As I’ve posted about before, there is a battle for online ad supremacy that’s quickly turning into a battle of superpowers. AOL just made the next move in the chess match with the acquisition of behavioral targeting display network Tacoda.
It’s definitely and interesting move as AOL already owns the largest display ad network in Advertising.com, which is also known to have behavioral targeting capabilities. This would lead me to believe that Tacoda’s behavioral targeting is superior than Advertising.com’s, or that AOL was simply after more advertisers, publishers, and people. Most likely it’s a combination of both.
This definitely takes AOL up another level in display advertising, and it was already fairly established with Advertising.com. As venture capitalist Brad Burnham says on the Union Square Ventures blog:
That said, the combination of TACODAâ€™s seasoned management, technology, database, and experience with behavioral targeting and AOL Time Warnerâ€™s reach as a media company and (through Advertising.com) as an ad network, could become the foundation for creating the dominant display ad network on the internet.
That certainly seems to be the goal, but don’t expect Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, WPP, News Corp, and IAC sit idly by and watch. Will we see more ad networks snapped up? Will the other independent behavioral display networks like Revenue Science be snapped up? And do advertisers and publishers have anything to fear if the industry lacks independent players?