Most people have never heard of VivaKi and its online ad trading desk, AOD. But to insiders, the news (reported in AdExchanger) that it regards its historic dependence on Google as a thing of the past is an eye-opener.
It suggests that Google is not the dominant force in online advertising it once was, and that the search giant can — and will be — threatened by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Apple.
Facebook's ad exchange now accounts for 7 billion ad impressions a day, AdExchanger says — a volume big enough to move the needle away from Google. Business Insider reported over the weekend that Facebook now claims it serves 28% of all display advertising on the web.
VivaKi is one of the larger buyers of web advertising on the planet, and it's owned by Publicis Groupe, the big ad agency holding company which represents clients such as Procter & Gamble, the largest advertiser globally.
VivaKi launched in 2008, and its trading desk technology was supported so closely by Google (via Google's DoubleClick Bid Manager/Invite Media platform) that it was accused by competitors of taking kickbacks for placing ads with Google.
But today, VivaKi works with a bunch of different demand-side platforms (DSPs), and Google is not even the largest one of them, Ad Exchanger says:
AOD's General Manager Chris Paul took the reins last fall, by which time it was already apparent that the trading desk's reliance on Google had become an Achilles' heel. He took steps to add other trading platforms to the mix, including Turn and MediaMath for display, Adelphic for mobile, Videology and Adap.tv for video, and Voxsup and GraphEffect for social.
That's astonishing. When was the last time you heard of a company the size of Google being described as an "Achilles heel"?
And there are several new ad exchanges about to be born on similarly massive media properties, including one at Twitter, another at Tumblr, and possibly a third at Apple.