Google has been talking a lot about changing the marketplace for display advertising over the past few years, and today it is making good on the promise by announcing a simplified way to sell and manage display advertising campaigns.

Today Google announced that it has finished combining DoubleClick's DART system with its own Ad Manager product into one entity now known as DoubleClick for Publishers. And the move could lead to a shakeup in the display ad serving space.

It's been two years since Google purchased the DoubleClick ad network for $3 billion in March 2008. But it has taken that long for Google to deliver on its promise to start changing the display market. Google says on its blog:

"We see an opportunity to improve ad serving even further by combining Google's technology and infrastructure with DoubleClick's display advertising and ad serving experience. Since we acquired DoubleClick in March 2008, our engineering and product teams have been working with online publishers to tackle the obstacles that prevent them from maximizing revenues from their websites."

Google is offering two versions of its new product: one for large online publishers that takes most advanatage of existing DART architecture and DFP Small Business, which is a more basic, free opton for smaller pubs.

The search giant stepping up its role in the display market certainly puts the pressure on a few smaller players that established themselves in the area. As MediaMemo puts it:

"Google’s announcement also has a direct impact on startups like Rubicon and Pubmatic, whose core business is built on helping publishers sell their inventory to multiple ad networks."

Moving forward, there is bound to be a shaking out of intermediaries in the display advertising space. There are myriad players that help to sell, track and serve display ads and as inefficiencies in the market are removed, many of them are sure to disappear. But many are trying to adapt to the changing marketplace. As Brian O'Kelley, CEO of AppNexus, put it at AlwaysOn:

"They'll be DSPs this year, they'll be another acronym next year. All these pieces of the ecosystem are just getting more sophisticated."

And Google's announcement today is not catching competitors offguard. Rubicon Project, for one, is redoubling its efforts to prove it has the most to offer publishers. On Friday, the company declared the ad server dead and published a manifesto outlining its plans to streamline and expand its ad serving offerings.

Today, J.T. Batson, Rubicon's EVP of revenue and global development, says that publishers are scared of Google:

"Google (and dfp before that) have been saying these things for years. We've seen nothing, and more importantly our publishers have seen nothing, that demonstrates any difference. Google competes with publishers in the content game and the ad sales game. They're a great company and do a lot of things well, but putting publishers first is not one of them.”

But as much as publishers distrust Google, they also have an ingrained hatred for things that remind them of ad networks. While Google is rarely a first mover, if the search giant can prove to publishers that it is more efficient than smaller (or lesser known) players in display, it may get publishers on board yet.

Image: Google

Meghan Keane

Published 22 February, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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