There is $344B in media* market cap that own and operate ad serving systems now.
Google acquired DoubleClick ($274B mkt cap), AOL acquired AdTech ($2.86B mkt cap), and Facebook acquired Atlas ($65.4B mkt cap). ValueClick owns MOJO and retained Mediaplex ad-server ($2.05B mkt cap).
When we think about ad servers for Madison Avenue, our guts tell us DART and Atlas**. Both of these two ad serving solutions are now owned by larger-than-life media platforms. MediaMind, the challenger of ad serving solutions is making inroads across Madison Avenue and believe it or not, has surpassed Atlas as the number two platform.***
Having heard the speculation turned news recently about Facebook acquiring Atlas and reading Gokul’s post on AdExchanger, I still do not understand why they did this acquisition unless Facebook thinks they can convince Madison Avenue to use them as their 3rd party ad serving tool of record.
My question to Madison Avenue: Wouldn’t you want an impartial 3rd party to be your ad serving tool? Why would you rely on a media property who is going to make more money off media than ad serving to deliver you your attribution models?
And with this, I’m not saying Google is any better. It’s a big reason why the majority of our clients are not on the DART ad server.
In the finance world, there is significant rules around proprietary trading (prop desk) and analyst/research work. The two basically do not intermingle and in the recent laws, the two might have to split. This is FINRA rule 5280.
(a) No member shall establish, increase, decrease or liquidate an inventory position in a security or a derivative of such security based on non-public advance knowledge of the content or timing of a research report in that security.
(b) A member must establish, maintain and enforce policies and procedures reasonably designed to restrict or limit the information flow between research department personnel, or other persons with knowledge of the content or timing of a research report, and trading department personnel, so as to prevent trading department personnel from utilizing non-public advance knowledge of the issuance or content of a research report for the benefit of the member or any other person.
I understand that advertising is not finance, but wouldn’t we take clues from a more robust industry?
If you are a marketer or agency and put all your media plan data in a company who is selling you millions of dollars of advertising media, don’t you think that the data will be used against you?
Here is an example, purely from illustrious purposes:
Property A – $6/cpm $3/cpa
Property B – $8/cpm $3.50/cpa
Property C – $7.75/cpm $3.40/cpa
Imagine the three properties above have their data in an ad server controlled by Google, AOL, ValueClick, and now, Facebook.
When you go to purchase media from any of these four properties, they can see what you are currently paying and what the actual performance is.
This gives these media platforms a significant leg up on pricing & performance as they know where they need maintain or beat.
Is it just me that’s skeptical?
On a completely other note, I do not run M&A for Facebook but I would have suspected they would have built their own Ad Server and maybe acquired an attribution company such as Adometry, C3 or VisualIQ (or the many others in that space).
* Companies who own significant media properties. Google, AOL, Facebook, ValueClick.
** There used to be a trade magazine that showed ads served each month by ad server, but I haven’t seen it in a while. Purely based by my conversations with other agency heads, Atlas and DART are the primary ad servers that come up in conversation. MediaMind is coming up more and more.
*** Updated after an email conversation with MediaMind.