Between the Lines: A more targeted approach

Google's attempts to take over media continued apace this week, with the purchase of the US radio business dMarc, a company that runs a digital distribution system for radio advertising (page 44).

In layman's terms, Google now controls technology that allows advertisers to book digital radio space directly, without using a media agency. They can book via an automated system that targets ads at a specific audience and that offers detailed measurement.

Yes, dMarc only books space on US digital radio stations. And, yes, most users of the system are small, often local advertisers. But the potential implications for UK marketers go far beyond the purchase itself. This acquisition is the first public indication of Google's intention to become a one-stop shop for advertisers.

The search engine now plans to plug dMarc's technology into its Adwords online advertising network, which in itself will deliver the first true integration of online and offline media buying. And rumours persist that its next acquisition target will be a TV-related business.

There is no reason why this kind of technology could not be applied to any media. In effect, advertisers would be able to track who is listening to, or watching, their radio or TV ads, in the same way as they can now measure response to search bookings. And that would make advertising infinitely more measurable, and more targeted, than it is now.