Hey, at Least It Was Google Instead of a Holding Company

Interactive-Agency Execs Weigh in on DoubleClick's New Parent and What They'd Like to See From the Merger

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Google's announcement on April 13 that it would swallow DoubleClick for a cool $3.1 billion sent shockwaves around interactive agencies. After everyone had had few days to digest the news, Ad Age Digital polled some leading interactive-agency executives on what they'd like to see come out of the acquisition and whether they worry about too much power in the hands of one.

Rick Corteville, executive director-media, Organic, San Francisco
I'm practically salivating at the thought of being able to see reports for search, display and rich-media banners, and any click-based media vehicles (such as newsletters, text links, etc.) all in one place. Additionally, as Google moves into TV and radio, this kind of integrated reporting will only become more compelling. [I'd also like to see] view-through tracking for search ads. We've all heard the buzz around search as a branding vehicle. But until we have view-through tracking for search ads, it will continue to remain just "buzz." We want to know how many people were exposed to a search ad, did not click, but later took action on the client's site. ...

Google isn't exactly known for its customer service, so I hope that they work hard to retain all the current performers at DoubleClick. While nothing dramatic is expected in the near term, the rate of innovation should actually increase. ...

If the ad community had a wish list for "DoubleGoo," then it would go something like this: Give us more flexibility in terms of the rich-media formats accepted by AdSense sites; give us more targeting filters for serving ads (by geo, ZIP code, state, etc.), more behavioral targeting and contextual keywords; let us serve rich media; grow and evolve DoubleClick's exchange product; and integrate the AdSense sites. If they actually delivered on these, it would mean big dollars for DoubleGoo.

Sarah Fay, president, Isobar U.S.
We live in a world of co-opetition. You have to trust Chinese walls being built where they need to if people are going to function in the professional world. ... In a way, now that DoubleClick has landed, a lot of agencies can heave a sigh of relief. It could have been picked up by an agency-holding company, and then there really would have been competitive issues. ...

I'm not sure how it'll affect Google's display business, but they'll have better access to the conversation. They may be a behemoth in search and now a very major player in the ad landscape, in the sense of owning the major ad-serving solution, but in terms of the display solutions they provide, it's one of many in a very big landscape.

Jeff Marshall, senior VP-digital managing director, Starcom
I have high expectations for innovation. ... We've been pushing DoubleClick for a number of years about advancing the technology to track areas that used to be considered emerging but are just small marketplaces -- VOD and the gaming space, for example. The response has, understandably, been: "The scale's not there to invest in those emerging areas." Given the revenue base they had, it was difficult to put a whole lot of research and development toward that. But a company like Google -- which historically isn't as wedded to Wall Street and the numbers; has an incredibly vested interest in the future; and wants to get into new avenues, distribution points and channels -- can get behind that and put not just the financial resources but also physical resources like engineering power. Google should be the enabler and driver to take that technology platform broadly across all communications. [Google's] inroads into TV and print and radio are still new, but it's nice to see it's on the horizon. ...

I think about the exchange DoubleClick just launched and marrying the media exchange with Google and the huge network of advertisers it has. One of the big questions is: When can the [interactive] industry take on massive budget shifts? This can and would be a fairly significant step in that direction to provide scaleable solutions that can be efficiently deployed by a single partner.
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