– Better Late Than Never: Ad Agencies Try To Create Online Marketplaces – Better Late Than Never: Ad Agencies Try To Create Online Marketplaces

Washington Post, By David Kaplan, January 6, 2009
After witnessing ad networks and exchanges capture more revenue from major marketers these last few years, traditional media agencies are starting to play catch up. Interpublic Group’s buying and planning shop Mediabrands is working on a digital marketplace tool for clients that will include behavioral targeting. IPG’s major ad holding company rivals are not far behind either, WSJ says, noting that WPP Group, Publicis Groupe and Havas are also trying to come up with similar programs. What’s coming: As for what Mediabrands’ will be doing, the company’s online marketplace system will gather inventory from ad networks and ad exchanges. It will then cull data from sites visited by consumers and then match it to information in the marketer’s own customer database. The company will then devise a media plan around that data. Better late than?: Ad agencies and marketers are unable to content themselves with buying TV, newspaper and magazine ad space anymore. The economic meltdown has made that more than clear. And so, the realization that they have lost ground to companies like Google, AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft has been a bitter pill to swallow. While most agency execs tend to go out of their way to insist that there are no “frenemies” or “froes” when it comes to online advertising especially since these shops have close partnerships with those internet companies they know that in order to remain relevant, they have to step up and offer competing services. As Rob Norman, CEO of WPP’s Group M Interaction Worldwide shop, tells WSJ, “The ad-network business, we almost shouldn’t have allowed it to exist” adding that tech firms “got there first and dealt with the science before we did.”