Last Updated Apr 12, 2010 6:03 PM EDT
The two companies have different strategies for attracting audiences and advertisers. Apple's "walled garden" of iPhone and iPad apps, and the iAd platform, promise a simple, fun, bug-free universe for users and advertisers. Google, by contrast, simply wants to serve ads wherever the user might be, regardless of the device they're using.
Both strategies put the squeeze on the incumbent media agencies, who for decades have controlled where ads appear and who gets paid for supplying ad space.
Consider: In Adweek's thoughtful coverage of where Google is at right now, one agency exec says this about Google's activity in the provision of online display ads:
"I'm shocked at how arrogant they've become," says an agency source. "I find it really scary. They have every intention of relegating agencies to just a strategy function."That didn't sound too alarming -- agency types complain about everything! -- until I read this column on Business Insider, detailing one Google executive's critiques of the way Apple's iAd platform will be offered to advertisers:
Since this is a close[d] ad network run by Apple I guess you'll just have to trust them that they're giving you a media plan that meets your objectives. "I want to reach young men who are interested in sports" --> how does this get translated into a media plan? If Apple does all the work, then how does an agency add any value to the process?
- UPDATE: Apple will make ads for iAd, at least at first, until agencies get into the swing of it. Which kind of proves my point.
Note that under both Google and Apple, the role of agencies as media buyers is diminished at best and non-existent at worst.