For at least five years running, we speak with an increasing number of existing clients and prospective clients about their desire to bring all or some of their marketing technology and marketing execution in house. The growing trend of in-housing shows no sign of slowing. One of the most interesting aspects of this shift is that it traverses the ranks of the Fortune 500 as well as scrappy, small and medium sized businesses looking for more control, transparency, and performance levers within their own ownership.

Our discussions focus around a few major topics of interest and the value and benefits of bringing tech in-house, but once an organization makes the decision to move forward with securing their own Google Marketing Platform (GMP) ad tech licenses we typically get into very detailed and logistical questions and concerns (especially if folks have not gone through this process before to procure GMP ad tech licensing directly through a reseller partner).

This article is about the details of procuring an ad tech license within the GMP ecosystem with procurement teams in mind. Let’s dive into those details to help you be a little more prepared and informed when you embark on this process.

Google Marketing Platform Licensing: What are You Buying?

The Google Marketing Platform is a unified marketing technology ecosystem. It is more than just ad tech. It is built around the combined core products that once made up the separate Google Analytics 360 suite of products and the former DoubleClick suite of ad tech products.

When you work with a full-stack reseller partner (such as Merkle | Cardinal Path), you can actually license the full suite of GMP platforms. It is one of the benefits of working with a full-stack partner. However, in this guide we’ll focus specifically on GMP advertising technology platforms:

Google Marketing Platform products operate under a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. There is no software to download, and the three interfaces are browser-based and built on Google’s technology backbone. The platforms can be fully utilized via the browser UIs. However, most clients take advantage of some level of automation and integration functionality available for each environment (Google Cloud Platform, APIs, bulk sheets, data ingestion).

Google Marketing Platform AdTech Costs

As a procurement person, you are likely eager to hear some more about the financial details. What does it cost, and how am I billed for it? The details of GMP license agreements vary a little bit from reseller to reseller, but generally speaking license costs are based on usage, with your specific rate schedule determined by overall volume in each of the platforms:

Some additional fee considerations to keep in mind when comparing proposals and estimating your license costs:

  • Some resellers charge miscellaneous technology fees on top of the specific platform usage fees. These fees should be spelled out clearly in your contract and/or proposal from a reseller, and you should also expect to see them broken out in your monthly invoices.
  • Minimum contractual obligations can vary considerably from one reseller partner to another. If contractual minimums are included in your contract, you will typically be billed the higher amount of either a) your actual calculated fees or b) your contracted minimum.

Monthly Invoices: How am I Billed?

Google Marketing Platform licenses are typically billed monthly and should contain line items that correspond to each billable category of fees from your prior month’s platform utilization. For illustration purposes only, below is a fairly typical set of invoice line items you may receive depending on your overall volume:

Glossary of Terms:

CPM – Short for cost per mille, also known as cost per thousand. This is most commonly a cost basis for impression-based buying and is the cost paid per one thousand impressions. For example, 100,000 impressions delivered at a $5.00 CPM costs $500 in media costs. From a Campaign Manager 360 perspective, 100,000 standard display impressions served at an ad serving cost of $0.08** CPM will cost you $8.00 in ad service costs.

CPC – This is short for cost per click. As the name implies, this is the cost structure for media purchased on a click basis and represents the cost paid per individual clickthrough. The largest CPC channel for many advertisers is paid search, and in the context of Campaign Manager 360 standard click trackers are the only platform fee that has a CPC cost structure. Click trackers are a tracking ad format, and they incur click fees whenever clicks are tracked and no ad serving or impression measurement is done. If you incur 10,000 monthly tracked (billable) clicks at a clicktracker CPC of $0.015 your clicktracker charges are $150.

Standard Ad Serving – Standard ad serving refers to all basic ad impressions served from CM360 as well as all standard tracking ads that include impression tracking. When utilizing impression trackers or serving basic non-interactive, non-dynamic banner ad creative you will incur standard ad serving charges at your contracted rate. For rich media creatives, you will be charged both standard ad serving plus the rich media upcharge from your contract.

Clicktrackers – Technically speaking, billable clicktracking charges in CM360 occur when clicks are tracked in the absence of a tracked or served impression call. Clicktracker charges are typically associated with channels such as social media, where you are not tracking impression delivery but may be using tracking URLs for click tracking and attribution purposes in CM360.  

Rich Media – Rich media in general refers to advanced advertising formats that contain interactive elements, embedded players, and often dynamic content insertion. There are two categories of rich media creative in Campaign Manager contracted rates: rich media ads with video and/or audio and advanced display creative formats without video and/or audio. They have different CPM costs associated with them that should be spelled out in your contract.

**These costs are for illustration purposes only and do not reflect what your contracted ad serving rate may be.

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