Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Google Threatens to Change Media Buying Forever

Google’s purchase of dMark Broadcasting will bust open the media world. Attaching the AdSense easy-to-use interface and auction engine to the inventory of America’s 8000 radio stations will put local advertisers on a par with national players, disintermediate all the mediocre media buying shops and force the big media buyers to circle the wagons and take aggressive, proactive steps to protect their TV buying cash cow.

The simplicity of the move is elegant. Think about the value of Google’s functionality. AdSense helps almost anyone get their arms around a dizzying array of details. It takes 20 minutes to learn how to use it and the navigation is intuitive. The dashboard is easy to read and easy to change. Sites, audiences, sizes, creative, prices, placement and yield are all easily and sequentially managed and displayed. The details of radio buying are equally confusing.

But it’s a no-brainer to manage format, audience demographics, daypart, length or creative execution. [DF1] And while the Google interface won’t necessarily handle production or promotions, it could easily cut out the middle man for thousands of retailers and small businesspeople who could benefit from radio advertising.

Keep your eyes on the National Association of Broadcasters and the Radio Advertising Bureau to see if the radio industry is for or against this development. Radio guys can truly benefit from this development but every so often they cut off their noses to spite their face. It’s a fair bet that they will initially reject Google as a show of loyalty to their longstanding reps.

But the writing is clearly on the wall. Google has a way to make sense of a billion little media details. You can make your own strategy and price decisions. You can track results in real-time and adjust on the fly. And if you don’t want to do it, a very junior person can in minutes per day. Who needs a middle man to take a cut and annoy you along the way?

And if Google can manage radio – notoriously hard to keep track of and labor intensive even for sophisticated media buying firms with extensive relationships and high-powered software tools, just imagine what they can do with cable or local broadcast TV?

Jeff Lanctot of AvenueA/Razorfish kicked off the pre-emptive defense in today’s Wall Street Journal by saying “ The traditional media world is a very relationship-driven marketplace. You’re supplanting personal relationships and replacing them with technology and that’s a pretty daunting task.”

Right. But only if you are a media buying firm like AvenueA with a practice to protect.
Stay tuned. It’s about to get interesting.

6 Comments:

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