When Netflix launched its new series Narcos1 in August of 2015, it faced a big global marketing challenge.

Narcos is a realistic look at the rise of the Cocaine Highway as told through the lives of legendary kingpin Pablo Escobar and the American DEA agents tracking him. It's a passionate story of crime, drugs, money, honor and politics, set in the late decades of the 20th century, with dialogue half in Spanish and half in English.

Netflix wanted to reach a global audience that included target groups like "thrill seekers" (men 25-34 drawn to the excitement of crime culture) and "conspiracy theorists" (older males fascinated by the political implications of drug trafficking). That meant Netflix and its digital agency, AvatarLabs, needed to bring the Narcos story to countries from Peru to Sweden with targeted messages that would appeal powerfully to different target viewers in each culture ― without overwhelming their budget or their marketing teams.

See how they made it happen.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, Google Web Designer

1 Narcos can been seen exclusively on Netflix.


Keeping fake traffic that originates from infected computers (aka “botnets”) out of our ads systems has been a priority since we launched, and over the years we've worked hard to put in place extensive technology checks and filters to safeguard against this type of traffic.

Today we're further reinforcing our existing botnet defenses across our ad systems through a new feature that automates the filtering of traffic from three of the top ad fraud botnets, amongst those we are monitoring and defending against. One of the key benefits of this new feature is that it is resilient to possible changes to the malware that generates this botnet traffic.

This move boosts our defenses against invalid traffic generated by some nasty ad fraud malware, including Bedep and two other malware families that we have code-named Beetal and Changthangi. Together these three botnets are comprised of over 500,000 infected user machines.

Today we’d like to take this opportunity to take a deeper look at ad fraud botnets.

Ad fraud botnets: a menace to the advertising ecosystem

Ad fraud botnets are armies of malware-infected computers that are controlled by malicious fraudsters intent on generating large amounts of non-human ad traffic volume, typically for unscrupulous publishers. As a result, ad fraud botnets are a major threat to the budgets of advertisers, the reputation of publishers, and the safety of consumers. And this threat is considerable, given that hundreds of thousands of computers around the globe are infected with malware used specifically for ad fraud.

The Bedep Botnet size over the course of 60 days. Dips in the graph represent weekends, when some infected machines are turned off.

Global distribution and concentration of Bedep Malware.

Botnet traffic is difficult to consistently filter in advertising platforms because malware authors try to make their fraudulent traffic look as human as possible so that it resembles legitimate traffic. For example, botnet traffic has many of the same characteristics as real traffic, including the use of common browsers, and typical user behavior on a web page (e.g., scrolling, clicking, and mouse movement).

Our move to consistently and confidently cut out the traffic from these botnets, despite any changes in the malware on which they’re based, represents a significant milestone in the defense of our advertising ecosystem.

The art and science of protecting against botnets at scale

Identifying ad fraud malware and protecting ad platforms against botnets is a sophisticated effort that requires deep technical knowledge, diligence, and the ability to think several steps ahead. It’s a game of chess against an opponent that is constantly changing the rules.

In addition, it takes robust and extensive infrastructure to properly analyze malware threats at scale. For example, there are millions of malware programs out in the wild, although not all of this malware is associated with ad fraud botnets. This scenario represents a considerable technical challenge, since the malware, along with a vast amount of botnet traffic, needs to be continuously analyzed. To compound the challenge, there are hundreds of thousands of new malware programs produced each day that our systems need to analyze as well.

Our team has expanded its expertise by working to gain a deep understanding of the Bedep, Beetal, and Changthangi malware families. Subsequently, we have expanded the capability to significantly protect our systems against traffic generated by this malware through an automated, scalable, and seamless filter. This filter is already available to all marketers on DoubleClick Bid Manager and Google Display Network (GDN).

A bold move, but there’s more to come

We believe in fighting the good fight in order to stop malicious actors in the advertising ecosystem. We also know that our success is not based solely on sophisticated algorithms or robust, highly-scalable infrastructure. Our success also relies on a team of warrior scientists that combines art and science to innovate and cultivate, relying on creativity and collective wisdom to effect change in unique ways.

This is a really exciting start to the year for us, yet we know that our work is not done yet. We will continue to be vigilant, working hard to protect our systems from fraudsters in 2016 and beyond. Stay tuned.

Posted by Andres Ferrate
Chief Advocate, Google Ad Traffic Quality


Over the last year, we’ve rolled out tools to encourage advertisers to build in HTML5, so you’re able to reach the widest possible audience across screens. To enhance the browsing experience for more people across more sites, DoubleClick Digital Marketing, DoubleClick Ad Exchange and the Google Display Network are now going 100% HTML5*.

