A couple of weeks ago, Google announced its new Doubleclick Digital Marketing platform which further integrates DoubleClick ad products and begins to offer the promise of efficient cross-channel buying across media channels such as display and search.
Many in the industry, particularly privately, see an inevitability in Google corralling much of the data-driven, display ad marketing spend as adoption of its buy and sell-side technology platform (or "stack") continues to ramp.
Today, the platform is comprised of DoubleClick For Advertiser and DoubleClick For Publisher ad serving, its recent Admeld acquisition, integrated demand-side platform tech inspired by its Invite Media acquisition, dynamic creative optimization tech from Teracent, some other stuff - and then whatever comes next. Being a juggernaut is boring, isn't it?
Google's Neal Mohan spiced it up a bit and told AdExchanger at the launch of the new DoubleClick platform, "Often advertisers and agencies spend up to 2 days a week navigating all these platforms out there... we believe we can eliminate 6 weeks per person per year in wasted time and efficiency."
So essentially, if you've got 9 people on staff for your agency or trading desk, you just saved one staff member according to Mohan's calculations. Not bad, if it can be proven.
Ed Montes, CEO of trading desk Adnetik examined the efficiency claim and said that though he applauded Google's 'stack' efforts, which appear to improve efficiencies, challenges remain:
"It is interesting to note that given all of Google's resources and its incredible engineering team, they made this announcement acknowledging that even today their stack is a work in progress. I ascribe this to the fact that they are piecing together their solution rather than having built it organically. It is also difficult to see how Google can maintain a leadership position serving both sides of the buying equation (buyer and seller). It is my opinion that both the buy and sell side desire completely unbiased representation and product development.
Perhaps Google's approach is indicative of its core business focus on the SMB market. Google may be able to unlock a wealth of additional SMB clients by connecting its search management platform to display, mobile, video, etc... One item to consider for large enterprise marketers and agencies with sizable investment under management is the potential for becoming a captive in the Google platform. I don't think much scrutiny or discussion has been allocated to the data/cookie space definition. While Google has claimed interoperability of its component parts its definition seems to suggest the ability to connect to different inventory (multiple exchanges) not the ability to port your cookie data to other platforms. It is my opinion that enterprise marketers want data independence and portability and this is contrary to Google's strategy as I understand it."
Ziff Davis exec Bennett Zucker isn't buying Mohan's complexity 'speed bump.' That said, he sees innovation at stake as one player takes a clear leadership position:
"Advertisers and agencies that spend 'up to two days a week navigating all these platforms' must be taking off the other five days of the week. If Google intends to cure the malaise of media buying complexity, they’re going to have to do a much better job than they’ve done in the recent past of integrating their acquisitions and getting a lot of other things right, such as being responsive to customers.
With Microsoft unwilling, Yahoo! unable, and Adobe too early in the game, Google is the logical one to lead the charge to unify the media buying process. Let's hope they get some real competition so that advertisers and publishers alike don't think they must put all their eggs in that basket. We can all help keep competition and innovation alive by supporting the remaining independent alternatives that are most motivated to serve us and who play well with others."
By John Ebbert