After delving deeply into the ad management space for a meaty ClickZ News feature (Who Said Commodity? How DoubleClick and Crew Remained Relevant), it’s surprising to see all the activity among competitors in this industry sector. And yes, there still is competition, and we can expect to see more.
Today, 24/7 Real Media announced it’s added mobile ad serving and management to its Open AdStream platform. As more publishers get serious about distributing content via mobile, we’ll see all the big ad platform firms doin’ it.
As noted in the feature, Eyeblaster is thinking about moving into mobile and iTV, as it continues to branch out its ad management capabilities in an effort to rival the more entrenched ad platform firms:
Eyeing less explored ad venues such as games, iTV and mobile, Eyeblaster last month scored a large round of funding from private equity investors. The veteran rich media firm has branched out from its previous station as a third party server of rich media ads, and ventured into the broader campaign management domain, seeking to grab clients away from the likes of DoubleClick and Atlas. Following a failed effort to get hitched to a larger suitor, Eyeblaster will use its recent $30 million cash infusion to move beyond its current display, rich media, video and search ad management offerings.
Eyeblaster investor Jonathan Kolber told ClickZ News the company aims “to have an early lead in forms of media that could be contiguous to what we’re doing now.” He mentioned mobile and iTV, and said new products could come about through in-house technology development or via acquisition. Eyeblaster in the past year has introduced a casual games ad platform in conjunction with RealNetworks and added a search marketing product suite.
When I spoke with the DoubleClick folks yesterday about their new ad exchange, Scott Spencer, VP of the Advertising Exchange unit, hinted that the exchange could be used for new ad formats beyond display online. Or, at least that’s what I gathered by this comment: “In the future we see that [publishers will want] the ability to not just offer display ads across multiple channels, but be able to extend that to video and to new ad formats.” I suppose if the exchange thing takes off, and critical mass actually comes to mobile advertising, somebody will eventually offer this capability.
A little more perspective from the feature on how companies like 24/7 tend to approach new technologies and media:
As ad technologies and new media formats have emerged, the larger ad management firms have continuously updated product offerings, acting as filters for all the options available to advertisers and publishers. “We’re almost Switzerland in this market; we’re a technology solution and we apply services to that, but the unique factor about us is the critical mass of the buy side and the sell side,” said Jason Bigler, VP product management for DoubleClick’s advertiser solutions business.
What the full product suite ad management companies like DoubleClick and Atlas have tended to do in the past decade is pinpoint the digital media markets and ad technologies garnering enough interest — and money — from their clients, and developed or acquired relevant products and capabilities. As in most young industries, small vendors and service providers introduce new ideas, and when they reach critical mass, the big players start to show interest.