Adnetik to Fly Solo

Havas Digital has begun quietly positioning Adnetik, the real-time digital media–buying arm it launched last year, as an independent entity that will service both its own clients and other non-Havas agencies.
Anthony Rhind, Havas’ global co-CEO, said that while he wouldn’t characterize this move as a full-fledged spinoff, Adnetik will be expected to survive on its own merit, managing its own profit and loss statements.
“Adnetik is absolutely a division to support our clients,” he said. “But we can operate both inside and outside [of Havas]. We are investing to have a superior product…and if we have a better offering, it would be logical to extend beyond our base.”
Adnetik is one of several agency-driven efforts to crack the burgeoning real-time buying space, as more digital buyers aim to buy based on audiences–using heavy data and analytics–rather than purchasing avails on a site-by-site basis. While some see this segment remaining a relatively small one, Rhind believes that real-time buying will inevitably represent the majority of the market. “The question is whether that is in two years or in 10,” he said.
Rhind said it’s doubtful that agencies within major holding companies that have already invested in their own real-time buying units (such as WPP’s Media Innovation Group) would opt to work with Adnetik. But many smaller and mid-sized agencies might be drawn to Adnetik’s proprietary data management technology.
For example, Sapient Interactive has been working with Adnetik for the past several months without any hiccups, according to media director David D’Alleva. When deciding to work with a vendor tied to a competitor, “any agency would have that initial reaction of ‘huh?,’” he said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about the technology; the leadership at the company; and their makeup and integrity.”
For Adnetik to really thrive, it needs more Sapients to jump on board, acknowledges Ed Montes, Havas Digital’s regional manager for North America and one of the driving forces behind the division’s launch.
“We need scale,” he said. “And our product and capabilities have to be at the top of their game. With this independence, we’ll have the ability to operate as a standalone and prove ourselves day in and day out.”