Ad Network Integration: Can Microsoft Hack It?

The audience consolidation under a combined Yahoo/Microsoft would be extraordinary, and the integration job extraordinarily complex. The merged entity would combine portals MSN and Yahoo, plus BlueLithium, Right Media, aQuantive’s DrivePM, adECN, mobile network Screen Tonic, game network Massive, and both parties’ expanding network relationships with the likes of Viacom, Facebook, Digg, CNBC and Wall Street Journal Digital. Crazy right?

I just got off the phone with a few agency execs, trying to gauge their reaction to the deal from a media buying/planning perspective. More on that later, but on the topic of integration the consensus is that Yahoo’s done a much better job absorbing recent acquisitions (BlueLithium, Right Media) into its existing ad sales operations than Microsoft has (AdECN, aQuantive’s DrivePM).

Much of Yahoo’s success with ad integrations has to do with its ingrained understanding of what advertisers want. It’ll take humility for Microsoft, which still doesn’t really speak the language of Madison Avenue, to let that sales savvy rub off on it — to say to Yahoo, “You’re the ad expert. You tell us what to do.”

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