Why Google’s second shot at programmatic TV buying will work

Google announced that it would bridge the gap between traditional TV and digital video by giving advertisers the ability to programmatically buy, target and measure traditional TV ads within the same platform as digital ones.

It’s not the internet giant’s first attempt at selling for traditional TV—beginning in 2008, it began offering its “Google TV Ads.” But, after selling these for nearly five years, Google pulled the plug in 2012. At the time, Shishir Mehrotra, the former VP of product and engineering at YouTube, wrote in a post on Blogger that the decision came down to the fact that video was “increasingly going digital” with users “watching across numerous devices.”

With the steady uptick in programmatic buying, it’s reasonable to believe that Google was simply too early to market when it first came out with TV ad buying. In fact, in 2012, when Google abandoned its TV ad sales, programmatic was set at 14 percent of US digital display ad spending or $2.03 billion, according to eMarketer. In 2017, it will make up 78 percent, or $32.56 billion, said Fischer. That’s a $30 billion difference.

Matt Speigel, managing director at MediaLink, believes that this time, Google’s new product is likely to advance the programmatic space. “If Google plays the role of tech provider,” he said, “the other pundits will lean in and success is much more likely.”
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