Wrath of Khan and The Holy Grail of Display Advertising

The sky is falling in the world of online display advertising!

Actually, Paid Content makes it sound like JP Morgan analyst Imran Khan awoke from a nap:

“Sensing that marketers are becoming more conservative with their ad spend, Khan expects that long-tail advertisers will shift toward performance-based advertising forms.” Yawn.

Looks like it’s only going to be 14% year-over-year growth instead of 20% according to Imran – and only $8.2 billion in online display advertising business instead of $8.6 billion

Imran believes that marketers are looking at the purchase funnel and saying, “Where can I drive bottom line revs with my ad spend and prove to my boss that I am a brilliant online advertising strategist so that he will sign off on my expenses which include those delicious steak lunches?” The easy answer is search, no doubt.

This slump should not happen.

The online display and the nascent advertising exchange industry sorely need the “Holy Grail” of analytics packages showing how online display effects the creation of interest by the consumer, and that search is there to catch the biz when the consumer is ready to strike.

Basically, cookie the user (stop touching my privacy!), so that they can be tracked for discreet campaigns on the display nets straight through to search campaigns and behavior.

There are a few companies trying to do it out there right now.

Microsoft has discussed its engagement mapping plans but has yet to product anything of substance. To unseat Google as the dominant player in online advertising, Microsoft would love to find a way to effectively monetize its trillions of ad impressions – and if it can prove to advertisers that display MUST be a part of the puzzle, bully for display ad exchanges and ad networks everywhere.

Other companies are trying to come up with the “Grail” including Clear Saleing which recently introduced another rev of their analytics platform. ComScore lurks but, to date, nothing has stood out from anyone.

It will be interesting to see what Google does in this space now that they have DoubleClick – will they see opportunity in such a product (build out Google Analytics to include the mapping feature) or will they see it as a threat to their search pot o’ gold?

Maybe Imran is dreaming about this right now.

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