“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Chris O'Hara, Chief Revenue Officer at NextMark.
When you think of advertising technology in the display space, the first names to come up are probably Google, PubMatic, Adobe and AppNexus. But Microsoft? Not really top of mind, unless you are thinking of its disastrous aQuantive acquisition in 2007. Sure, every now and then MSFT will pick up the odd Rapt or Yammer, but is it really having a huge impact in the ad tech space? Even if you’re a regular AdExchanger reader, you’d be justified in thinking it’s not.
But you’d be 100% wrong.
Microsoft has been quietly running the inner ad tech workings of digital display since the first banner ad was purchased in 1995. According to some recent research, the company’s ad-planning software boasts an amazing 76% market share among agency media planners. MediaVisor ranks a distant second with a measly 9.7%. Almost nine in 10 planners who use this software spend more than an hour a day on it, while almost 35% use it for more than four hours per day.
This software is called Microsoft Excel.
Released in 1985 (originally for Macintosh), Excel is nearly three decades old and has been powering digital media planning since its inception. Combined with Outlook, Word and PowerPoint in the Office suite of products, Microsoft tools have been central to the digital media planning process for a long time. Planners plan in Excel, publishers pitch in Excel and PowerPoint, contracts are made in Word, and everything is communicated via Outlook. And then we have billing and reconciliation tasks that occur within spreadsheets. Nobody ever seems to wonder why more than $6 billion in digital display media transactions (representing nearly 70% of all ads sold) use Microsoft tools and the occasional fax machine.