AQuantive Reaps Site Design Benefits

Eighteen months after buying Razorfish, aQuantive is seeing major dividends from adding site design to its Web marketing services.

The Seattle interactive advertising company last week won an integrated account from Coors, including Web creative, media, analytics and other online marketing services. Previously, the beermaker had used Interpublic’s iDeutsch for media and creative.

The win highlights the increasing importance of the Razorfish purchase. In its fourth-quarter earnings report last week, executives singled out Web design as an area that is growing faster than expected. AQuantive took in $34.4 million from the legacy Razorfish business, about 47 percent year-over-year growth. The Razorfish revenue was 14 percent higher than anticipated by investment bank Piper Jaffray. It helped aQuantive post an overall revenue increase of 44 percent, to $87.5 million, while net income rose 63 percent to $11.5 million.

“When we acquired Razorfish, we felt the real significant ramp in growth would hit in ’08, but I think it hit in ’05,” CEO Brian McAndrews said.

AQuantive cross-sold 30 clients on media or site services during 2005. Yet more importantly, McAndrews said clients are devoting bigger budgets to their online presence, taking advantage of advances in broadband penetration and rich media technology to treat the Web site as an important expression of their brand.

Clients such as Red Bull, Carnival Cruise Lines and Kodak made significant upgrades to their sites or created new destinations during the latter part of 2005, and McAndrews predicts more advertisers will tap into social networking and original Web video in 2006.

The solid performance of the Web design portion of aQuantive’s business makes it key for the company going forward, according to Aaron Kessler, an equities analyst with Piper Jaffray in San Francisco. “We’re in a new five-year cycle where people are spending again on their Web sites,” he said.