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June 20, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: Google Steps Up Its Video Ad Game


Google is already a force to be reckoned with when it comes to advertising; some even go so far as to say that online advertising—backed up by search and the various ads on YouTube and the like—is ultimately Google's bread and butter. To help bolster its advertising services in an era where advertising is just about everywhere and almost as often ignored, Google made a new acquisition in the form of mDialog, a company that specializes in video advertising.

Google wasn't talking in terms of just how much was paid for the company, but mDialog is likely to bring quite a bit of value to the company all the same. The company had reportedly raised $8 million worth of funding after a successful Series A funding round led by the Blackberry Partners Fund. Reports suggest that the mDialog team will be bringing its breed of technology into Google's DoubleClick product line over an extended period of time.

Meanwhile, mDialog's current customers will notice no difference in terms of product offering, and reports suggest that there aren't any layoffs associated with this move. A Google+ post from Google detailed that the companies together were looking to offer more and better ways for publishers “...to monetize live, linear and on-demand video content across all screens.” This appears to be taken literally, as mDialog reportedly has experience working with both the iPad and iPhone, as well as several Android-driven devices and even the Xbox, so just about any screen out there seems to be covered.

This is actually a good move for several reasons. Google understands its advertising market is one that's extremely competitive. Not only are there huge numbers of places that are offering advertising these days, but there are also more methods than ever to block that advertising or for users to otherwise tune out, making the impact of said advertising much less than would be desired. With all this working against advertisers, advertisers in turn need a better way to reach key demographics and deliver information about products and services. That means advertising needs to increase its appeal, and when advertising can be a video or part of a video in its own right, that steps up some chances.

I'm reminded of a recent ad for Friskies called “Dear Kitten.” After just over two weeks on YouTube, it's garnered over 12 million views, done as a series of letters from an older cat to a younger cat. While the ad may not drive sales of Friskies very far, it will likely get cat owners considering Friskies just a bit more than previously. With over 12 million reached in two weeks, not to mention that “Dear Kitten ZeFrank” has nearly 13,000 hits on Google itself, and no more expense for Friskies beyond having the video produced, it's a kind of advertising that does well overall. Video advertising of the kind Google's engaged is somewhat different, but the idea still remains. Making advertising that gets interest makes it less likely to be blocked or ignored, and that means better rates of return for advertisers, something that's constantly sought after in advertising.

While only time will tell just how well mDialog works for Google, it's a fair bet that boosting the video advertising rates will have a positive effect for all concerned. Getting more into video ads  comes with some downsides—it can slow pages down and impact negatively on bandwidth caps—but there's value to be had here if done correctly. Just ask Friskies.




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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