success of their campaigns by looking for clicks, traffic to their sites and sales. In contrast, brand advertisers typically use display ads to raise awareness and purchase consideration for a product or service a person might buy down the road. Other advertisers are looking to achieve a combination of these goals to both drive awareness and elicit a response.

On the Google Content Network, we’ve been focused on building new capabilities that make it a great place for brand advertising of all kinds. For example, last year we introduced frequency capping to enable advertisers to manage how often their campaign reaches the right users. We’ve also developed new innovative tools to measure the impact of brand campaigns. Today, in response to feedback from brand advertisers, we’re announcing a new feature that allow these advertisers to reach their advertising goals more easily.

This feature, which filters out “Below the Fold” inventory, enables brand advertisers to be more selective about where ads appear. The new filter gives advertisers the ability to show ads only in places that appear on the user’s screen when the page loads, without requiring them to scroll down. Learn more in the Help Center.

With a host of different web browsers, monitor sizes and screen resolutions, it is hard for advertisers to predict where an ad will land, since the same placement may appear significantly different on each user’s screen. To simplify the process for advertisers, Google has implemented a statistically driven solution to determine which ads are above and below the fold. The statistically-driven model only considers ads “above the fold” if they are completely on-screen when the browser window loads.

Our goal with this release is to give brand advertisers greater control over where their ads appear, and make the Google Content Network an even more powerful, controlled environment for running, high performing brand campaigns.

Inside AdSense Blog Post:

Attracting new brand advertisers to your site


6 Responses to “Google Makes A Bid For More Premium Display Dollars With ‘Above The Fold’ Ads”

  1. Anything that is above the fold will unquestionably get more views, and thus is more valuable. Using this feature from Google is certainly an interesting addition to advertisers using the service. I would imagine that most people would want “above the fold” displays. Wouldn’t you guys agree?

  2. I’m sure advertisers have told Google that they will pay more for above the fold, but it will only be 50%-80% more. That is still a fraction of what they would have to pay if they went direct.

    Unfortunately, for the past two years, advertisers have been able to get on the sites they care about because those sites didn’t have enough direct advertisers to fill their inventory. This just removes one more important feature that agencies used to have to go direct to get. If they can get enough of these things in place before demand for top quality sites starts to force advertisers to go direct, they could kill direct sales, which is clearly their goal.

    Unfortunately, Google’s model really doesn’t work for sites that have the high costs of producing original content. You really need higher eCPM/page views to pay journalists.

  3. @Joshua, Placement is a big deal when selling display ads not based on AdSense CTR’s. Google is following the premium display players like Yahoo who has Home and Channel Main take overs and Glam Media, who launched the first ATF (above-the-fold) Ads with women targeting and behavior. Very important as most Ad Network ads are run below the fold, and not reported as “not seen”. Will be good for the web display business, good for publishers and advertisers.