For those of you who turn off your computers on the weekend, you should know that Google announced Friday that it spent over $3 billion to acquire DoubleClick, of banner ad network fame. You can read from other people what this means from Google’s point of view—I don’t think that is very important to marketers. So what is important about this to marketers?
To me, it marks the end of the stark lines between banner ads and contextual ads and search ads. Savvy marketers have always tried to use each type of ad to their advantage. Whether it’s Google’s acquisition or any other partnership between banner ad networks and search advertising networks, the effect is the same. Advertisers will increasingly have choices of dealing with a single way to choose between any of these advertising forms, and those ads will be placed on both search engines and publisher Web sites.
This increasing integration of ad networks will also greatly simplify measuring the results of advertising. Today, banner ad networks count impressions and clicks but it can take some technical feats of strength to tie those metrics into your Web metrics program, so that you can tell if those banner ads drove any sales. Integrated networks will tend to make the measurements simpler.
So Google’s acquisition of Doubleclick, in and of itself, is interesting, but the real thing for marketers to pay attention to is the trend of integration of advertising networks. Marketers should expect to have more choices for advertisements, with more flexibility and automation in administering their campaigns, and with better metrics to prove return on investment.