DoubleClick fixes on bull's-eye with Dart 5

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With its Technology Solutions unit now accounting for more revenue than any other service it provides, DoubleClick will launch an upgraded version of its DART ad-serving technology June 11. DART 5 expands the service's capabilities in terms of both the interactive technologies it supports and the reporting it can give to increasingly ROI-obsessed advertisers.

DoubleClick, which first came into prominence as an online advertising rep firm, has seen the value of its technology services grow amid increasing demand for such services and slackening online ad sales. It has also been pumping up its data services, with the acquisition of @plan and the launch of a new unit, Diameter, to sell online research.

FIRST MAJOR OVERHAUL

The first major overhaul of the service, which launched in 1996, DART 5 creates a platform that handles order entry, trafficking, ad delivery and reporting, all with easier access and the ability to focus on specific data. DART 5 also includes mDART, which serves wireless advertising, and an interactive TV component.

Some of the biggest changes have been made on the reporting side. There is a streamlined interface, as well as more metrics to analyze campaigns, such as conversion rates. Spotlight reports, which can track sales, leads, inquiries and other data, have been expanded.

Ebrahim Keshavarz, VP-product and business development for DoubleClick TechSolutions, said the features are focused on showing the effectiveness of campaigns.

The service has been tested by more than 50 Web publishers, advertisers and agencies, including i-traffic, the interactive marketing unit of Seneca Investments-backed Agency.com; SF Interactive, which has announced plans to be acquired by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; and Launch.com.

But even as DART 5 hits the market, another competitor is fast on its heels. After implementing its Open Advertiser software for clients in Europe, Real Media is to begin beta-testing the service in America next month and positions the product as a direct competitor to DART for Advertisers. Mark Naples, VP-marketing and privacy officer for Real Media, said a key difference offered by its service is that it uses a cookie file that prevents profiling by third-party ad servers. "We want to work the way traditional media works," he said. "We don't think that service bureaus should have the data."

Open Advertiser also will provide standard daily reports for agencies-tied into agencies' own databases-that can measure large campaigns on the fly.

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