Tim Armstrong, Google’s advertising president and de-facto ambassador to old media, told the American Association of Advertising Agencies confab that Google isn’t trying to be an agency. That’s fine, but Google doesn’t have to be an ad agency to take a big bite out of the agency business.
That’s because Google’s “top secret strategy” for helping agencies sounds a lot like automating the media buying and planning business. Here’s how Armstrong described Google’s new “dashboard” approach via MediaPost:
“It basically takes a mix of different media types and puts them together,” he said, adding that the system, which is 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 streams to show how one platform influences traffic to the others.
In other words, Google wants to be your media planner. And your research department. All functions that make up a big part of the giant ad conglomerates already. What might slow them down? Two variables:
- The agencies could beat Google to it, using their own set of high-tech tools. This is exactly what WPP’s Group M, among others, have been trying to do.
- There may be less room for automation, etc., in the ad-buying process than Google and other would like. Everyone in the ad business would like to reduce the amount of friction involved in buying ad time/space/etc. But unless everyone, on all sides of the transaction, are using the same system, this could still be a “high touch” business.