Google has soft launched Google Ad Manager, an ad tool that allows publishers to manage ad placement on their sites.
The service primarily competes with OpenX (previously PHPAds then OpenAds). Users add their ad codes to Google Ad Manager then include the Ad Manager generated code on their sites. The service then tracks the page views and CTR on each ad unit, complete with statistics and the ability to geotarget or other break downs on each unit. Google Ad Manager also supports locally sold ads, for example Ad Manager like OpenAds supports direct sale advertising as well.
The key for Google is that Google Ad Manager offers Adsense units for fallback and remnant site inventory. The service supports formats including graphical display, video and text ads.
What isn’t immediately clear is whether the service can link into third party sites and provide dollar returns natively. The FAQ for the service says only that users can “Easily track ads from a third-party network, affiliate provider, or other URL you provide” and screenshots show dollar figures. If it does link in to third party providers for financial tracking, the service will also compete with startups like TechCrunch40 finalist Pubmatic.
OpenX is due to launch a hosted solution later this year, but despite $5 million in funding will find the market tough now the Google Borg has now entered the space. In terms of Google, the service looks appealing and when it eventually opens up will no doubt find a willing user base. It’s yet another example of Google knowing no bounds in its quest to know everything about every person and site.