Google’s announcement of their new Ad Planner product today sounded innocuous enough:
“To make your life easier, we’re introducing Google Ad Planner, a research and media planning tool that connects advertisers and publishers. When using Google Ad Planner, simply enter demographics and sites associated with your target audience, and the tool will return information about sites (both on and off the Google content network) that your audience is likely to visit. You can drill down further to get more detail like demographics and related searches for a particular site, or you can get aggregate statistics for the sites you’ve added to your media plan.”
Well, gosh! How thoughtful, it’s all about making my life easier. Of course I’m not comScore , a company whose primary business is aggregating data for their clients for much the same purpose.
So how big a deal is this, really?
While Ad Planner is a useful tool, it’s not crucial or revolutionary. We are all for more intelligence and data. But like any data stream, it isn’t self-explanatory. It still requires someone to analyze it and to determine a course of action.
What’s really significant here is that Google has a rich trove of information that they have only begun to fully leverage. The data included here is clearly beyond what they get from Google Analytics – something that is stirring up a bit of controversy. This should serve as a wakeup call to marketers regarding the amount of data Google collects about every company/website/industry and user.
At this point Google controls almost every touchpoint in the ad buying/planning process: You can plan, set price, determine placement, track ads, track post-click behavior all with Google tools. As one blogger put it:
“Google is the car industry in the beginning of the auto revolution dominated by horse and buggy manufacturers. Initially the industry coined the new cars ‘horseless carriages’. It’s where we are today. Ad Agencies are trying to define Google by their definition of what an Agency is. The problem is that Google doesn’t share your opinion of what an agency is… they want to redefine the entire concept.”
With Google controlling so many aspects of online advertising will antitrust concerns take more material shape?