Performics, the fifth-largest search agency by revenue (2006), according to Ad Age's most recent Search Marketing Fact Pack, will fit within Publicis's recently formed VivaKi Nerve Center division. Performics has two attractive assets, said VivaKi President Curt Hecht. Because it started as a search bid-management platform, it has a culture of building applications and technology. He will use Performics to build tools that can be used across VivaKi, in its search as well as performance marketing.
"Clients want operational efficiencies and technical differences," he said. "And increasingly they're asking not only for brand marketing solutions but performance marketing solutions."
The second asset is Performics' services business, which has 130 search-marketing clients, including two major Publicis media clients: Hewlett Packard and Verizon. "We'll work through what's the right answer for those clients once this closes," Mr. Hecht said. Publicis media agencies Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas and Zenith Optimedia all have their own search-engine marketing; Performics will operate as another such group.
Keeping Performics was never really a choice for Google. After the search giant bought DoubleClick, industry watchers were calling for it to shed the unit. The controversy centered on a perceived conflict of interest -- it was not right for Google to own a company whose business is securing its clients better positions on Google. Google announced in April that it would shed the 200-person company.
Search is expected to be a more than $10 billion business this year in the U.S., according to eMarketer; it represents about 40% of all online ad spending. Performics has offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, London and Singapore.