Saturday, April 14

Online Advertising is a Google-opoly

Google's announcement that it has agreed a deal to buy DoubleClick is a worrying move for the digital industry.

DoubleClick's dominance of advertising serving for top-tier websites means the majority of online ads on the biggest sites will now be served by Google. And when you consider 84% of display advertising dollars go to the top 25 websites in a market, Google further extends its vice-hold on digital ads.

Digital publishing is almost entirely paid for by advertising revenue, so it's a risk for all those publishing business models to be so dependent on one company. Not to mention all the web analytics data and advertising customers going through that same company.

We can only guess what Google's next steps might be, and whilst Orwellian conspiracy theories about Google ridiculous, it will be hard for the execs at Mountain View not to flex their new muscles. Some strategic moves they could take:

1) Shift the display market into a PPC/CPA model

How? Persuade some less savvy publishers to drop CPMs. Then, with combined insight of google Search and Display on reaching target audiences, demonstrate how planners can avoid CPM publishers.
Affect: Forces publishers into PPC, substantially reducing yields from brand advertisers

2) Consumer insight

With 70% of the market using Google as their preferred search engine and now with the publishers via Double Click, Google have an almost perfect knowledge of what we do at the start and end of our session online. With this they could see gaps in the digital publishing market, weaknesses in certain publishers models/audience, and what is most effective in any vertical market. That's a powerful position for launching and improving 'disruptive' businesses (aka Google Maps, aka GMail, aka Google Pay, Google News....)

The only other Global industries I can think of with similar dominance are Oil, Gas and perhaps Medicine/pharma...

It's to Google's strategic planners credit that such an open, free, dynamic and uncontrolled industry as ours can be dominated in this way.