IBM Targeting The Planet, Earns Billions; Publicis Buys Social Agency; Divining Yahoo! Display Revenues

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IBM Planet Emiting Cash

Earnings season is in full swing and IBM reported yesterday that for Q2 2011, it had earned... wait for it.... $3.7 billion in net income on $26.67 billion of revenue. Not bad -and it beat Wall Street expectations. To put it in perspective, Google had $2.88 billion in net income on $9 billion in revenue in Q2. Read the earnings overview on the NY Times. On the earnings call with analysts according to Seeking Alpha's transcript, IBM CFO Mark Loughridge said, "So what we're really focused on is how we're driving software through those key plays, Smarter Planet Business Analytics, Cloud Computing, acceleration in these new opportunity spaces." Smarter Planet includes its marketer initiatives such as Unica and Coremetrics. Read more. To get an even better sense of IBM's positioning, look at this interview a couple of weeks ago on IBM's A Smarter Planet blog that quotes Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics, a mobile applications analytics firm: "Aggarwal: 'IBM, with Unica and Coremetrics, is a big competitor to Omniture now. We’re the mobile apps front end for Unica. They’re selling our products.'" IBM is putting together the marketing pieces, stack, plumbing, whatever you want to call it.

Agencies Buying Social

Publicis Groupe announced that its sticking its toe - make that 1/2 a torso - into the social media agency game.  According to a release, Publicis "acquired an equity stake in Big Fuel, the New York-based social media agency. According to the terms of the agreement, Publicis Groupe immediately acquires 51% of the new agency, and has the possibility of increasing its participation to 100% from 2014." Big Fuel is on track for $30 million in revenue this year with 170 employees says the release. Agencies are scrambling to meet the requests of marketers who are looking to pour the social media sauce on their marketing and effectively reach their target audience at-scale. Read moreAd Age originally broke the story last week. Also, I-bank JEGI announced (PDF) their participation in the deal.  This investment by Publicis is another reason why ad targeting vendors who have a social "story" may become increasingly popular.

Delivering The Icon

Ad networks can now get Evidon to look under their hood and help make sure their complying with the DAA's self-regulatory program. In order to take advantage of the "free" service, MediaPost's Wendy Davis says that "ad networks certified by Evidon must agree to either use Evidon exclusively or on a default basis. They also receive extra training from Evidon about the self-regulatory privacy program. Also, Evidon has vetted their privacy policies." Read more. Evidon's appending the value-add to its DAA icon delivery product in order to close deals.

Divining Yahoo! Display

Yahoo! earnings for Q2 2011 are scheduled to be released today and Citi analyst Mark Mahaney thinks Google's performance may be an indicator in a note to clients: "Positive Read-Thru From GOOG’s Q2 EPS – General advertising trends @ GOOG were clearly positive, which should benefit YHOO. That said, Google's strong Display Advertising results also carry market share loss risks for Yahoo! But at the end of the day, we view Market Strength signals as more powerful than Market Share signals." Visit the Yahoo! investor relations page for the 5p ET call.

Merchants Targeting Audience

Mark Papia, CRO of XGraph, says in an article on iMedia Connection that merchants are become more is savvy in the many channels of online marketing. Among this five bullets: "Audience and Ad Targeting – Merchants will rely, quite heavily, on audience-targeting (...) Many will see audience targeting as a complement to more traditional targeting, while others find it to be an efficient and effective alternative." Read more.

Gannett Reports On Earnings, Digital

News publisher Gannett, which owns PointRoll, Career Builder and the Gannett Digital Network, says that it's digital business continues to grow steadily but remains at 21% of overall revenues. Read more from PaidContent's David Kaplan. From the earnings call transcript on Seeking Alpha, CEO Craig Dubow said the company is still in acquisition mode due to lots of juicy free cash flow: "We have talked about it for a long time. We are continuing to look for opportunities, first in the Digital market. And with the kind of results that we are seeing, particularly from this report, that stays, in fact, it even strengthens. We want to have that flexibility, so that we can give back but yet at the same time have opportunity to move forward, first from a Digital perspective."

Tracking The Hype

AppNexus CTO Mike Nolet has returned to his personal blog to deliver what he says will be a series of posts on the new display ecosystem. In the meantime, he offers his analysis on hype in the industry and says simply, "Here’s the hard truth people don’t like to hear. The display world is actually not that complicated." Read more.

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