Google CEO: programmatic is ‘on fire,’ ad blocking requires industry effort

Google’s Sundar Pichai knows how to get advertisers excited it seems: start talking programmatic.

The new Google CEO said that over the past 18 months the number of advertisers using Google’s programmatic ad platform has doubled. He was talking to Wall Street analysts on a conference call after the company announced quarterly earnings today.

He called programmatic “an area that’s on fire for us right now.” Programmatic advertising covers the automated ad systems Google has set up through its DoubleClick Bid Manager, letting advertisers and agencies plan campaigns.

Pichai also addressed the specter of ad blocking, which has burst into the forefront of industry conversations after Google rival Apple enabled content blocking in its operating system.

“On the ad blocker stuff you know it’s not a new phenomenon,” he said in response to an analyst’s question, indicating that it wouldn’t represent a more significant problem for Google than it already has been.

However, Pichai did acknowledge that the industry needs to be better with ads.

“It’s also clear that there are areas where the ad experience is getting in the way and it affects the performance,” Pichai said. “We as an industry need to collectively do all that better.”

In particular, he doesn’t want to see the mobile Web make the same mistakes as desktop with a poor ad experience. Google already has made moves to increase the speed of mobile pages and enhance mobile ads with more relevance thanks to better targeting.

“We are going to work hard to do that, make sure we transition areas like the mobile Web to have better ad experiences,” Pichai said.

Google’s plan seemed to be working so far. Total advertising revenue hit $16.8 billion, a 13 percent increase year over year.

In addition to programmatic, Google credited the strength of mobile search and YouTube for its business expansion.

The number of mobile and video impressions served on DoubleClick more than tripled in the past year, Pichai. He also said about 80 percent of the top 100 advertisers were on the platform.

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