In a delightfully counter-intuitive op-ed for AdExchanger, Chris O’Hara, chief revenue officer at NextMark, claims Microsoft has a 76% market share in media planning adtech.
The stat will come as a surprise to those of you who thought Google, Rubicon Project, PubMatic, Adobe or AppNexus dominated the space. O’Hara writes:
Microsoft has been quietly running the inner ad tech workings of digital display since the first banner ad was purchased in 1995. According to some recent research, the company’s ad-planning software boasts an amazing 76% market share among agency media planners.
He’s talking about Excel, the spreadsheet program.
NextMark markets a rival media planning system. So O’Hara is trying to sell you something here. But he does make this “so obvious why didn’t I think of that” point that Excel has been baked into adtech since the 1980s, and is thus difficult to disrupt:
Released in 1985 (originally for Macintosh), Excel is nearly three decades old and has been powering digital media planning since its inception. … Planners plan in Excel, publishers pitch in Excel and PowerPoint, contracts are made in Word, and everything is communicated via Outlook. And then we have billing and reconciliation tasks that occur within spreadsheets. Nobody ever seems to wonder why more than $6 billion in digital display media transactions (representing nearly 70% of all ads sold) use Microsoft tools and the occasional fax machine.
Here’s his research:
Although Excel is widely used inside media agencies …
The people who actually have to use it don’t enjoy it …