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Is This the Most Important Person in Advertising?

Hint: she runs a $43.7 billion ad business

Google is one of the biggest advertising companies in the world, but you have this product Google+ that is devoid of ads. Why is that, and is a paid media product on the table for Google+?
Generally, our approach with products at Google is to first develop the right user base and then to figure out what’s the right experience for the ads. I think we’ve been consistent with Google+.

What are you seeing so far with that approach?
The first step is for brands to have a page. Overall we’ve seen good adoption but are continuing to roll out new features.

Back to the ad tech stack, you guys have a pretty high batting average when it comes to ad tech acquisitions. This year is expected to be an active market but with a smaller share of buyers, Google likely among them. How are you looking at the market?
We acquire companies when we need them. Our first preference is to build, but you can’t always build because of time to market or you don’t have the right expertise. There can be many reasons. We’ve acquired when we’ve seen really great talent and have been able to get to market faster. Every acquisition is different depending on what the plan is, but you have to have really thought through what the right integration is for that company. For a long time we said YouTube was running separately, whereas DoubleClick we decided to integrate. When you integrate, it’s really important to mix it up a little bit.

You acquired social marketing software firm Wildfire last year. As far as I’ve heard they’re remaining independent, but they’re also part of the DoubleClick Digital Manager ad tech stack. Is that a template of how future ad tech deals would work?
Every deal is going to be a little bit different. It really is done on a case-by-case basis. Some companies need full integration, and some companies need to run apart. I wish there was one template—that would make my life a lot easier.

How’s the Wildfire acquisition been going?
It’s been good so far. We’re still really early where the team is continuing to execute. We have some good long-term plans.

On the other side of social, you have arguably the biggest DSP out there in Invite Media, but you don’t have access to Facebook Exchange. When can we expect to see that happen?
That’s a hard question. That might be a question to ask Facebook.

You’re keynoting on the future of digital advertising at IAB’s leadership meeting. What do you see for that future?
I’m still working on my talk. But at a high level, we need to be prepared for what Nikesh said about 50 percent of media dollars moving online in the next five years, and users having a lot more control and options because everything is just a click away. As a result, the ad industry needs to pivot to models where they’re creating the right creatives, reaching the right users and where users are opting in to seeing their ads, and that we have good measurement to understand whether this [ad] is useful or not for the user. Right now I don’t think we have all the tools in place to be able to do that. What I’m excited about, being in the position I’m in, is how do we build those tools to take advertising to the next level, so that advertising becomes something users really love and see as useful. 

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