  • Starting June 30th, 2016, advertisers will no longer be able to upload Flash ads into DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, or AdWords.
  • Starting January 2nd, 2017, Flash ads will no longer be able to run through DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, DoubleClick Ad Exchange, or the Google Display Network.

It’s important to update your ads to HTML5 before these dates.

Advertisers who currently use display ads built in Flash in their campaigns have several easy ways to navigate the transition, ensuring your creative continues to reach people successfully. Read more here.

Posted by Karin Hennessy
Product Manager, DoubleClick

*Note: this update applies only to display ads; video ads built in Flash will not be impacted on these dates.


Ever since Weight Watchers first began as a gathering of friends in 1963, the company has been helping people lose pounds and live healthier lives. Today the Weight Watchers digital marketing team is focused on acquiring new generations of customers for those classic local meetings as well as their online products and services.

The Weight Watchers team has had ample success with search and social media, where they found it easy to test different headlines and calls to action. But they hadn't found a way to do the same kind of vigorous testing on display advertising. Building and managing dozens of creative iterations, and accurately measuring the results, seemed like a major challenge.

To tackle that challenge, Weight Watchers, its agencies, Neo@Ogilvy and OgilvyOne, chose DoubleClick Dynamic Creative.

See how they managed their creative testing to identify the best-performing creative iterations and boost acquisition volume by 56%.

Posted by Becky Chappell
Product Marketing Manager, Google Web Designer


Brands can engage with their customers and drive brand loyalty by building branded apps that offer useful or entertaining information. Examples of branded apps include airline apps that provide check-in functionality, banking apps that provide bill pay and check deposit, and retail loyalty apps that drive in-store purchases. By providing functionality that people need regularly in a convenient way, these brands are able to remind customers of their value proposition and build stronger relationships.

But to get this customer loyalty, you first need to get people to install your app.

App install campaigns help you promote your app to your customers, so they can discover and install it. Having your branded app on your customers’ phones means you can be front-and-center on the screen that people check over 150 times a day, leading to increased brand awareness and mindshare.

Today, we’re excited to announce several new features across our DoubleClick Digital Marketing solutions that help you easily build an app install campaign to promote your branded apps.

Step 1: Set up tracking

Before you launch your app install campaign, make sure your app is setup to track installs (and other in-app actions your customers may take), so that you can understand which ads are most effective.

  • If your app is in the Google Play Store, you can now automatically track installs of your Google Play app as conversions in DoubleClick, without any code changes.
  • If your app is in the Apple App Store or if you work with an app measurement provider, we support integration with popular third party app tracking platforms (initially announced in September), so that you can track installs measured by those systems as conversions for your campaign.

Step 2: Build your ads

Your customers are viewing content across search, display, and video, so your app install campaigns need to reach them in all those places.

  • Use the new templated app install creative formats in DoubleClick Bid Manager to generate your programmatic display ads instantly. These templates pull in info about your app from the Google Play or Apple App Store to create app install banners at the click of a button.
  • Build, traffic and serve one rich media unit that works seamlessly across web and app environments, with universal ads, now available in DoubleClick Campaign Manager.
  • Through DoubleClick Search, you can access some of our highest performing ad formats; app install Search ads, launched last May, promote your app on Google Search results or on Google Play Search (Android only), and our new app extensions allow you to link to your app from your Google Search text ads.

Step 3: Reach your customers

Our app install workflow in DoubleClick Bid Manager makes it easy to get your programmatic app install campaign up and running. In concert with this workflow, several new features make it even simpler and more effective:

  • Create custom lists of apps to ensure that your ads show up in the apps you care about or that drive the best performance -- easily target or exclude lists of apps, giving you control over where your brand shows up.
  • Already have an audience list of customers who’ve visited your mobile website? Use same device targeting to reach those interested customers with your app install campaign.
  • Leverage the audience targeting solutions within DoubleClick Bid Manager (launched in November) for your app install campaigns, to reach your customers using in-market audiences, affinity segments or demographic groups.
  • Drive higher performance and engagement with video ads; we’re launching a new video app install workflow in early March that enables easy campaign setup and targeting of video app inventory across the open exchange.

The new video app install line item workflow in DoubleClick Bid Manager

Running app install campaigns can help drive more customers to your branded apps, paving the way for a deeper connection between your customers and your brand. Talk to your media agency and DoubleClick sales rep about getting started with these campaigns.

Posted by Steve Chang
Product Manager, DoubleClick