In an effort to offer clients ad serving and reporting services they currently get from third parties, Giant Step, Chicago, has invested in a nearly $4 million data center to provide closed-loop measurement and tracking of online ad campaigns.
The unusual combination of creative services and back-end tools will pit Giant Step against such companies as ad measurement firm AdKnowledge, Palo Alto, Calif., and IP net-work provider Level 3 Communications, Omaha, Neb. In the complicated world of online ad management, clients and agencies may have to use several vendors in order to manage even one campaign.
The agency, which currently hosts all of its clients' sites, will move to a new facility next month that includes the center, created by San Jose, Calif.-based network provider Cisco Systems.
"Companies are starting to realize that it doesn't necessarily fix the problem to go to separate services," said COO Adam Heneghan. He added that 80 percent of the time problems are in the applications and not the hardware.
The data center will include ad serving--including the serving of rich media ads to sites which accept such creative--measurement, access to the creative and click-through and transaction results. Heneghan compared the roster of offerings to the data hosting programs of AT&T, EDS and IBM.
CEO Eric Heneghan noted that the cry for accountability online, while set to a higher standard than for television and print media, is an "inherent attribute of this space."
"Because we're hosting ... we're able to have one standard unit of measurement," he said. "All the data is aggregated in one place. There's not this problem of having to try to get information from a third party."
One client already utilizing the expanded offerings is Hawaii-based Tropical Connection, which regularly sells orchids to florists but is offering them to consumers for the first time online.
The company is able to quickly determine which ads are generating sales. The system will also handle the huge infrastructures for the sites of Oldsmobile and United Airlines, which includes such data-intensive information as a flight status area.
Owned by Leo Burnett, Chicago, Giant Step has more than 100 employees and will expand when it moves to its new 45,000 square foot office in January. It also is opening New York and Seattle offices in the next few weeks.