Google says its data ‘does not give an unfair advantage’ in the ad tech world

Technology powerhouse Google has denied that use of its ad tech platforms provides brands with an unfair advantage over the competition thanks to the large amount of data it has from its users.

The claim came during the Google Ad Tech September 2021 webinar run yesterday.

Hosts Nitish Korula, one of Google’s ad product directors, and local director of platforms, Barney Pierce, spoke about the evolution of ad tech, how Google’s ad tech products work, and explained that its data “does not give an unfair advantage in the ad tech world”, despite previous claims.

According to the tech giant, its ad tech products currently make extremely limited use of data from its user-facing services when bidding for, or targeting, ads on third-party websites and apps.

“Our ad tech products have very limited use of individual user data from user-facing services when we bid for ads on third-party websites or apps,” Korula said. “People type a lot of things into Google search that they wouldn’t want to share. We think it’s not appropriate to use that information.”

Pierce added that there was plenty of competition in the market as well.

“We offer these tools that help both advertisers and publishers, but that’s fairly common in the industry. There are lots of companies with competing ad tech businesses like Amazon, Twitter to name a few who also offer these tools for advertisers and publishers, and we think there is some really good competition in that market. You can use our products, you can use competing products, or you can mix and match.”

According to Google, the way ad tech has evolved is that it’s a very crowded interoperable ecosystem that is built to mix and match.

Additionally, Google said it does not preference its own ad tech products over third-party suppliers, asserting that ad tech products serve the interests of its customers, and that its products work well together with competing platforms throughout the Google ad tech stack.
It said many advertisers and publishers benefit from this by working with multiple ad tech vendors simultaneously, taking advantage of different features offered by various service providers in the industry.

Korula explained, “You can work with Google Ad Manager as a publisher, and also work with a whole range of different products. It isn’t the case that all the Google ad tech products only work with each other. Right now, the average publisher uses about six different sell-side platforms and exchanges (SSPs).

“A typical large advertiser works with four different demand-side platforms (DSPs) to perhaps run different campaigns, one might offer a slightly more specialised service. So it’s really common for both an advertiser or a publisher to work with a range of products.”

According to Google, its demand-side platform (DSP) supports over 80 exchanges on its Google Marketing Platform, and its ad server supports hundreds of AD Networks, Exchanges, and DSPs in Google Ad Manager.

Korula added: “Google 360, a part of the Google Marketing platform, is a DSP that supports over 80 exchanges. If you’re an advertiser, and you use the Google buying tool, that buys on 80 different exchanges, 79 of which are not owned by Google. Similarly, Google Ad Manager, as it offers an ad server exchange functionality, works with hundreds of independent ad networks, exchanges and DSPs. That’s how this ecosystem works.”

Korula noted that if you’re a publisher and you want to maximise revenue, it’s important that they work with a sell-side platform (SSP) that works with many different DSPs.

“That’s how you get many people competing for your ad space. Someone who tries to only work with one DSP wouldn’t actually be able to offer you the good revenue performance that you want,” he said.


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