Google is making changes to its DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) ad management solution designed to both streamline the custom targeting input process and expand the features and functions it offers. The new features are available in both the DFP and DFP for Small Business solutions.

Input, Reporting, Wireless and Video Capabilities Upgraded

Google says it has redesigned DFP so there are now fewer steps for users to follow throughout the trafficking process, and users can select custom targeting criteria with a single keystroke. In addition, DFP now offers a new set of granular reporting combinations, and supports both the Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID) standard from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the IAB VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0, and VMAP 1.0 video standards.

Furthermore, DFP now offers stream-based frequency caps to help control how often an ad appears in the same stream.

Google Stays Competitive with Adobe

Given Google's size and general propensity to upgrade and release new products, it is doubtful the latest enhancements to DFP are a direct response to upgrades Adobe made to its ad management solution last fall, but Google surely keeps close tabs on the actions of its competitors. According to a CMSWire article posted in November 2011, Adobe paid as much as US$ 100 million for video advertising network Auditude.

In addition to partnerships with leading multichannel media companies such as Comcast and Warner Bros., Auditude eased integration into video operations systems for Adobe ad management users and enabled Adobe to create what it claims is the "most comprehensive solution for the world's leading content publishers, broadcasters and brands to encode video once, securely deliver their content across platforms on-demand and efficiently monetize it." Presumably Google holds a different opinion on this topic.

Response to DFP Upgrade Muted

Unlike ad management solutions from Adobe and other IT providers, Google offers basic DFP functionality free, although users seeking to perform more advanced ad management tasks need to upgrade to the paid Premium service. The initial version of DFP was released in February 2010, following Google's 2008 purchase of display advertising/ad serving provider DoubleClick.

So far online commentary about Google's DFP upgrade has been surprisingly muted. Web marketing publications such as MarketingVox and WebProNews have acknowledged the new version of DFP with little to no editorial input. The WebProNews item implied this is just a routine API release.

Reading into the DFP Upgrade

Google's latest version of DFP may not be earth-shaking industry news, but Google rarely does anything without good reason. This upgrade demonstrates the growing importance of mobile and video to online advertising, as well as increased demand for user-friendly, intuitive interfaces even for professional business solutions.

And the decision to provide new, granular reporting capabilities indicates heightened industry demand for web analytics, while stream-based frequency caps reflect advertisers' continued concerns about online consumers burning out on web ads and simply ignoring them. When a company as noteworthy as Google makes even small tweaks to a product, it is worth taking notice and assessing.