Google Names Ex-Doubleclicker As New Head of Display Advertising

For years, Google has said display advertising is its next billion-dollar business. Now they’re bringing in another executive to make that a reality.

The search giant named Barry Salzman head of media and platforms for the Americas, a new position charged with overseeing all non-search advertising for Google’s content network and its video-sharing site YouTube, as well as its display-ad platforms DoubleClick Ad Serving and DoubleClick Ad Exchange. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Mr. Salzman, who worked five years at DoubleClick until 2002. The company was acquired by Google in 2007.

In the interim, Mr. Salzman was chief operating officer of New York-based startup ShopWiki and CEO of YCD Multimedia, a digital out-of-home advertising network. Mr. Salzman will report to Henrique de Castro, Google’s VP-global media and platforms. All Americas-based Google display ad staff will report to Mr. Salzman.

Google has built a global powerhouse by placing text ads next to search results, but for years CEO Eric Schmidt has said display advertising is the search giant’s next “big opportunity.” BusinessWeek cited an estimate from Barclay’s Capital media analyst Douglas Anmuth that display ads would account for $1 billion in revenue in 2010, or about 4% of Google’s total sales.

Yet Google remains an also-ran in the display business compared to Yahoo, which sold more than $4 billion in display ads in 2009. The business suffered a blow a year ago when Google’s leading evangelist for display, former Americas President Tim Armstrong, left to become CEO of AOL in 2009.

For Mr. Salzman, it’s an opportunity to execute an early vision at DoubleClick: to truly integrate media and technology to increase effectiveness for marketers. DoubleClick exited the media business early on to focus on technology and ad serving. “Google is starting to see incredible traction in display but the enormous part of the upside is still to be realised,” Mr. Salzman said. “A big part of my job is to be Google’s champion of display, which has a media piece and a technology piece.”

Google controls close to 60% of the global search market, but Mr. Salzman said 94 of Advertising Age’s top 100 global marketers are buying display ads from Google as well. The challenge is to get them to buy more. “We know from a performance perspective that most campaigns deliver better results when search and display are combined,” Mr. Salzman said.

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