Google unveils machine learning ad tool (GOOGL)

Kevin Tran
Alphabet Earnings

BI Intelligence


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Google unveiled Auto ads, a new ad unit for AdSense, its ad placement service for publishers, to help publishers streamline ad placement on their pages.

Auto ads use machine learning to determine potential ad locations, types, and number of ads, while preserving the user experience, according to Google. Auto ads include formats like in-feed, display, and full-screen mobile ads, and can be integrated into publisher pages with a single line of code.

Auto ads are attractive to publishers for two key reasons:

  • They minimize the resources publishers spend on ad placement. Publishers don’t need to devote as much staff to optimizing ad placement on their pages, as Auto ads will use machine learning and analytics to “teach” the system where to best place ads in the future, according to TechCrunch.
  • And they can help publishers better monetize their content. Auto ads may cause publishers to test ad placements in areas on their pages they might not have tested otherwise, and this can result in higher monetization. For example, some publishers participating in the beta testing of Auto ads saw average revenue increases of 5-15%, per MediaPost.

Auto ads can positively impact publishers' bottom lines, given AdSense is already used by tens of millions of publishers. Publishers are likely looking for additional ways to monetize their content amid Facebook’s recent News Feed tweak that de-prioritizes their posts, which could hurt publishers’ ability to generate ad revenue on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the release of Auto ads helps increase Google’s influence over the digital ad environment. Although publishers can always opt out of using the tool, Google gains control over the types and number of ads publishers implement when they do use auto ads. This can help in Google’s efforts to minimize the number of annoying ad experiences publishers serve, which can ultimately encourage users to keep browsing for content on the open web and not in the walled gardens of other platforms like Facebook or Twitter.  

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