Google To Unveil AdPlanner, Latest Push Into Media Planning, Research
The news, which was first reported by The New York Times, signals another move by Google to muscle its way into the research and planning resources that big agencies and marketers depend on to plan their advertising and media buys.
Details of the new Google product, code-named AdPlanner, will be unveiled during the ARF session today at 5 p.m. at the Millennium hotel in New York, but it follows a progression of new research, analytics and data management products that Google has been investing deeply in, and which has some advertising research companies a bit jumpy. At an ARF conference a year ago, an opening panel of the Big 4 research companies, including Nielsen CEO David Calhoun, focused mainly on the prospects of Google getting into the research business - and potentially disintermediating traditional advertising and media research suppliers. "Our only choice is to think about Google as creating opportunity," Calhoun said during the April 2007 event, repeating, "Our only choice." Not long after that, Google announced a deal with Nielsen to license demographic data from Nielsen's TV ratings to integrate into its own research for the Google TV Ads service.
But it may have been TNS CEO David Lowden who was most prophetic when he asserted at that same ARF event that, "I think Google will be on every panel across many industries. Clearly they have moved into our traditional space. They are providing information with regards to trends in the marketplace. I think the exact amount of involvement that they will have in research is very much an open question but they do have a significant amount of data and information. It may be that they partner with somebody to analyze that information."
Since that even, Google has rolled out its Google Analytics program, and it has appeared on numerous industry panels detailing a litany of new research and analytics products designed to help advertisers and agencies make the most of their media buys - not just online, but for all media. During a keynote at the American Association of Advertising Agencies media conference and trade show in Orlando in March, Google ad sales chief Tim Armstrong unveiled the latest iteration of that push - a sophisticated "dashboard" system he claimed was capable of managing both online and offline media buys.
"It basically takes a mix of different media types and puts them together," he said, adding that the system, which was still being developed, was part of a suite of new tools Google is building to make the lives of media buyers "easier." The new dashboard, he said, would enable buyers to manage mixes of offline media like TV, radio and print campaigns, with their online display and search advertising, and to harness their data streams to show how one platform influences traffic to the others.
Armstrong described the dashboard as one of the things Google excecs have been drawing on "napkins" to better service agencies, but said he continues to be greeted by fear and trepidation from shops when he meets with them. To illustrate that point, Armstrong recalled an especially difficult sales call he was summoned to by Google CEO Eric Schmidt a while back with an agency chief who ripped Google's approach to the advertising marketplace. What did Armstrong do? He hired the exec, former Interpublic Chairman David Bell, to help design better systems for helping ad agencies.
While details of Google's new AdPlanner product will be unveiled later today, speculation already had some online industry research and analytics firms buzzing about the move.
Konrad Feldman, CEO of Quantcast, which recently announced the launch of its own new product, MediaPlanner, said, "While Google's announcement is a clear validation of our vision, we see important differences in our approaches. Quantcast offers a collaborative and open audience discovery platform putting publishers and marketers in control of their audiences and data. Of course, Google controls an extensive data platform -and the market must ask the question if this new product is simply intended to help Google sell inventory and a broader set of controlled services."