- Google is testing a feature that will give publishers more data about their website users, including aggregated age, gender, search and shopping history, along with what they appear to be interested in buying, reported Ad Age.
- The Insight Engine Project, as it's being called, aims to give publishers better data to serve users relevant ads through Google's programmatic exchange, as part of a larger push to foster better relationships with publishers and gain an edge against competitors Facebook and Apple.
- The tech giant also said it would use machine learning to predict data about what a publisher's top competitors are doing on the ad front, how fast their ads load and what their viewability data looks like. The product will undergo limited testing in the coming months and plans to be broadly available next year.
As the industry shifts toward a more data-driven approach, Google's Insight Engine Project aims to help publishers make sense of the reams of information gathered on site visitors and how to make better use of it. The search giant is rolling out several other features like automatic growth detection, according to Ad Age, which will predict when a website might expect more ad revenue — seasonal events or holidays, for example — and make automatic adjustments.
Major publishers like Hearst and Time Inc., battered by the rise in popularity of ad blocking software, are focusing on building out e-commerce offerings and editorial projects that tie directly to sales. The Insight Engine Project should then be a welcome development, though many in the publishing space remain critical of Google, which is introducing a proprietary ad blocker for its popular Chrome web browser along with a button to mute autoplay videos in moves that will likely hurt site revenues.
Google also said it will connect DoubleClick with the platform's BigQuery for analytics and Data studio for even more publisher insights. It aims to eventually provide support for publishers to let readers pay for a subscription via a single click "instead of making 20," per Ad Age. This feature was first announced in August with a retooling of its "first click free" link on search engine response pages, more online payments and additional subscriber targeting options, along with subscription tools in the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format. More recent subscription news includes a possible feature that allows for an easier sign-up process as well as ways to pay for individual articles instead of a full subscription.
Facebook, one of Google's main competitors in the digital advertising and publishing space, is also launching a subscription tool for Instant Articles, its fast-loading mobile pages platform that's similar to AMP.