DoubleClick sharpens customer focus

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Doubleclick is one of the world's largest Web ad networks, and it's leveraging that by pushing new technology and standards.

In the technology area, the New York-based company created the name Closed-Loop Marketing for a suite of products that provide an analysis of return on investment. It does so by combining the capabilities of its DART targeting system, which it is pushing as an industry standard, and Databank data-mining offerings.

With 6,400 Internet sites in its worldwide network, serving 5.6 billion ads in December alone, DoubleClick is the closest thing to a de facto standard as anything in the market.

SERVICES ALL EVOLVE FROM NEEDS

Exec VP Wenda Harris Millard says DoubleClick's moves all relate to customer needs. She calls it CustomerCentricity.

"All our customers are pushing for this medium to [prove] return on their investment in a quantifiable way," she says. "They want proof positive the investment has a definable yield."

When clients and ad buyers talk about DoubleClick, they're more likely to mention its service than its technology.

Sean Brevick, media director for i33 Communications, New York, buys space on the DoubleClick network for clients including Suretrade, Fleet Financial Co.'s Internet stock brokerage; various products for Ralston Purina Co.; and Multex.com, a New York-based online investment researcher.

1 PERSON INSTEAD OF 17 SITES

"I like DoubleClick's customer service and [the fact that I] can build a relationship with one person rather than 17 sites," he says. "It really is an efficient use of my time."

Even so, i33 uses its own server called AdMaximize to post the ads; other agencies, such as BBDO Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson USA, also use AdMaximize to serve some ads.

Cory Treffiletti, VP-account services at i-traffic, also says he is happy with DoubleClick's customer support. The New York shop's clients include Walt Disney Co., Internet Shopping Network, Beyond.com and Eddie Bauer Inc. In terms of technology, Mr. Treffiletti says he appreciates DoubleClick's support of setting standards.

"I want some standardized procedures for this industry which will make their new technologies that much better," he says, and easier to compare with traditional media.

"It doesn't matter if it's new if I can't use it," he adds.

Ms. Millard says she hopes to give clients like Mr. Treffiletti good news soon.

"I think we can resolve some issues in the first half" of the year, she predicts.

Copyright February 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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