Omnicom Publicis Merger Reveals The Problem With Big Agency Trading Desks

Here at Booyah, we took a keen interest in the Omnicom/Publicis merger announcement. The merger raises questions about the fate of Omnicom/Publicis’ respective Trading Desks, Accuen and Vivaki AOD. What will come of these two behemoth programmatic buying units? Will they fold into one? Will one be shuttered, or spun off to investors? And how will this impact clients and advertisers?

We believe that the major holding company Trading Desks are not structured to deliver the full value that clients deserve. They serve as programmatic hubs which are isolated from the agency media strategy and creative teams. Joanna O’Connell, Senior Analyst at Forrester said it well:

“I’ve said before, trading desks will fade away as distinct entities and become a more permanent, integral part of the agency business as a whole. The trading-desk service has been too far away from the agency team and the client. It’s more likely than ever that we’re going to see that situation change quickly.”

We share Joanna’s vision, and late in 2012, we built the Booyah Trading Desk into the fabric of our agency structure. Troy Lerner, President at Booyah said, “Scale can be the enemy of innovation. We didn’t build the desk to capture margin from the media dollars. We built the desk to give our planners and buyers access to the most advanced programmatic buying tools available. For us, it’s about pinpointing audiences in real time at key stages in the purchasing journey.”

The trend of data-driven, programmatic media buying looks set to gain momentum.  Interpublic Group (IPG) announced they plan to automate 50% of their media buying within 3 years (see post http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/205836/ipg-to-automate-50-of-media-buying-expand-progra.html)