Online sector fails to adopt unified advertising system

The online industry has failed to agree on a single system for media planning and buying – with six providers’ systems now vying for adoption by the sector.

Google-owned DoubleClick and ad giant WPP have emerged as potential rivals to Donovan Data Systems, MediaTel and IMD in the race to gain support for their online planning and buying systems.

The Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) attempt to endorse the adoption of a single planning and buying system – as happens in the radio sector – started several months ago.

The IAB sent a letter endorsing the MediaTel system to media agencies, sparking a reaction from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), which said other systems should also be considered.

Many believe a single system is an essential modernisation step that would reduce costs for agencies and media owners.

Nigel Gwilliam, head of digital at the IPA, said: “There isn’t going to be a single system. There is neither the appetite nor the budget for one system for the whole industry. But maybe we can introduce a degree of open source, to make the systems more compatible.

“There are going to be six systems,” he added. “There will be I-Level’s existing system, four launching in January and another one launching after that.”

Jack Wallington, IAB programmes manager, said: “The best option appears to be establishing standards for all companies – a common API (application protocol interface).”

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