On the morning Google (NSDQ: GOOG) received word that European anti-trust regulators granted their approval of its $3.1 billion merger with DoubleClick, some of the company's execs apparently hadn't heard the news. As they opened up "Google press industry day" in a 4th floor conference room at its offices in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, executives including Tim Armstrong, Google president for advertising and commerce, and Penry Price, VP ad sales North America, focused solely on an overview of Google's search and various other ad products. More after the jump.
-- Display advertising: During her presentation, Elieen Naughton, director, media platforms, touched only lightly on display advertising. Google has not chosen to aggressively get into the display business, saying that when the DoubleClick merger closes, it will immediately begin pursuing those efforts. The previous reason for not getting into display was because the quality privacy controls for this format tended not to reach "Google's high standards."
-- Wide world of display: During the Q&A portion, I asked Price about the approval of the DoubleClick merger and what Google approach to display advertising would be, now that it owns DoubleClick. "There is a big world of display - we dabbled - the concept is, we hope to use the dfa platform, there wasn't a lot of investment over the last few years there. We want to work with marketers and agencies to build an end-to-end service."
-- On integration: Price: "During this process, as we were waiting for various regulatory bodies to sign off on the deal [with DoubleClick], we weren't able to look and see what they've been building. We expect to do that more rapidly, now that we've gotten the approvals."
-- Engagement: Asked about Microsoft's (NSDQ: MSFT) Engagement Mapping, which measures the effectiveness of online campaigns, Google execs bristled at the need to conform to one standard, especially one set by a competitor. Naughton: "We're not hung up on that metric. We play across the spectrum. There's a whole lot of ways that people engage with media and ways that customers define engagement. Our gadget ads are as accountable as anything else out there. There are businesses out there that have their entire businesses staked on display. Google doesn't." Price: "Agencies need to buy apples to apples. AdSense hasn't allowed tracking. By working with DoubleClick, we will be able to see what other networks have."
-- Agency adjustment: Google is still viewed with varying degrees of uncertainty and concern by ad agencies. How will the combination with DoubleClick affect its agencies? Price: The impact of online advertising on traditional agencies is forcing larger questions about the nature of the business. Fee-structures, among other things, hold back a lot of the changes needed, keeping various parts of the marketing disciplines siloed. "The value that Google has is the data we can share with agencies. We can help them move to where they need to be."
By David Kaplan