I’ve read loads of reports about the new Google Onsite Advertiser Sign-up facility and seen one semi-decent discussion of it, but nobody quite seems to have got it yet. Advertisers can now choose a site and say to Google: “manage my ads on this site please – I’m not going to book direct any longer.”
For the past couple of years, I’ve been saying that whilst AdWords has made Google one of the largest advertising mediums in the world, the most significant thing about AdSense is that it’s making Google the largest media buyer in the world. Several more pieces are needed along the way for this to fully happen, but with the introduction of image ads (giving the advertiser more choice) and now Onsite Advertiser Sign-up, we’re getting there. Think about it: you can now put the ad you design on the site you want it to be on, via Google. Job done. Google takes a commission (from the publisher, just like with conventional media buying), and Google provides all the feedback and stats (just like a conventional media buyer would if they were any good).
But how will this affect publishers? Let’s look at it from the advertiser’s point of view. Supposing you’ve traditionally booked your ads direct on your chosen site with that site’s local ad sales rep. Chances are, the site won’t be offering nearly as sophisticated a reporting service as Google, never mind a trustworthy pay-per-click service (if that’s what you want, and I suspect most B2B advertisers do). So quite frankly, why not book with Google now, rather than the site’s local ad rep? If this starts to happen in a major way, it can only erode further the cost-effectiveness of having ad sales people out in the wild.
Sure, publishers don’t have to allow “Onsite Advertiser Sign-up”, i.e the facility for advertisers to book through Google instead of directly. But they may have to if the advertisers demand it.