According to an eye-opening wrap-up by Ad Age, this was a banner year for M&A activity in interactive advertising and marketing. Somehow, between my clients changing strategies and my kids outgrowing their clothes every two weeks and my TiVo obsession and SimCity Societies and the occasional need to sleep, many of these deals passed me by. (If you’re really into this kind of thing, check out the full list here.) All told, it seems I missed some important stuff.
Among the most consequential deals was the still-pending Google-DoubleClick acquisition. Without a doubt, Google (GOOG) plus DoubleClick (DCLK) is a scary powerful combo–and blasts Google out of its search-driven prison. Another head-turner is the mega-deal in which Microsoft (MSFT) acquired marketing services firm aQuantive (AQNT) for $6 billion. I’d say MS has finally admitted that it can’t dominate a freewheeling industry like new media, particularly given that it hasn’t got a Windows-like captive audience base to exploit.
Will another handful of big deals pop up in ’08? Seems likely, particularly among ad networks (consolidation afoot), and by international investors leveraging a weak dollar, Ad Age‘s Abby Klaassen says. Another interesting takeaway for me was that she expects Web analytics to be red-hot (though it’s not a big surprise, given that there’s only a few real winners in the space). All told, looks like another drama-filled year for i-marketing is on the way.